Herbal remedies fall into the category of alternative medicine which is simply the use of medical techniques from cultures other than traditional Western medicine
They also include tried-and-true family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Some of the most common herbs purchased and used in the United States include milk thistle, peppermint, ginger, ginkgo biloba, chamomile, garlic, Echinacea, ginseng, goldenseal, and valerian.
These herbs are often used in teas, soups, oils, and in pill form for improving the body’s immune system, digestion, circulation, brain function and memory, and for fighting off bacteria.
Researchers have even conducted trials to investigate the effectiveness of ginkgo biloba as a preventative medicine against Alzheimer's and dementia patients, however results have not been definitive.
Bobbie McSheridan, owner of the Health and Herb Shop located on 410 East Street has been serving customers in Talladega for three-and-half years.
The shop offers a wide range of natural health remedies, including: therapeutic essential oils, aromatherapy, herbs, vitamins and minerals, aromatherapy products, bath salts, perfume products, allergy relief sprays, headache rolls, room diffusers, car diffusers, natural pet cleansers, natural adult cleansers, natural child cleansers, teas, detox items, lotions, herb books, and herb brochures.
“It’s across the board, it’s all ages,” McSheridan said. “We’ve done pretty good, we’re still here.”
McSheridan said that her customers run the gamut of young and old, and are big fans of The Dr. Oz Show.
“We sell a lot of weight loss things; we practically have everything Dr. Oz has on his television show,” McSheridan said.
“We get a lot of people that watch Dr. Oz. We can tell whenever he has something new because everyone’s always calling.”
McSheridan said that she chose to open the Health and Herb Shop after seeing firsthand the difference herbal remedies made in someone’s life.
“I knew a guy who had been given six months to live with colon cancer and he took herbal remedies and he’s still alive to this day,” McSheridan said.
McSheridan said that arthritis products are the most popular products in the store, including tart cherries that have been known to reduce chronic inflammation.
“We have capsules and liquids that have extra pain relief in it for those who can’t buy the cherries because it costs too much to get as many as you need,” McSheridan said.
“We have herbal teas, we also have catnip tea. It’s an old-fashioned remedy that sooths babies when they cut their teeth, it helps them rest. A lot of people have a hard time finding it; they don’t know we have it.”
Although most herbal remedies have a good track record, there is some caution that should be exercised against using them, especially in conjunction with other medications.
Kava-kava is a controversial herb that has been used as a ceremonial drink in the Pacific Islands for hundreds of years and has been reported to have an effect similar to an alcoholic drink.
The herb is known for its relaxing qualities and used to calm nervousness or muscle spasms, however some countries have taken it off the market.
It remains available in the United States, but the Food and Drug Administration issued a consumer advisory in March of 2002 regarding the “rare” but potential risk of liver failure associated with kava-containing products.
Kava-kava may increase the effects of certain anti-seizure medications and prolong the effects of certain anesthetics in addition to enhancing the effects of alcohol.
Echinacea can be used to boost the immune system and fend off colds and the flu. However, it has been known to cause inflammation of the liver if it is used with certain other medications, such as anabolic steroids, or methotrexate used to treat severe psoriasis.
Ginseng is said to increase concentration and physical stamina, but those using ginseng can see an increased heart rate or higher blood pressure.
Feverfew is used to minimize migraine headache attacks and can be used for rheumatoid arthritis. It may increase bleeding risk, especially in those taking anti-clotting medications.
It is strongly encouraged for those using herbal remedies and medications to do so under the close supervision of their doctor or health professional since many herbal remedies are also known for affecting metabolism.
McSheridan said that for the most part, her customers just want to be healthy.
“Herbs are more of a preventative health remedy,” McSheridan said.
“They are safe but you need to do your research. There are only a few times people need to be careful of herbs, epilepsy is one of them.
Sometimes herbs can make the medication work better like blood sugar remedies but you don’t want it to go too low.”
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