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Herbal remedies, natural medicine growing more popular

May 2nd, 2012 Posted in Arts and Life

‘Natural medicine works on the problem and not the symptom.’ – Sharon Miller, herbalist and massage therapist

Story and photos by Tmera Bradley

LOGAN — When James Israelsen was 2 years old, he complained about his ankles hurting when he’d try to walk. “We’d been to many doctors,” said his mother, Jill Israelsen of Young Ward.

After finding no solution, Israelsen took her son to Sharon Miller, a massage therapist and master herbalist from Nibley. Israelsen said Miller adjusted her son’s ankles and the pain began to go away. Now age 13, James’s feet and ankles are still pain-free.

Jill Israelsen has been going to Miller for more than 13 years. When her daughter Shara had TMJ, they went from doctor to doctor to find a remedy. “Nobody seemed to be able to help her,” Israelsen said. Finally, they went to Miller for a solution. Israelsen said Miller “stuck her finger in [Shara’s] mouth” and aligned her jaw correctly. Israelsen kept going back for treatments every week, then every two weeks, until they were no longer needed.

Miller, 62, has been practicing natural medicine for 44 years. She works 12-hour days out of her home in Nibley. “Natural medicine works on the problem and not the symptom,” Miller said. From her training, she is able to create herbal tinctures from her own recipes.

“All of the herbs have been used for generations,” Miller said. She said American Indians used dried herbs for healing. “I prefer to use liquid. It absorbs into the body quicker.”

Miller said last week a lady in her mid 80s came to her with a pain in her leg she’d been experiencing for 20 years. Miller discovered that one of the patient’s legs was shorter than the other, and gave her a lift for her shoe. After that, the patient came to Miller saying the pain was gone. “That’s pretty remarkable for someone dealing with pain for that long,” Miller said.

Studies show that an increasing number of people are turning to natural remedies and supplements for healing. In a National Health Interview Survey conducted in 2000, the percentage of people using daily vitamin and mineral supplements was more than 40 percent higher compared to 1987. In a 2002 NHIS with more than 31,000 participants, 75 percent of adults reported having used complimentary and alternative medicine, or CAM. The alternatives included nutritional and herbal supplements, deep-breathing exercises, meditation, chiropractic, yoga, massage and therapeutic diets.

“I think you should try natural first,” said Sherice Anderson, 26, of Pasadena, Calif. “Often your sickness isn’t as bad as you think and can be remedied naturally.” Anderson said she uses garlic for ear infection and sinus relief, and echinacea and vitamin C for cold prevention. “And drinking a lot,” Anderson said. “That’s about as natural as you can get.”

Dietary supplements can be purchased from a variety of suppliers, including health food and drug stores, organic retailers and many grocery stores.

For seven years, Chang and Hye Lee have owned Shangri-La Health Foods located at 438 N. Main St. in Logan. Their daughter, Tappy Lee, said it’s mainly a nutritional supplement store and employees don’t have formal educations in medicine. “When you work here you learn a lot,” Lee said.

The store carries herbal supplements, vitamins, creams, soaps, and a variety of other products. Tasha Salisbury, an employee at Shangri-La, said they have local suppliers for some of the products. She said that right now they carry local honey, essential oils from Brigham City, and fresh eggs from Cove. “We get seasonal products,” Salisbury said.

“There are a lot of regulars,” Lee said, referring to loyal customers. “A lot of customers come in if they’re sick, looking for a specific remedy.”

Lee said she believes there are benefits that come from choosing natural supplements. “There will be less toxins in your body,” Lee said. “It teaches your body to heal itself.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, herbal supplement manufacturers are not required to seek Food and Drug Administration approval before putting their products on the market. However, they are required to abide by certain regulations for label information. The label must display the name of the herbal supplement, serving size and the active ingredient, followed by a complete list of ingredients. It must also provide the name and address of the manufacturer or distributor.

But all dietary supplements are not safe for everyone. The Mayo Clinic recommends consulting a medical professional or pharmacist about label meanings.

Although Jill Israelsen still visits traditional doctors, she said everything has its place. Last year her son James visited the doctor for a cut on his leg. “They thought it was a just a laceration,” Israelsen said. “They just thought he was being a baby.”

But when they visited Miller, she found James had cut the quadriceps tendon in his leg. “She said, ‘You need to go back to the doctor,’” Israelsen said. “I appreciated her recommending that.”

Israelsen said she has a large family so visits to Miller occur often. “I refer her to everyone,” she said. “I believe in Sharon, I think she has the gift of healing.”


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  1. 4 Responses to “Herbal remedies, natural medicine growing more popular”

  2. By Lilah on May 8, 2012

    I’ve been to this shop and it is awesome. I couldn’t agree more about herbal remedies. My grandma has been using them for years and taught me about them at a young age. They have been a great help to me in my life.

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