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FAQ: What are Herbs?

Herbs are simply plant materials, leaves, roots, berries, etcetera. The part of the plant which is used depends upon the intended purpose and the species of plants. “Herb” does not imply dangerous or even therapeutic use; the plant foods we eat on a regular basis are herbs and many can be considered medicinal in relative use, including onions, garlic, parsley, and others. Plants are easy to digest and assimilate and offer specific nutritive qualities based upon their color and chemical composition. For example, carrots are high in beta carotene, an essential nutrient for the liver and the eyes, while the sodium in dandelion greens is essential for the health of the stomach lining. Herbs also have an energetic impact on the body. While lemons cause tissue to contract, red peppers make your nose run and increase circulation generally. Nutritive and energetic aspects of plants combine to create their traditional uses for varying symptoms as a result of their impact on differing types of tissues and organs. Herbs generally available in health stores and from practitioners are safe for virtually all individuals when taken in rational amounts. The quality of herbs varies significantly from company to company; in general the adage “you get what you pay for” applies as it would to other food products. Plants cannot be patented. Products declaring that they are patented, standardized, or potentized are not true herbals and need to be taken somewhat more cautiously.

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