History of Herbal Medicine or Phytomedicine
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History of Herbal Medicine or Phytomedicine

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I have an ear ache

2000 B.C. ~ Here, eat this root.

1000 B.C. ~ That root is heathen, say this prayer.

1850 A.D. ~ That prayer is superstition, drink this potion.

1940 A.D. ~ That potion is snake oil, swallow this pill.

1960 A.D. ~ That pill is ineffective, take this antibiotic.

2000 A.D. ~ That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root.

2060 A.D. ~ Only drug addicts and bums use prescription meds.

The Progression of Medical Thinking

About Alternative Methods of Healing

1960 ~ Quackery

1970 ~ Fringe

1990 ~ Alternative

1997 ~ Complementary

2001 ~ Integrative

Today ~ Most doctors start suggesting natural means of cure.

2020 ~ Mainstream

2040 ~ Herbs available in injections

2060 ~ Illegal to use medical prescription drugs with side effects (about 90% of 2011 prescription meds)

Herbal Medicine

Overview:

What is herbal medicine?

Herbal medicine – also called botanical medicine or phytomedicine – refers to using a plant’s seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark, or flowers for medicinal purposes. Herbalism has a long tradition of use outside of conventional medicine. It is becoming more mainstream as improvements in analysis and quality control along with advances in clinical research show the value of herbal medicine in the treatment and preventing disease.

What is the history of herbal medicine?

Plants had been used for medicinal purposes long before recorded history. Ancient Chinese and Egyptian papyrus writings describe medicinal uses for plants. Indigenous cultures (such as African and Native American) used herbs in their healing rituals, while others developed traditional medical systems (such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine) in which herbal therapies were used. Researchers found that people in different parts of the world tended to use the same or similar plants for the same purposes.

In the early 19th century, when chemical analysis first became available, scientists began to extract and modify the active ingredients from plants. Later, chemists began making their own version of plant compounds, and over time, the use of herbal medicines declined in favor of drugs.

Recently, the World Health Organization estimated that 80% of people worldwide rely on herbal medicines for some part of their primary health care. In Germany, about 600-700 plant-based medicines are available and prescribed by some 70% of German physicians. In the last 20 years in the United States, public dissatisfaction with the cost of prescription medications, combined with an interest in returning to natural or organic remedies, has led to an increase in herbal medicine use.

What is herbal medicine good for?

Herbal medicine is used to treat many conditions, such as asthma, eczema, premenstrual syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, menopausal symptoms, chronic fatigue, and irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia and other degenerative diseases, among others. Herbal supplements are best taken under the guidance of a trained health care provider. Be sure to consult with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any herbs.

Who is using herbal medicine?

Nearly one-third of Americans use herbs. Unfortunately, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that nearly 70% of people taking herbal medicines (most of whom were well educated and had higher-than-average income) were reluctant to tell their doctors that they used complementary and alternative medicine. Many herbs can interact with prescription medications and cause unwanted or dangerous reactions. Be sure to consult your doctor before trying any herbal products.

How is herbal medicine sold in stores?

The herbs available in most stores come in several different forms: teas, syrups, oils, liquid extracts, tinctures, and dry extracts (pills or capsules). Teas can be made from dried herbs left to soak for a few minutes in hot water, or by boiling herbs in water and then straining the liquid. Syrups, made from concentrated extracts and added to sweet-tasting preparations, are often used for sore throats and coughs. Oils are extracted from plants and often used as rubs for massage, either by themselves or as a part of an ointment or cream. Tinctures and liquid extracts are made of active herbal ingredients dissolved in a liquid (usually water, alcohol, or glycerol). Tinctures are typically a 1:5 or 1:10 concentration, meaning that one part of the herb is prepared with five to ten parts (by weight) of the liquid. Liquid extracts are more concentrated that tinctures and are typically a 1:1 concentration. An extract form is the most concentrated form of an herbal product (typically 2:1 – 8:1) and is sold as a tablet, capsule, or lozenge.
Currently, no organization or agency regulates the manufacture or certifies the labeling of herbal preparations. This means you can’t be sure that the amount of the herb contained in the bottle or even from dose to dose, is the same as what is stated on the label. Some herbal preparations are standardized, meaning that the preparation is guaranteed to contain a specific amount of the active ingredients of the herb. However, it is still important to ask companies making standardized herbal products about their product’s guarantee. It is important to talk to your doctor or an expert in herbal medicine about the recommended doses of any herbal products.

Are there experts in herbal medicine?

Herbalists, chiropractors, naturopathic physicians, pharmacists, medical doctors, and practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine all may use herbs to treat illness. Naturopathic physicians believe that the body is continually striving for balance and that natural therapies can support this process. They are trained in 4-year, postgraduate institutions that combine courses in conventional medical science (such as homeopathy, nutrition, and lifestyle counseling.

How can I find a qualified herbalist in my area?

For additional information, or to locate an experienced herbalist in your area, contact the American Herbalists Guild (AHG)

Dr. Aleksander Strande - About the Author:

Dr. Strande is a Naturopath and a Microbiologist. Part of his services are phone consultations to patients all over the world. If you have tried everything and you are still not well call the clinic at +1713) 660-1420, and check us out at www.simplyhealingclinic.com

 

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