The apostle Paul prophesied that the Spirit of Truth would be poured out upon the earth in the latter days. This Spirit has moved science forward at an impressive rate. We regularly witness discoveries in medicine, technology, physics, chemistry, and biology. Discoveries in these and other fields of science bring blessings of truth, hope, healing, comfort, and the ability to accomplish things in a manner unfathomable to previous generations.

Yet in our fast paced, high tech world we must not lose sight of the blessings the Lord has already given us. Take herbs, for example. We’ve all heard and read claims that herbs are great for common ailments, but if you are like me, you are skeptical. It would be nice if there was rigorous testing of medicinal herbs, similar to the rigorous testing of pharmaceuticals. The inability to patent a natural substance makes widespread, rigorous testing of herbs unlikely. Whether we like it or not, rigorous testing of medicinal remedies is made possible by financial returns on patentable medicinal substances.

Do herbs have medicinal properties? Yes. How do I know? I have taken a few herbal remedies but cannot point to any particular instance where they were clearly effective; so I have no personal experience to assert that herbs effectively treat ailments. I’ve also perused books on herbal remedies, but the research the authors cite on herbal medicinal properties are scant and lack rigorous clinical control; so there isn’t even an impressive body of research to support the claim that herbs are clearly effective. Well then, how can we be sure that herbs work? Because the Lord said they work.

Consider the following scriptural verses.

1. Yea, and the herb, and the good things which come of the earth, whether for food or for raiment . . . are made for the benefit and the use of man . . . to strengthen the body (Doctrine and Covenants 59:18-20).

2. And whosoever among you are sick, and have not faith to be healed, but believe, shall be nourished with all tenderness, with herbs and mild food (D&C 42:43).

3. And there were some who died with fevers, which at some seasons of the year were very frequent in the land—but not so much so with fevers, because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases, to which men were subject by the nature of the climate (Alma 46:40).

4. And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man (D&C 89:10). (Note that constitution, as the word is used here, refers to bodily strength and stamina.)

Modern medicine is great, but sometimes I wonder if we are missing out on another area of healing by not researching herbs as rigorously as we research modern therapies. It would be great if companies would aggressively research the efficacy, side effects, and proper dosing of herbs. Because natural remedies are not patentable, there is no financial incentive to conduct such research. Thus we are left in the dark on how and why herbs work.

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