The most ancient of all medicines, informed by the traditional healing philosophies and practices of Europe, Western Herbal Medicine is the use of medicinal plants for therapeutic purposes. It is the oldest form of medicine and it has been practised by many cultures for thousands of years.
Western herbal medicine involves using plants and plant material to create medicines to help prevent or treat various illnesses. Herbal medicines are prescribed in the form of liquid extracts, infusions, powders, tablets, capsules or external preparations such as lotions, creams and ointments. These materials may use some or all parts of a plant, such as flowers, roots, fruits, leaves, and bark.
Herbal remedies are suitable for both acute and chronic conditions. They are individually prescribed and dispensed based on the presenting symptoms and the underlying causes. A herbal formula is able to simultaneously treat a variety of symptoms or body systems, and therefore is cost effective for the individual. Herbal preparations are able to balance the whole body unlike pharmaceuticals, which only work on one specific system.
Many pharmaceutical drugs have been derived from plants. Aspirin originates from willow bark and malaria medication is in part made from Asian wormwood.
The focus of a herbalist is on optimal health and wellness rather than concentrating only on the disease. To do this, a herbalist not only treats the symptoms, but aims to address the underlying causes of a condition. Treatment is designed to moderate or alleviate symptoms and strengthen body systems. Its aim is to help prevent disease and support the body in its ability to heal itself by restoring balance and increasing vitality. This then brings about increased energy, improved health and a greater sense of well being.
Herbal remedies are used for many suggested purposes, such as improvement or general support of:
and nervous system processes.
Herbs are also used to assist in removing waste and toxins from bodily cells or topically to promote healing of the skin.
Research is currently being conducted in the use of medicinal herbs for various medical conditions. For instance, garlic has been researched as a potential treatment for high blood pressure. Turmeric has been shown to have wonderful anti -inflammatory properties, very effective in the treatment of arthritic and other chronic inflammatory conditions.