It’s the annual holidays season now. Some people are drawing up travel plans, while others are planning to go to the countryside. A medicine kit is a must for every trip. No one is safe from climate-related issues, colds, injuries, food poisonings, or staying in the sun for too long. We typically rely exclusively on over-the-counter medications and forget the fact that there is a different pharmacy right in front of us, containing natural and more affordable but equally effective drugs. This is the Nature’s pharmacy with its universe of medicinal herbs and plants.
We spoke with Olga Spiridonova, a plant therapist and a licensed pharmacist, about the underestimated potential of the “green pharmacy”, about herbs and herbalists, as well as about the pros and cons of the mainstream healthcare.
Getting Rid of Symptoms or Healing the Root Cause?
She is the fourth generation of doctors in her family. She decided to follow in the footsteps of her parents by graduating from a medical college and then a medical university. She went on to study in the Herbal Therapy Department of the International Friendship University (Moscow). She has been dreaming of letting people know about Godsent natural remedies for a long time. She spent fifteen years working in a regular pharmacy and building a successful career there. Nonetheless, her years of experience taught her that mainstream drugs almost always cure one thing by damaging something else. Sometimes their side effects are bigger than their usefulness. Take Ibuprofen or Paracetamol for example. These drugs tackle high temperature and pain but at the same time damage the patient’s liver and kidneys. Children are especially vulnerable. Nimesulid and analogues are extremely toxic, as are cholesterol-reducing drugs. Even multivitamins can cause allergic reactions. The list goes on and on. Do these medicines have any alternatives?
Is There Any Alternative to Commonly Used Drugs?
“I’ve noticed over and over again that pharmaceutical formulas cannot cure an individual completely,” Olga Spiridonova complains. “I’ve seen contemporary healthcare treat separate symptoms rather than the illness as a whole. Meanwhile, I’ve grown fond of natural remedies. I spent a lot of time reading books and attending courses and lectures on the subject.”
Holistic Approach to Health
Most books on plant therapy nowadays are filled with recipes from ancient books, filtering out superstitions and adding new research carried out by the scholars.
For example, researchers have extracted a powerful antiviral agent from the common sea buckthorn shrub, which is now sold in the form of pills and suppositories. Agrimony is being closely studied, too: it turned out to have demonstrable anti-cancer properties, as are some mushrooms.
Olga Spiridonova has met and talked with those who managed to restore their health thanks to monks-herbalists and traditional healers. They did not just get rid of their symptoms temporarily: they recovered completely, because holistic effect is one of the benefits of herbal remedies. One’s entire body is getting healed, not just the affected organs.
“Do Not Harm” Is the Core Principle
Olga Spiridonova uncovers old monastery recipes. She attends herbal therapy courses in various cities across Russia; she also visits villages and hamlets to talk with elderly people who might remember their family recipes passed on from generation to generation.
Old books are valuable sources for an experienced herbalist. Olga Spiridonova adapts all the recipes that she’s collected to the lifestyle of a contemporary city dweller. She finds new applications for the ancient methods, which preserve the usefulness and effectiveness of their ingredients but are more convenient, e.g., balms, infusions, ointments, etc.
She claims that the core principle is “Do not harm.” In spite of the fact that medicinal herbs do not contain the amount of active substances that can do harm to one’s health, you should always stick to the recommended dose. There are many shops that sell herbal teas, balms, tinctures, and solutions in honey. Anyone can consult his or her doctor and choose the right herbal remedies for them.
Wrong lifestyles, anxiety, and imbalanced food intake have led to chronic headaches of various origin and gastrointestinal disorders in many humans. Weak immune system is responsible for colds, hypertension and hypotension, and acute diseases turning into chronic ones. There are many cases of male and female health disorders diagnosed every year, along with illnesses of liver, kidney, and joints.
There are two ways out of this quagmire. You can either infinitely try to treat the symptoms with mainline drugs or take a holistic approach by using natural remedies tested by generations of our ancestors.
Boosting immunity is the basis of herbal therapy. First of all, herbs help to strengthen one’s immune system. Olga Spiridonova says that it is the initial stage in almost all cases. She advises to use remedies that contain Rhodiola roots, Sage, Echinacea and Epilobium grass, and Dandelion roots, especially mixed with propolis, which is a powerful immune booster per se. You can also use rosehips, burdock root, and birch tinder fungus tincture.
Sage Is an Ingredient of Mixtures for Boosting the Immune System
You can start strengthening your immune system during the cold season but it is advised to begin preventative measures earlier, before the colds strike. It isn’t a far-fetched problem: even the younger ones have impaired immune response due to spending too much time in front of screens and not getting enough physical activity.
Herbal mixtures, tinctures, and balms that contain raspberry, thyme, marjoram, and other antiviral, anti-cough, and immune boosting herbs are effective for curing a common cold. These herbs fight high temperature, induce sweat, and destroy viruses. Olga Spiridonova recommends making these herbs part of your holiday medicine kit.
About stress, which is the cause of many disorders, and the basic rules that you should follow before you start using medicinal herbs read in our next article →