The Benefits of Herbs: When Less is More

The Benefits of Herbs: When Less is More

Dr. Deanna Weiss
6 minute read

At Woash Wellness, we believe in the natural benefits of herbs. We know through our research, taste-testing and personal experiences that drinking an herbal tea or drop-dosing a flower remedy can make us feel better throughout the day. It’s these small breaks with carefully chosen herbs that support our nervous system, mood and physical wellbeing. 

 

The Benefits of Herbs are Everywhere

Herbs can be classified as any plants that are used for food, flavouring, a scent or as medicine. You can find them in many areas of your home: as spices or herbal teas, in beauty products or aromatherapy (like candles and essential oils), and as food (like vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds). They each contain different combinations of vitamins, minerals, and components that may have powerful actions for our health and wellness. Herbalism is where aromatherapy, botany, chemistry, medicine, and pharmacy originated from.

 

The first herbal medicine course I took required an assignment to go out into nature and harvest any plant. We were encouraged to pick something that we didn’t know anything about. So I went to a nearby park and picked a handful of clovers knowing nothing about them except wanting to find a four-leaf one as a child. The next part of the project was to let the herb dry up (just like a loose leaf herbal tea). Then we were instructed to steep it as a tea, drink it, and record any changes that were felt. The changes I experienced were subtle and calming but my shift in perspective of herbs changed forever. The last part of the exercise was to research the name of the herb and any medicinal properties associated with it. This opened up my mind to realize that something as common as clovers in a park had healing properties. Now, I’m not recommending that you go the nearest park and start making teas out of whatever you find but I want to share this perspective that any plant you see in nature has the potential to contain a wide range of healing properties. 

 

 

Less is More: The power of drop dosing

There are multiple ways to use herbs for health and wellness and one of my favourite style of practice is based on the notion that less is more. In holistic practices, where the body is viewed as a whole, it is common to ingest small amounts of herbs to encourage the body towards homeostasis. This means low amounts of herbs to tap the body back into balance as opposed to taking a high dose, which overrides the body from helping itself. When the body is working towards homeostasis, there is less stress, pain and tension experienced. 

 

This power of a drop dosing dates back to the 1700s when homeopathy was developed. The creator of homeopathy is Dr. Samuel Hahnemann who was a brilliant linguist and physician who could translate texts and research in up to 11 languages. He saw patterns in herbs that could create symptoms in large amounts and also resolve them in small amounts. The theory is that ingesting a minuscule amount of the healing plant can gently tap the body to start turning on it’s own healing mechanisms.

 

This homeopathic style of herbs led to Dr. Edward Bach creating flower essences and modern herbalists drop-dosing liquid herbal extracts. The purpose of using small amounts of herbal remedies for health and wellness is to carefully choose ones based on energetic properties. Some herbs may offer effects that are: stimulating, calming, balancing, aromatic, or soothing. Whereas higher dosages may be more specific to an organ system and therapeutic action in the body, much like a pharmaceutical.

 

 Photo by Annie Spratt

 

Herbal Remedies Today 

Ways that small amounts of herbal remedies are still being used today to support health and vitality are as follows:

•   Homeopathic remedies- often prescribed by a homeopath, naturopathic doctor or holistic practitioner that is trained in homeopathy as it is a form of medicine 

•   Drop-dosing liquid extracts- taken straight on the tongue or added to a small amount of water for energetic or physical properties 

•   Flower Remedies- taken under or on the tongue for energetic properties for emotional wellbeing 

•   Herbal mists- diluted essential oils used as sprays for aromatherapy to benefit emotional wellbeing 

•   Herbal teas- a powerful and underrated form of herbal medicine for mental and physical wellbeing

 

As I write this article, I want the calming affects from an herbal tea. My go-to lately is WOASH Me Time with a few drops of a Lemon Balm extract. This is the perfect example of the power of using a small amount of herbs (like the loose leaf tea) for wellbeing. Most of us could benefit from more herbal support in our lives these days, whether big or small. 

 

Dr. Deanna Weiss, ND


Founder of Connected Natural Medicine

 

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Disclaimer: This is not meant to offer medical advice. Seek a health care professional for advice on treating a medical condition with the use of herbal medicine.

 

References:
Czeranko S. Herbs in Naturopathic Medicine. Portland, OR: NUNM Press; 2016.

Hoffmann D. Medical Herbalism: the Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press; 2003.

Williams LL. Radical Medicine: Cutting-Edge Natural Therapies That Treat the Root Causes of Disease. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press; 2011. 

Wood M. The Book of Herbal Wisdom: Using Plants as Medicine. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books; 1998. 
Wood M, Ryan D. The Earthwise Herbal Repertory: the Definitive Practitioner's Guide. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books; 2016.

 

Zeff J, Snider P, Myers SP. A Hierarchy of Healing: The Therapeutic Order - A Unifying Theory of Naturopathic Medicine. In: Textbook of Natural Medicine. 4th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier/Saunders; 2012. 

 

Photos by Annie Spratt

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