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Natural medicine in one form or another, whether centuries old herbal potions, their modern derivatives, or �alternative� methods of healing from acupuncture to water cures, either in combination with conventional medicine or alone, are widely used throughout Germany, with most treatments acknowledged and reimbursed by the state health systems.

A large proportion of Germans treat themselves with medications from recipes handed down through generations, and many prefer to take a herbal remedy or natural medicine, a fact which is mirrored by the medical practitioners, 70% of whom prescribe the natural alternatives and not only conventional medicines and treatments.


This weeks article covers:
Herbs and Natural Medicine in Germany

Last edited by Francine - German Culture; 02/12/11 09:51 AM.

Francine A. McKenna - German Culture Editor

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Avatar: HOHENZOLLERNBRÃœCKE Cologne with CATHEDRAL and LUDWIG MUSEUM. The Bridge a symbol of how Germany was rebuilt after WWII, it was left in ruins, the Cathedral with roots in the 13th century represents the country's history, Museum of Modern Art the present day.

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that is very interesting francine about medical practitioners prescribing natural alternatives to patients, i think doctors in the west frown on some of the alternative medicines but at least acupuncture has caught on recently. a lot of new drugs have herbal ingredients in and progress seems to be in the right direction.

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Am glad you found it interesting Skyelaw, and thanks for commenting. And yes you are right, in general it seems hard for Western �school medicine� doctors, as they are called here, to believe there might be something to be said for age old medicines and alternative therapies, but that world does seem to be opening up relatively quickly these days.

Don�t know if you know anything about the �Bach Flower Remedies� but they are very popular here, and many people carry them around with them. One doctor who had this as an additional specialty to her main area of medicine advised I tried them.

Still do not know how looking at pictures of flowers and choosing which ones �speak� to you does anything, but nevertheless chose some, she mixed up a little bottle of �remedy�, and off I went. Open for almost everything followed her instructions, but it did nothing whatever for me, however perhaps that was because I was too sceptical.

Have you every heard about them, or known anyone has any success with them?


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yes ive heard of them and some people in england use them too, there has been a report over here lately that stated that substances used in like fore like medicine as in homeopathy is unproven and it said it could be dangerous to health? taking a little of what makes you ill etc makes you better, i cant really comment on this as i use herbal medicine and it would be unfair of me to critisise other remedies, different things work on some but not on others if you know what i mean.

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Francine I found this a really interesting article - great that herbal medicine is so widely accepted in Germany. I have come across doctors who have moved to alternative therapies - for instance acupuncture and vibrational medicine - and they tend to be excellent because they are mixing their extensive medical training/experience with alternative theories/knowledge.

My grandmother introduced me to Bach Rescue Remedy, and whilst it has not been a staple I have always had I have found myself using it at times of stress. I know someone who has taught courses on Bach Flower Remedies - I will ask her what attracts her to them.


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Glad you found the article interesting Asha, and yes you have no idea how great it is that doctors in Germany do �think out of the box�, and with successful results.

Spent years in Belgium fighting conventional medicine which in every way possible was just making my youngest sons health, and quality of life, worse, in the end tried alternative methods, absolutely against medical advice, but they succeeded in curing him.

What I had had to fight for to be accepted in Belgium is in Germany an accepted therapy.

It would be super if you could ask your friend about Bach remedies. Have studied them of course, tried them as I said, have friends who swear that they work, especially the �rescue remedy�, but for me�����.a big nothing. Obviously my fault but why? Would love to know.


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Francine Skyelaw said "different things work on some and not on others", something I also believe. Just as we find our own paths in life I think we find our own paths in health. I remember a friend going on and on to me about how good Shiatsu was, yet I knew it wasn't right for me (maybe influenced by someone who was training working on my hands in a way that felt wrong and caused pain!).

I will check out about Bach Flower Remedies with my friend.

Have you ever tried Hopi ear candling? This is another one which has very mixed reviews...


