What Is Herbal Medicine?
Herbal medicine, also called plant medicine, phytomedicine, herbalism, or botanical medicine, is the art and science of using plants for medicinal purposes. With a 5000-year history of being used by people around the world, the practice of using plants as medicine is a long-standing tradition across the globe. Herbalism has a rich oral and written history that has been passed down from generation to generation.
Flash forward to the present day, and the field of herbalism continues to grow and change to meet the needs of the modern person. In addition to volumes of anecdotal evidence, herbal medicine is now studied at the clinical level as well. Due to the advancements in modern science, we can now pick a plant apart, and isolate the exact phytochemicals within that plant that lead to its healing properties, and look at how those properties affect a person’s physiology and health.
Though the scope with which we view herbal medicine has changed significantly over the centuries, the foundations of herbal medicine have remained quite the same. From the family caregiver, to the community doctor, to the indigenous healers that came before us, the roots of medicine in the United States, and the rest of the world can all be based on very similar principles – using the plants and foods around you to heal that which ails you.