What Can We Learn From Alternative Medicine?

Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicine, once shunned by the medical profession as ineffective and even dangerous, has gained popularity and recognition in recent years as its effectiveness and safety have been scrutinized and validated. In particular, the use of natural herbs to treat various ailments has been approved by most medical practitioners as a beneficial supplement to or substitute for traditional pharmaceutical medications.

Professional herbalists act as natural pharmacists, growing and dispensing useful plants to patients to assist them with ailments ranging from a migraine to menstrual cramps and even psychological disorders like depression or bipolar disorder. While not every ailment responds well to herbal treatments, the field of herbal medicine continues to expand and trained and educated, certified herbalists are always in demand.

While no formal training is required for those who wish to grow herbs and sell them to dispensaries or professional healthcare workers, clinical and professional herbalists typically undergo a lengthy training period that covers many of the same subjects that pharmacists study during their educational process. Classes typically focus on the properties of medicinal herbs, methods of extraction and dosing, and the side effects and interactions between the active ingredients of the herbs and other medications and herbal remedies.

Students also gain a broad understanding of the human physiological and anatomical structures including an overview of the main physical structures and organ systems. This offers a basis for diagnosis and a deeper understanding of the possible causes for the symptoms patients may be presenting.

Herbal Education

Herbal therapy classes combine the two areas, allowing students to gain hands-on experience in diagnosing and prescribing the right herbal remedies for the patients reported symptoms. Lastly, most coursework includes an herbal pharmaceutical class that allows students to practice what they’ve learned by producing herbal medicines based on established formulas and experimental work.


While there is currently no specific educational requirement for practicing herbalists, the American Herbalists Guild is working to create a basic standard for herbalist education that will provide standardized requirements and coursework to allow herbalists to attain certification. Many herbalism courses currently offer a certificate or degree, but since there is no oversight for these courses, the value of the certification or degree program is largely dependent on the institution offering such training. Herbalists can join the American Herbalists Guild either as a general member, which has no specific requirements or as a professional member. Professional members must meet a number of exacting requirements including four years of training and clinical experience. This qualifies the herbalist for the professional title of Registered Herbalist, the highest current level of accreditation in the herbalism field.

This guest post was written by Wendy Graham, a freelancer based in Seattle, WA who often writes about education for Online College Guru, a directory of online colleges.

Great Hair

Great hair can really make a difference and this is defiantly one of those cross-cultural beliefs. Hair and its characteristics have a large link with genetics, however, there are some techniques we can do to help different parts of our hair.
Regular upkeep of your hair is a good place to start. A quality diet is a good way to keep a good head of hair. In Chinese Medicine, the blood needs to be sufficient to nourish the Liver and course the body. The blood is then able to nourish the skin and hair allowing luster in the complexion and hair. Foods to help are red meats, green leafy vegetables, blue/green algae, and beets.
Thinning hair is the most common complaint seeking treatment. Thinning hair can result from changing hormones, age, childbirth, and taxation (Liver blood insufficiency as discussed earlier). Beneficial herbs include:

He Shou Wu / Polygonum
Gou Qi Zi / Goji Berry
Shu Di Huang / Rehmannia
Shan Yao / Dioscorea

Common Herbs

These are common herbs used for hair disorders, although many of these are heavy herbs and can cause digestive upset if used all by themselves. Make sure to add Chuan Xiong or aged citrus peel to your tea.
With the modern invention of hair color, not many people think about natural or earlier ways of darkening hair to get rid of the grey. A simple 9g daily dose of He Shou Wu / Polygonum will do the trick! So whats the trick? Persistence! This is not an easy task and most of us wouldn’t last very long, however, this is a well-documented form of keeping dark hair that was used often on nobles and authorities.

Natural hair care is actually pretty easy and effective at ensuring ongoing beautiful hair. Nowadays there are some more natural shampoos out there rather than a bottle full of chemicals and dyes. By the way, if you are experiencing hair or skin problems make sure to change your shampoo and body wash to hypoallergenic products with no dyes, colors, perfumes, etc. You can also buy shampoo ‘base’ products that are ready to accept your own blend of additives like essential oils or other oils! An additional treatment for hair is adding a premium carrier oil such as sesame oil, jojoba oil or other and add in Lavender essential oil and rosemary oil, wash this out after having it in for 30 minutes to several hours.


Quality and natural products should also be used on extensions, hair pieces, and quick weaves. This will allow your hair pieces to last much longer and look great. Also, make sure you move to natural hair relaxers. The old or ‘regular’ form of hair relaxers use lye to relax the hair which is dangerous and can burn your scalp. These newer and natural hair relaxers use olive oil, vitamin E, soy extract, and other herbal ingredients to help straighten hair.

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