Summer 2005

The Herbal Cupboard presents Definitions of:

Alternate Therapies

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Welcome to the sometimes very confusing world of
Alternate Therapies.

These days a great deal of people will refer you to a specialist or therapist for a specific complaint or illness or trauma to your body, mind or spiritual health. While there is nothing wrong in pursuing a combined therapy of Western or your particular country's brand of national health care plus an overall knowledge of your own body's particular needs; it IS nice to know just what all the alternativesARE.
To that end I have studied a lot of books & offerings on & off the net before sitting down by the side of my hospital bed to work on the laptop & get this piece written. Hospital Bed you say? Yep. Got hit by a car in March on the 26th & by the time I came out of my coma on the 13th of April; I ended up with multiple broken bones & a lot of recuperative time on my casted & weakened hands. So there I was; taking the lot of herbs found on the main page via the Veteran's Health care system; & putting my idle "non physical therapy" time to good use. I got to go HOME finally on the 20th of October but I'm still HOME & likely to be there for some time.

So Send your get well e-cards & e-mail to:
the gimpy herbalist
Or just put an order in & use the nice comment section on the order form
to send me your greetings there...(sic).

I'm going to indulge in the "internet soap box"every so often here
& put in some of my observations that I've formulated over the past 30 years
of self & combined research into health & illness prevention.

The use of Fevers in prevention of illness-
{To be used by persons older than 7 years of age.}

The body's immune system; which can be aided with nutritional & holistic, aroma therapeutic & other alternative therapies; has a pretty foolproof way to get rid of the common cold & other minor infections. The body raises its temperature to make itself unappealing to the germies. In western or allopathic medicine; the response to a raise in temperature is an immediate race to the medicine cabinet to find a product to reduce it. This reduction in temperature thereby prolongs the time that a germie has time to infiltrate & grow in your system. The greatest temperature range for germs to grow & multiply is your "normal" temperature range.

{which brings me to another point... what you consider as being "normal" may be lower than the "norm" for your medical practioner. If you feel less well & more hot starting at the temperature of 97 degrees farenheit and above; instead of starting at 98.5 degrees farenheit or above; make sure to let your doctor know so that he/she can document it. Also, keep a small medical note in your purse or wallet or daytimer/ telephone book that has your emergency contacts, any allergies, blood type & normal temperature range in case of emergencies}

Ahem, as I was saying: A combination of a good immune system & a raised temperature; helped along by a slight change in PH can go a long way to killing off & flushing out germies before they make you more miserable than the first few days of any cold, flu or infection. Encouraging sweating by the use of bedrest with the availability of covers & warm fluids versus cold ones and or the use of spices in teas/food/drinks will also aid in the killing of these nasty internal vermin.


Alternative Treatment, Therapies or "Ologies"

Holistic / Complementary Treatment
Natural Healing

Holistic Medicine is based on the idea that the responsibility for your well being & health
should fall mainly on YOU.

   Holistic Medicine motivates your physical & emotional strengths by using various methods. For example: {nutritional, osteopathy, homeopathy, breathing techniques & more} to help your body to restore your "normal operating mode" or health. Ultimately this means that you must take the time; periodically within your daily/ monthly/ yearly life to assess what IS normal for YOU.
    Knowing your body's reactions to outside stimulus BEFORE stresses & other pathogens strike; gives you additional ammunition towards replacing & maintaining good inner & outer health.


CHI / QI = Energy Flow


The Art of Balancing

Yin & Yang

Ancient forms of Chinese Medicine.

   Yin & Yang are complimentary opposites. Interaction between them creates CHI or life energy. This CHI flows through the body & can be accessed via the body's meridian points. Meridian points have been charted & these reference points are used via acupressure & acupuncture to maintain free flow of this life energy through your body.
   Consider your body for a moment as a machine. In order for the machine to work; electricity or some form of energy must flow to all parts in order for the machine to work properly. Restricted flow will cause some or all parts of the machine to fail.
   Yin = Water. Yang = Fire. Our bodies contain both. Balance is seen as health. Too much of one will damage the flow of the other.
   Acupressure is the use of pressure on the meridian points to bring about free flow of CHI. Acupuncture uses superfine needles to open the channels to promote free flow.
Both may also utilize the additional therapy of
Traditional Chinese Medicine/ TCM;
which uses both herbal & mineral products.
In the formulary pages; you will see Asian herbs in red.

