Herbal Tonics - The Importance in Health Care


 Posted: September 2020
Author: Phil Rasmussen |  M.Pharm., M.P.S., Dip. Herb. Med.; M.N.I.M.H.(UK),  F.N.Z.A.M.H. 


Definition of Tonic:
‘Medicines that strengthen and invigorate, and impart vitality and energy’
The use of tonics has sadly become somewhat outdated and redundant in the current mainstream health model of ‘illness’ as opposed to ‘wellness’.  However, as herbalists, we know that tonic herbs offer profound restorative properties that are unique to herbal medicine.
Herbal tonics are unparalleled in pharmaceutical medicine, and provide an array of actions highly appropriate for maladies of the modern world including:
- Cancer
- Aging
- Stress and fatigue
- Mental illness
- Inflammatory conditions
- Cardiovascular disease
Historically the use of tonics was widespread in many cultures, often taken as a food or beverage.
Examples include Kawakawa, Panax Ginseng, Rhodiola,  Reishi, Cordyceps, Lions Mane, Withania, Astragalus. All these herbs are still used today for their tonic properties.
Modern herbalism has allowed us to discern various actions that contribute to the tonic nature of certain herbs.
These actions include:
- Adaptogenic
- Antioxidant
- Hepatoprotective
- Immunomodulatory
- Neuroprotective
- Cardiotonic/cardioprotective
- Chemopreventive against cancer
The concept of ‘raising vitality’ is a cornerstone of the practice of natural medicine. This restoration of body and mind to enable innate healing and sustained wellbeing is a fundamental difference between natural and orthodox medicine.
Herbal tonics continue to be an essential part of modern herbal practice, and often make the difference in treating insidious or complex conditions that present with many diverse symptoms.
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