Helps with digestive issues including constipation
Helps with skin conditions and wound healing
Helps with stress, anxiety and depression
Helps with fevers
Helps with inflammatory conditions
Helps with sleep issues and insomnia
Helps with circulation
Helps with headaches
Helps with hormonal health
Helps to support the immune system
Enhances overall health and wellbeing
Plant use for healing purposes predates historical records and is the origin of the majority of modern medicine. ‘Herbs’ are plants used for their scent or flavour, and for their numerous therapeutic properties.
Herbal Medicine is the study and clinical practice of the medicinal and therapeutic uses of plants to relieve symptoms, help treat disease and enhance general health and wellbeing. It is a type of nutritional therapy which aims to return the body to a state of natural balance so that it can heal itself.
Medical Herbalist practitioners take great care intaking extensive case histories and may look at visible facial signs of any imbalances within the body. While patients describe their medical history, current symptoms and emotional state, practitioners pay particular attention to the all-important everyday bodily processes such as sleep, appetite, digestion, hydration, and bowel movement. They then prepare specific, individualised treatment according to the client’s needs. The remedies can be a combination of herbs, plants and roots, and usually taken as teas or infusions, tablets, powders, extracts, and sometimes syrup, ointments and compresses may also be used.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 80% of the population of some Asian and African countries currently use herbal medicine for some aspect of their primary health care and recognises the importance of herbal medicine in today’s society across the world.
As with conventional medicine, great care and caution needs to be paid to compatibility of various chemical compounds in herbal preparations and their reactivity to individual physiology, so working with a qualified professional is recommended.
Archaeological evidence shows that the use of medicinal plants dates back to the Paleolithic age, approximately 60,000 years ago. Written evidence of herbal remedies goes back to the Sumerians, who compiled lists of plants approximately 5,000 years ago, and some ancient cultures wrote about plants and their medical uses in books called ‘Herbals’.
In ancient Egypt, herbs are mentioned in ‘Egyptian medical papyri’ dating back to 1550BC, covering more than 700 compounds, and the use of herbal medicine was depicted in tomb hieroglyphics. Recent archaeologists’ findings revealed medical jars containing trace elements of herbs.
The earliest known ‘Herbals’ from ancient Greece came from Theophrastus of Eresos who wrote the 'Historia Plantarum' in the 4th century BC. There are many other works from Ancient Greece, with only a few fragments surviving, however, from what remains, scholars noted an overlap with the Egyptian ‘Herbals’
Seeds, likely used for herbalism, were found in archaeological sites in China, dating to the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), and over a hundred of the 224 compounds mentioned in the 'Huangdi Neijing', an early Chinese medical text, are herbs. Herbs were also commonly used in the traditional medicine of ancient India, where the principal treatment for diseases was diet.
A century ago, most of the few effective drugs were plant-based. Examples include aspirin (from willow bark), digoxin (from foxglove), quinine (from cinchona bark), and morphine (from the opium poppy). The development of drugs from plants continues, with drug companies engaged in large-scale pharmacologic screening of herbs.