Podcast 080: The Role of Herbs In Heroic Medical Interventions

When we talk about “heroic” medical interventions, we mean the high-potency, high-risk (and potentially high-reward) tools that define conventional medicine. Pharmaceuticals, surgeries, cutting-edge experimental procedures – that kind of thing. While these kinds of treatments tend to get all the credit, they depend for a large part of their success on unglamorous, workaday support. A well-nourished person is more likely to survive and respond well to intense treatment. So is one who is well-slept and has the support of a caring community. A recent experience with an end-of-life client case brought this home for us.

There’s a difference between nursing and “doctoring” that is similar to this distinction. Maybe the antibiotic or the surgeon saves the day, but there are more days ahead, and that’s where a good nurse shines. Skillful care can be the difference between a successful experimental treatment case and one that goes poorly. Herbalism – especially the holistic herbalism style we practice – is like this! When we work with clients undergoing palliative care for a serious illness, or those in the hospice stage, our intention with herbs is not to “cure” the person. Instead, it’s to help them become more resilient, build endurance, and enable their body to cope with the stress of both the illness itself and the harsh treatments conventional medicine offers. This complementary approach brings the best of both worlds.

Sometimes, heroic medical interventions really are necessary. If they are, it doesn’t mean herbs are out of the question! Listen to this episode for our thoughts on how and why to include holistic herbalism methods in serious cases.

Herbs discussed include: chamomile, ginger, seaweeds, mushrooms, nettles, wild lettuce, ashwagandha, codonopsis, violet, chickweed, tulsi, rose, vanilla, & betony.

Mentioned in this podcast:

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[Picture of wood betony.] Betony is an herb that helps with headaches, but it can also be a great ally when heroic medical interventions are taking a toll on your vitality.

Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas.


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