Herbal Medicine, sometimes called Botanicals or Phytotherapy is when a plant is used for its therapeutic benefits or properties. A plant does not have to be ingested in order for the properties to be of value, such as with Citronella, where the oils in the leaf are used to repel biting insects. However, what most people think of are herbs that are ingested or taken into the body and these fall under the category of dietary supplements.
It is estimated that 25% of modern drugs in use in the US are plant derivatives. (Veeresham C., 2012). Interestingly if you consider the 120 active compounds that are currently isolated from plants and used in modern medicine, 80% have a positive correlation between their modern therapeutic use and the traditional use (Fabricant DS, Farnsworth NR.).
Evidence exists that plants have been used for medicinal purposes 60,000 years ago. (Petrovska BB., 2012).There is evidence that these practices were spread out over much of the known world. In India the principal method of treating disease was diet. The Greek Pedanius Dioscorides is credited for writing important observations in this field, and while he died in 90 AD, his work was regarded as dominant until the 1600’s. Sumerians wrote lists of plants 5,000 year ago.
While theories vary as to why countries such as India, China, Indonesia use herbs as primary health care, there is agreement that there is medicinal value in herbs. (Tilburt & Kaptchuk, n.d.)
Just as one is advised to carefully select a reputable online vendor for the purchase of items that will never enter your body, one should also recognise the necessity for choosing reputable producers of herbs and foods used for supplementation.
It is important to us that we partner with producers that promote non-GMO, organic, whole food supplementation because like a perfect puzzle piece fits the one next to it, these items are recognized by our bodies and welcomed.
Veeresham C. (2012). Natural products derived from plants as a source of drugs. Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research. 2012;3(4):200-201. doi:10.4103/2231-4040.104709.
(Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6tb6Xf9KU)
Fabricant DS, Farnsworth NR. The value of plants used in traditional medicine for drug discovery. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2001;109(Suppl 1):69-75. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1240543/
(Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6tb6ZkcH6)
Petrovska BB. (2012). Historical review of medicinal plants’ usage. Pharmacognosy Reviews. 2012;6(11):1-5. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.95849. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3358962/
(Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6tb6wQGe4)
Tilburt, J., Kaptchuk, T., (n.d.). Herbal medicine research and global health: an ethical analysis. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/86/8/07-042820/en/
(Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6tb6UDT6g)