The Alexander Technique

Correct Poor Posture
to eliminate future aches & pains.

   The Alexander Technique designed by Frederick Mathias Alexander, is a series of positional corrections that can help you to reduce tensions in your body caused by incorrect placement of your spine and or body parts.
The Alexander Technique instructor will work with you on many range of motion techniques to help you to use your body with the least amount of muscular effort & help you to avoid future aches & pains.


Essential oils
of flowers, spices,
bark & resins

Natural Essences are used in this ancient art to relax or invigorate the mind, body & spirit.

   Aromatherapy is used in many cultures to alter or enhance moods through smell association. The limbic system in your brain is responsible for the exchange between emotions & scents.
Some oils are relaxing; others invigorate. Scents also tend to be very personal. While certain combinations may work for some people; you should experiment with each ingredient in a blend to make sure it is right for you.
Aromatherapy can be disseminated in many ways. Massage oils, Bath oils, Steam inhalators or vaporizers may utilized. 4-6 drops of essential oil to 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil, cream, gel or in a bath tub is generally enough for most people. 2-4 drops can be added to a humidifyer.

As a general rule you should never put an oil directly onto the skin as many oils are either too strong & may burn it. Also you should NEVER directly injest {drink/ eat} essential oils as most of them are
TOXIC in very small doses.

Autogenic Training

A Deep Relaxation State brought on by using Self-Help exercises.

   Autogenic Training allows you to regulate your autonomic nervous system; which controls usually involuntary activities such as heart rate, breathing, pulse rate & blood pressure to name a few.
   Developed by Dr. Johannes Schultz; it involves learning six exercises which focusses your attention on sensations like: calm heartbeat, natural easy breathing, coolness of the forehead, warmth of the abdominals, arms & legs, weight of the arms & legs.
   Passive concentration helps to bridge the communications gap between the left & right brain. This is a lot like using machines for biofeedback but without the technology. Practicing these exercises may help stroke victims to return to almost full use of their limbs & facilities for health.


A 5,000 year old practice
which incorporates herbs,
nutrition, exercise, massage
meditation, rest, yoga
& other applications
to restore balance
in body/ mind/ spirit

Each person is composed of five basic elements: fire, water, air, earth & ether.

   Ayurveda means knowledge of life.
The body is considered part of the universe. Good health comes from the balance of these life energies.
   Each person also has a dominance in one of 3 constitutional types. Your character will be defined by at least one of the types although you can have characteristics from more than one type at any given time.
Pitta controls the biochemistry of the body such as digestion. Its negative quality is Anger. Vulnerabilities include: ulcers, heartburn, acne & infections. Ayurvedic therapies might include diet, liquid intake, saunas & exercise.
   Kapha controls the fluids within the body. Kapha people are strong stocky types with even tempers. Negative qualities would be depression or prone to obesity. Vulnerabilities include: colds, kidney stones, tumors, sinus problems etc. Ayurvedic therapies might include: aerobic exercise & massage.
   Vata controls the nervous system. Vata's are either quite tall or short. They can eat a great deal of food without gaining weight. Negative qualities would be irregularities in sleep, constipation, insomnia & anxiety. Vulnerabilities include: dry skin, sciatica, depression, paralysis etc. Ayurvedic therapies might include deep massage, light exercise & meditation.

BachTM Flower Remedies

{ pronounced batch}

The BachTM Center of Great Britain creates BachTM Flower Remedies from native flora. These remedies are used to balance emotions.

   Dr. Edward Bach was a pathologist & bacteriologist in the early 1900's who came to recognize that illness could be related to emotional & psychological disturbances. He created some 38 flower & plant remedies; each pertaining to a specific effect on emotions such as fear, loneliness, jealousy, uncertainty, stress or shock.
   Herbs/ flowers or bark are soaked in spring water for a period of time or boiled in it for a shorter period to create the herbal base, then cooled, compounded & mixed with brandy to produce the remedies. They are then bottled in small dark glass bottles stoppered with eye droppers to preserve the integrity & strength of the mixtures.


