Alterative are herbs that gradually restore or change the proper function to the body, increasing health and vitality. Some of these alterative herbs support waste elimination processes via the kidneys, liver, lings, or skin. While others stimulate digestive function or provide antimicrobial actions. (Hoffmann 2003) What is interesting about alterative herbs is that it seems to alter the body's metabolic process in order to improve tissues' ability to deal with a range of body functions systems.
In the cardiovascular system, alteratives will aid the circulation by helping the whole body work at its peak. Allium sativum (garlic) actions increase beneficial high-density lipoproteins, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol and triglycerides levels, prevents arteriosclerosis, and acts as a tonic on the cardiovascular system. (Tillotson, 2001). There are some alteratives that possess beneficial properties for the lungs and respiratory system. Another alterative herbs example are the Hydrastis canadensis (goldenseal) and Echinacea. These two herbs combined together is a very popular treatment for the common cold and upper respiratory tract infections. The alteratives work to stimulate the digestive system organs such as the liver, pancreas, stomach and the intestines. The Arctium lappa (burdock) is a excellent alterative because it increase bile secretion and is know a liver detoxifier. (Tillotson, 2001). Some of the alterative herbs that are known as diuretics could be distinguish as urinary system alteratives. (Hoffmann 2003) Urtica dioica (stinging nettle) seeds is an alterative herb that nourishes and removes toxins from the kidneys. The alternatives also help the body to be healthy and whole by aiding the strained nervous system. Pulsatilla vulgaris (pasqueflower) is a relaxing nervine that is useful for problems combining spasm in the reproductive system with overall nervous tension. It also appropriate for insomnia and general nervous over activity. (Hoffmann 2003) The alterative herbs becomes a cornerstone of healing transformation for the musculoskeletal system and the skin. (Hoffmann 2003) Trifolium pratense (red clover) is a gentle alterative herb that is used to treat chronic skin problems such as eczema, eruptions and psoriasis.
Alteratives can be used safely as supportive therapy in many diverse conditions even though there actions on the body is not understood.
Hoffmann, D. (2003) Medical Herbalism. (New York, NY: Kensington Publishing Corp.), 244, 431,484-485, 576
Tillotson, A. K., (2001) The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook, (Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press), 68, 113, 136, 186-187, 209