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How do herbal remedies get to their target?
Herbal compounds need to be absorbed across the wall of the digestive tract, so they have to be released from their structures (stem, root, leaf, flower or berry etc) first of all. Hot water and alcohol do some of this job for us, so that teas and tinctures are more easily absorbed than tablets and capsules, which need to be broken down physically before the active chemicals are separated from the inert matter to which they are attached.
All food and medicine passes through the liver (in the blood circulation) before it finally enters the body tissues, where it is used. Sometimes chemical compounds need help in crossing through the wall of the digestive tract in the blood stream.
Carrier chemicals can be attached to compounds and ferry them through channels in the gut lining. Hydrochloride is frequently found to be part of conventional drug names as it has this function.
Headache relief using Rosemary
The herb rosemary has been found valuable in headaches resulting from cold. A handful of this herb should be boiled in a litre of water and put in a mug. The head should be covered with a towel and the steam inhaled for as long as the patient can bear. This should be repeated till the headache is relieved.
Herbal compounds often have an advantage over synthesized chemicals in this respect, they have naturally occurring carrier chemicals already attached to them. This is what is meant by affinity. Herbs are said to have a greater affinity for the human body, like spare parts, dedicated to a particular engine made by the same manufacturer.