By Jill Wright
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It means, for example, that you will be told if you shouldn’t take the medicine if you are pregnant, 32 Arthritis and Rheumatism taking another specific medication, have an allergy or a certain medical condition. This will become more common throughout Europe in the near future. How herbs work Herbs contain small quantities of chemicals, compared to modern pharmaceutical products which extract or synthesise one chemical in much larger amounts. Valerian, for example, appears to improve the quality of your sleep as well as helping you to doze off and doesn’t cause a sluggish feeling in the morning, unlike many pharmaceutical products.
You can also find herbs whose actions are not found in conventional drug descriptions. Mostly this is because of their complexity, which is best reflected in the older names for their applications. We can include here: • • • • • • • • cleansing herbs relaxants circulatory tonics rubefacients digestive tonics tonic bitters healing herbs hormonal agents. You would not expect to obtain these from your doctor. Anti-inflammatories This is the most important group of herbs for people with disorders such as arthritis, where inflammation causes so 38 Arthritis and Rheumatism much pain and damage if unchecked.
Generally the body does these things very well without help and it’s likely that people with no health problems don’t need ‘detoxifying’ (provided they eat a healthy diet), but it would do no harm in the case of an ailment such as acne or arthritis to try the old-fashioned cleansing approach first. Details on how to make herbal teas are given on page 93. Diuretics (included in cleansing in the Directory of Useful Herbs) These increase the elimination of water (and solutes) via the kidneys. There are three main types: 40 Arthritis and Rheumatism 1 Osmotic diuretics (such as sugars) contain compounds which attract water to them and carry it out of the body.