Herbal medicine (i.e.botanical medicine/phytomedicine) entails the use of various parts ofherbs for the purpose of treating ailments and illness, or as it isperhaps more familiar to some – for medicinal purposes. One extremely importantfact is that herbal medicine, i.e. herbalism, has quite a lengthy tradition ofits own, and outside the boundaries of more modern conventional medicine, whichmany tend to disregard and forget all too often. And as the number of clinicaltrials and more in depth research studies increases in number, so does thesignificance of herbal medicine, as well in curing and preventing variousailments, starting from those mild ones all the way to those quite severe.
“Life on its own” andthe background
The use ofplants has been familiar to our earliest ancestors, which is to say even longerthan the history records can account for. For example, ancient Chinese andEgyptian writings give a detailed account of the use of herbs for healingpurposes in their time. Numerous indigenous cultures – Native American andAfrican for e.g., made the herbs a quite significant part of their sacredrituals. Others have based entire traditional medical systems in herbs –Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese medicine are certainly at the forefront inthis regard. But the progress in chemical analysis, which marked the beginningof the 19th century, accompanied by scientific experiments on plantsand modification of their active ingredients, also marked a decline in the useof herbal medicines, which soon gave place to drugs.
In modern times, according to the claims of WHO (World Health Organization), as manyas 80% of our society seek aid from herbal medicine for a significant part of their primary health care. If we takeGermany for example, people can choose from 600-700 varieties of herbalmedicines and furthermore, it has been confirmed that as many as 70% of Germanphysicians give them the advantage when it comes to prescribing medicines. Also,on the US soil there has been a significant rise in the last twenty years in the number of people who decide to turn tonatural remedies, due to overall dissatisfaction and dissatisfaction with theprices of conventional medications, i.e. prescription drugs.
Whole herbs are knownto be comprised of a lot of active ingredients that can work together andproduce those sought after and health beneficial effects. In quite a number of cases not even scientistcan provide a well balanced and detailed account of the specific effects that certain herbs produce, since many factors do influence and determine theoverall effect of the herb in question. When it comes to the use, herbs canbe employed either separately, or in a form of a mixture, since in many casesthis combination is even more health beneficial and effective.