{From the Greek Language
Cheir= hands & praktickos= done by

A Canadian doctor named Danial David Palmer created the therapy known as Chiropractic at the end of the 1800's. The overall idea is that the functions of the body are controlled by the nervous system. The nervous system being integrated with the musculoskeletal system; any disruptions to either will affect the functioning of both. Chiropractic treatment restores function to both. Typical afflictions restored, repaired or ameliaorated by Chiropractic therapies are: Joint Stiffness, Sciatica, Back or muscular aches & pains.
The spine is the main focus of practitioners of Chiropractic Medicine. Any displacement of the spine can cause either the above afflictions or also cause or add to ailments such as asthma or constipation. Diagnosis is achieved by palpitation of the spine & checking normal range of motion within the joints. X-rays are a normal part of the intake process for Chiropractic services.

Counseling and Therapy

Counseling may take place on a one to one or group basis. In the long or short term, counselors help people to talk about & understand their issues, which may enable them to cope better with any outcome that presents itself. There are several forms of counseling & therapy, known as the forms of Psychotherapy.

Note: Please forgive me if I don't agree with this entire section, but I am bound to report on its use. It is used. Widely. I do not agree with it.

Psychodrama: This involves a group of subjects who dramatize their individualt conflicting situations of daily life. It offers the sufferers of fears & phobias some outlet in a "safe" environment to work out definitions of solutions.

Psychoanalysis: This involves diagnosing & treating mental & emotional disorders through acertaining & analysing the facts of the patient's mental life.
{This is the area that I disagree with the most as it makes the practioner the arbiter of someone else's sanity based on their own definition of sanity. I don't consider most practioners to be on the side that I would consider sanity. Therefor how can they judge anyone else's?}

But I digress...

Gestalt Therapy: Therapists encourage their patients to focus on living for the present & create a whole or fabric of their life experiences woven into one large picture.

Herbal Medicine

This may be considered to be the original form of medicine in the world. Many active agents of the pharmaceuticals that we know today; come from origins in plant extracts used throughout the world. Some of the best known pharmaceuticals today have their origins in herbal remedies still used in other countries, such as White Willow Bark (the compound Salicylic acid is the basis in aspirin) & Foxglove who's chemical digitalis is used as a heart remedy known as Digitalin.
For all of the naysayers out in America especially, there is a VAST QUANTITY of known herbal scientific studies based on THOUSANDS of herbs that are published every few years in Germany & known as the German Commission E publication. It is as WELL DOCUMENTED as our yearly PDR.
Above & beyond the German Commission E papers; is the massive historical database now housed in Missouri & in Great Britain, belonging to the Benedictine Monks. This herbal based pharmacoepia has been documented for over 1,000 years & although not readily available to the public; continues to augment phamacalogical studies.
Just in case there is any doubt about "foreign" studies; there is also a VAST ethnobotanical & phytopharmaceutical data base, in America, underwritten by the National Institute of Health which was created over THIRTY Years ago by Dr. David Duke, author of The Green Pharmacy. This particular data base, while open to the public is not as easy to read or digest but the information there is valid & has been updated periodically by Dr. Duke & others who still traverse the South American & other continents in search of plants, scientific & colloquial research.

Herbal practioners will ask for a detailed history of your medical background & any information that you can give them dealing with past interactions with pharmaceuticals as well as allergies to foods or liquids will help them to compound supplements & products to maintain your health. You should not attempt to "heal yourself" without consulting with at least one herbal source or letting your allopathic doctor know that you are considering taking herbal supplements, if you are taking anything more potent than aspirin in your current diet.

There are several ways that herbs may be taken into the body or used to help the body maintain health.
Tinctures, herbal essences & Oils are produced by leaving plant materials to steep in either alcohol, olive oil or glycerin/ water. A water based extract is made by using large quantities of plant material in smaller amounts of alcohol & then diluted with water to a certain degree.
Many herbal oils & essences should only be used externally as they can be toxic if taken internally. Base creams of cold cream, olive or glycerin may be used in conjunction with these tinctures to produce unguents, creams & salves for external use only.
Herbal infusions are made by steeping the woodier or leafy parts of the herb in hot water for less than 5 minutes & can be used as teas or diluted with water & used as a wash for wounds.
Some plants are dried, ground whole & mixed with certain fillers or helpers to work as tablets or capsules to aid in the body's defense.
Other plants' chemicals are extracted for use in phytopharmaceuticals such as the above mentioned Digitalis or white willow bark.

Obviously I have a Loooong way to go on this page. Please excuse the mess. I'll be dealing with this tomorrow afternoon. Thanks for being patient.

Please email me to let me know what you think so far...the herbalist...circa June 2005

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