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ive tried acupuncture and it didnt work for me either, ive had heat treatments and also cortisone injections in my spine but i didnt get any relief from them. cortisone injections in my shoulders though did work maybe 80 percent, so this proves it must help certain people? i have prescription drugs but mainly rely on herbs for my relief as i believe herbal remedies top any other treatments we can try. some of us might have other treatments that work for them better, its trial and error in all and we have to find out individually whats best for us.

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hi francine i like your views on herbal medicine in germany. are you still living there? its a country i would like to visit for ive heard so much about how nice it is there. ive heard grape vines grow along with fruit trees and bushes just off some off the roadways near the river rhine? a friend of mine told me the pensions for old people are twice the amount we have, and that he would rather live there than over here in england. in fact everyone ive spoken to say the same. i think i could pick the german language up a lot easier than some ive heard for some of the words are very much like ours, the meaning of some words are the same as ours, like smoking - you say rauchen. verboten sounds like forbidden and so on. good luck with your herbs francine, -lawrence.

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First Lawrence, have you tried Chili cream or gel rub to help alleviate your pain, or is it not available in the UK? Think it is even possible to make it oneself.

Had an accident that I was told urgently needed an OP, not enough time available and also just no opportunity because there were too many other things going on, so after some years....yes I know pretty pathetic....went yet again to a Doc who prescribed more cortisone. No use at all.

However a German friend suggested Chili in the diet and Chili Gel as a rub. Well it would be exaggerating to say everything was suddenly perfect however it was certainly possible to start living something like a normal life once more. Have had the necessary OP since then but it is true to say the Chili connection helped enormously. If you have not tried it so far, then please do so and see if it helps you also. It is a natural pain killer....well at least it minimizes pain.

And yes I love Germany, and in my opinion it is a place to visit, and to enjoy, at any time of the year. You are right about the vineyards, have written an article about them on site, and at the same time there are so many varieties of absolutely delicious apples grown in Baden Wuerttemberg. I guess that they must taste something like they used to do �in the olden days�....not that any of us remember those of course!

As for the language�..hmmm�..depends a lot on the area. High German not really difficult to understand as far as it goes, however some of the dialects, my goodness, next to impossible. But then I am not a good judge, when I visited my youngest son when he began studying medical science in Newcastle sometimes I only caught one word in three, and that was English.

And Herbs. Who can live without them. They make great restorative tisanes, help sore throats, create glossy hair, build up the immune system, make almost anything taste better and the fun one gets from seeing them grow and prosper, well yes I do like herbs!


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Yes Asha, Have tried Hopi ear candling.

Only once, and not by myself but with a therapist in Manchester of all places. Had an attack of sinusitis for the first time in 15 years and probably caused by the drastic change in air from Bavaria, so a friend who was with me dragged me off kicking and screaming...candles in the ears � please I think not...did find it the weirdest of sensations but in this case it definitely worked. The entire head, neck and face pain disappeared, there was an immediate return to single and un-blurred vision and it was possible to breathe again.

Am not sure that I would try it at home though, although I know it is not usual to have it as a home treatment in Germany. The candles are for sale in health food shops for example.


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yes ive tried chilli but it can burn when i use the toilet, it must be the capsicum in it francine. i will have a look at your article, thanks lawrence.

Last edited by SKYELAW; 02/15/11 09:31 AM.
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one day i will go to germany and see the sights and compare herbal ideas, there is a lot to see i know that. one of the things i admire is the german scientists who are reputed to be the best in the world, just look at the cars and super train they have? years ago they were trying to build a flying saucer and had one lift of the ground 20 feet high, it was driven by a motor influenced by magnetic energy. who knows it could be this year,i would love to go to america as well, especially new york or florida.

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Wow, I'm well aware of Eastern health remedies but never heard of European homeopathic treatments. Thanks, Francine!

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Originally Posted By: Asha - Scottish Culture

Have you ever tried Hopi ear candling? This is another one which has very mixed reviews...


