Herbal medicine is the use of plants or herbs to treat disease. It is probably the oldest form of medicine there ever was. It has originated in ancient cultures and helped keep our ancestors alive and well. It is the true traditional medicine, tried and tested by hundreds of generations.
Anxiety, arthritis, depression, high blood pressures, insomnia, hormonal imbalances, migraines and skin problems are only some of the conditions herbal medicine heals.
In modern years, interest in herbal medicine have soared, leading to a larger scientific interest in the medical use of plants. Many international studies have confirmed what herbalists have known for thousands of years – plants are able to treat disease and improve health, often without noteworthy side effects.
While herbs are generally safer medicines than pharmaceutical drugs, there are several reasons why self-treatment is not a good idea. Firstly, the quality of professionally prepared medicinal herbal extracts can be worlds apart from the quality of retail products found in shops which are often inferior quality and sometimes adulterated with cheaper species of the plant or cheaper plant parts. Where plants are harvested and how they are prepared plays an important part in their efficacy as well.
Herbs have potent ingredients and should be treated with the same caution, respect and attention as pharmaceutical drugs. In fact, many pharmaceutical drugs are based on a synthesized version of natural compounds found in plants. As such, they can (and do) interact with medications and can cause unwanted side effects. Overall, it’s important to consult a trained naturopath or herbalist before taking herbal medicines, both for safety and efficacy reasons.