Herbal medicine uses plants, or mixtures of plant extracts, to treat illness and promote health. It aims to restore your body’s ability to protect, regulate and heal itself. It is a whole body approach, so looks at your physical, mental and emotional well-being. It is sometimes called phytomedicine, phytotherapy or botanical medicine.
Many modern drugs are made from plants. But herbalists don’t extract plant substances in the way the drug industry does. Herbalists believe that the remedy works due to the delicate chemical balance of the whole plant, or mixtures of plants, not one particular active ingredient.
The two most common types of herbal medicine used are Western Herbal Medicine and Chinese Herbal Medicine; some herbalists practice less common types of Herbal Medicine such as Tibetan or Ayurvedic Medicine (Indian).
Western Herbal Medicine
Western Herbal Medicine, also known as Herbalism or Botanical Medicine, is a medical system based on the use of plants or plant extracts that may either be applied to the skin or eaten, and focuses on the whole person rather than their illness.
Western Herbalism dates back to ancient Egypt, where records of garlic and juniper used for medicinal purposes were found from as early as 1700 B.C. By 100 B.C., the Greeks had developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine that related different herbs to different temperaments, seasons and elements such as earth, air, fire and water. The Romans took the Greek theories of medicine and added to them, creating a wealth of medical practices, some of which are still used today.
Herbalists use remedies made from whole plants, or plant parts, to help your body heal itself or reduce the side effects of medical treatments. Read the rest of this entry