Herbalism or Herbal medicine is arguably the world’s oldest form of healing. Plants and plant allies offer an abundance of antioxidants, phytochemicals, and micronutrients that can be used as powerful medicines. Today herbalism is considered ‘alternative medicine,’ however, for thousands of years, it was the only medicine humans had access to. In China, herbal medicine has been practiced for over 5,000 years. In fact, there is archeologic evidence that humans were using plant medicines as far back as 60,000 years ago!
While we modern humans may not often relate to plants as a source of medicine, a great many of our first pharmaceuticals were based on plant extracts and compounds. In fact, at least 7,000 medical compounds are currently included in the medical pharmacopeia. Some of our most common household medicines like aspirin were originally derived from plants.
Many European and Asian countries have maintained a long history of herbalism and in the United States, there is a growing interest and resurgence in herbal medicine. Currently, the number of herbs and herbal medicines being researched for disease prevention and treatment is growing exponentially. As of 2010 156 individual plant species have been studied for medicinal effects.
The study and effective practice of herbal medicines are performed by herbalists, Chinese medicine practitioners, Ayurvedic practitioners, and Naturopathic Doctors. These professions have long recognized the power and healing potential of herbal medicines and are best qualified to prescribe them.
If you are interested in learning more about herbal medicines and herbalism, check out the links below:
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