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What is Herbal Medicine?

History of Medicine

  Herbs have always been integral to the practice of medicine. The word drug comes from the old Dutch word drogge meaning “to dry,” as medicines. Today 25% of all prescription drugs are derived from trees, shrubs, or herbs. Others made from plant extracts.  74% of plant derived pharmaceutical medicines are used in modern medicine ways that correlate with their traditional uses as plant medicines by native cultures.   

Economics of Medicine

 Modern medicine has veered from the use of pure herbs in its treatment of disease and other health disorders. Economics are  the only reason for this. Herbs-  by their very nature-  cannot be patented. Drug companies are not interested in investing  any money in  an  Herb's  testing or promotion. Many of these plants grow only in the Amazonian rain forest or other politically and economically unstable places,- factors which also affect the supply of the herb. The demand for herbal medicine has decreased in the United States because Americans have been conditioned to rely on synthetic, commercial drugs to provide quick relief, regardless of side effects. The current viewpoint seems to be changing. “The revival of interest in herbal medicine is a worldwide phenomenon.” Says Mark Blumenthal , Executive Director of the American Botanical Council.

   There is a growing concern by the general public about the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs, the impersonal and often demeaning experience of modern health care practices, and increased desire for additional knowledge about the  value and properties of herbal medicine.  

What is an Herb?

  The word herb as used in herbal medicine means a plant or plant part that is used to make medicine. An herb can be a leaf, a flower, a stem, a seed, a root, a fruit, bark, or any other plant part used for its medicinal, food flavoring, or fragrant property.  Herbs have provided humankind with medicine from the earliest beginnings of civilization. Throughout history, various cultures have handed down their full knowledge of the medicinal use of herbs to successive generations. The body of information passed down serves as the basis for traditional medicine today.