Asha, I have tried ear candling and it did not work. All it did was irritate my ears. I do not know why it is called "Hopi Ear Candling", for the Hopi peoples do not practice this method.

Wikipedia has a good article on this at: Ear Candling

Last edited by Phyllis, Native American; 02/15/11 12:44 PM.

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Francine, you wrote a great article. I enjoyed reading it.


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Francine, I enjoy your article also
Good job


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Francine and Phyllis

I've had Hopi ear candling a couple of times - once a friend who got me Hopie candles as a present did it and I was not sure how much difference it made - think I was quite nervous! The second time a friend who has trained in how to do it came round and we did each other - I found this incredibly relaxing we had soft lighting and I put on harp music which remarkably lasted exactly the time for each treatment. It felt it made a difference at the time, clearing my head whcih was bunged up and my hearing felt clearer. Phyllis thanks for the article link.


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Lori I was lucky enough to have a doctor who also offered homeopathic medicine when I was growing up - I was very lucky as at the time such doctors were extremely rare. I'd say in the UK there are a lot more trained homeopaths now, some with medical backgrounds.


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Thank you very much Phyllis and Rosie L for your comments. Am glad that you found the article interesting.

In a way it is also another side to the usual impression of Germany that it is something of a conformist country, which it is of course in quite a few respects but not this, and I really do appreciate your feedback.


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Hi Lori, Yes I too only knew about alternative Asian medical treatments, had even followed a few���..much to the amusement of just about everyone in my life.

It is a broad based Naturopathic Medicine and therapy that the German health system supports, which can then be used to compliment conventional treatments, so that includes homeopathy as well as many other forms of alternative care methods.

My personal experience is that a majority of doctors try to enable the body�s own innate instincts to heal itself with natural forms of treatment, as well as dealing with the immediacy of whatever health crisis the patient has by conventional methods.

Meanwhile folk also use remedies that have been handed down within their families perhaps for generations����.and they work!

To a certain extent there is similar way of thinking in France I think, but am not sure about any other European country, although of course the therapeutic use of herbs and plants was all anyone had at one time.

There are going to be some European wide regulations brought in regarding herbal remedies very soon, instigated by the International Pharmaceutical Industry it seems, just hope that it does not destroy more than it protects.


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hi francine, there are many cultures that heal with herbs, i think the best culture in herbs are the tribes that live in the rainforest of brazil. the tribes knowledge of herbal medicine is far advanced compared to ours, they have a cure for everything there? it may be that these tribes were closely related to the native american indians as they believe and care for the land they live in and the plants and animals. aloe vera is one of the best herbs in the world, there are herbs and animals and birds not even heard of in them rainforests, some say its like a garden of eden

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Yes Lawrence you are right, the Brazilian tribes have so much knowledge of herbal medicine, it is probably still beyond our comprehension.

If they were allowed to just get on with things, without having their culture and lands destroyed by the rest of us, who knows it might even have been possible to work in tandem with them and find cures for our modern maladies, while allowing them the freedom to live their own lives in the same way as they had done for the last millennia.

A great many of the original tribes, in Australia and New Zealand as well, lived thousands of miles away from the Americas but nevertheless their ethos was the same, to live in harmony with the land, and those animals and plants with which they shared it.

Hopefully we also are moving more towards that way of thinking.


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yes francine thats true about the rainforests and the australian aborigine people they all respected the land and what it had to offer, its not only the wonderful herbs that will be destroyed its the animal and bird life, and the knock on effect it will pose.new zealand the same.in brazil they are planting soya, but there are more important plants than that, its money again selling the wood etc, as the price of timber booms sky high, i cant believe the price of it now.

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Hi Francine,

Thank You for posting! I am a natural healing person and your article was right up my alley. Thanks!


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Thanks so much for your feedback Tuculia, appreciate it.

Glad to know you are also a �natural healing� person, for many reasons, and wherever possible, it does seems a good road to take doesn't it.


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