Ok, so I said some things about hot and cold herbal medicines, before on my 'Zebrah' account, now I'll say some words about another group. This group is herbs which are known as Tonics.
These herbs have a number of characteristics which act upon the body by way of tonifying, balancing, invigourating, and, restoring function of a specific organ, or system, (like endocrine), or the whole being.
Those which restore are called 'restoratives' , a good example would be Kelp. Kelp contains iodine which works to balance the thyroid gland, which affects the metabolism of all the cells in the body, being part of the endocrine system.
Alongside the ' hot/cold' model, hormonal tonics work on the prerise that part (like a gland) of the endocrine system can become over- or under-active. Thus, hormonal tonics are used to addresss an imbalance and consequentially restore correct functioning,
Another example of applying use of tonics, is the use of aphrodisiacs. There is debate that a substance exists which can directly stimulate a sexual urge, but certainly the genitals themselves can be affected, as can be the mind. In an aphrodisiac, we are really looking to heighten sensuality and to put the body in peak codition in order to achieve this
For example, a relaxant might assist, if stress is a contributing factor in poor sexual relations. If tiredness is the cause, then a good nerve tonic like the restorative damiana may make someone more willing in amorous scenarios. (Damiana does make a very nice smoke too ^^)
In tonics, we should definitely look at stress hormones. Herbs that work on the stress response are called adaptogens. These remedies help to restore an adequate stress response. An inadequate stress response leads to the exaustion of stress hormones, like cortesoids, from the adrenal gland, and thus a loss of adaptability from the body. This is considered one of the causes of chronic disease. Ginseng is an example of an adaptogen, and, easily enough, so is garlic!
Again with the idea of restoring equilibrium to achieve optimum health, there is a group of tonics called harmonisers. Harmonisers use a rather homeopathic stance by addressing what, possibly emotional, condition, created the imbalance in the first place. Harmonisers are similar to adaptogens, with adaptogens coming from a more medical (see 'phytotherapy'), and harmonisers coming from a more holistic, premise. The function is pretty much the same. It is the practitioners job to decide which is more relevant in an individual case, - plus one can use both approaches at the same time.
Here is a brief history on blood purifiers , - remedies which were known as cleansing herbs.. .
In medieval times in Europe, the diet was very poor during the winter months, due to to the lack of fresh fruit and vegatables, and beause meat was preserved by being heavily salted. When the early spring arrived, the first plants began to grow. These plants were known as beneficial weeds. It was discovered that they removed toxins from the body, and that they replaced depleted vitamins and minerals. They also acted as mild diuretics, - one of the processes sought in what we now call blood purifiers.
As well as diuretics, qualities of the group of herbs called blood purifiers are laxatives, (bowel cleansers); cholagogues ( bile stimulaters); expectorants ( loosening phlegm), and diaphoretics (inducing sweating). Blood purifiers work mainly in chronic disease, like M.E., psoriasis, and nervous disorders.
With the groups of herbs I have introduced you to, - restoratives, blood purifiers, harmonisers etc, you can use the internet to search for which herbs fit into these groups of tonics. Feel free to ask me if you would like any help with your research. I'm still studying, but I may be able to help. :)
Peace ~ Lilly