A herb is a plant that lacks a woody stem; these plants contain chemical substances that act on the body in particular ways. Herbal medicine is one of the most ancient forms of healing.
For many centuries, plants and herbs have been used for healing and medicine. The Greeks and the ancient Egyptians had herbal systems of medicine, as did the Celts. In Renaissance times, the term ‘herbs’ included all green things, nonetheless, this was a period when there was a great deal of interest in ‘essential home remedies’ and herbal compounds were a common form of medication. Down the ages, witches, wise-women, grandmothers, herbalists and even monks have helped advance knowledge in this area and nowadays, many people continue to prefer relying on the old methods of treatment.
One problem with modern medicines is that although they help remove symptoms, they often have strong side-effects. OPTINGHEALTH.COM suggests that Herbs may be less powerful in their effect, but they tend to be safer. Nevertheless, even herbal ministrations do hold a degree of risks and it is not something anyone should go into without proper advice or investigation.
Herbalists nowadays tend to be individualistic in their treatment. They treat the ‘person’ and not the disease whereas modern medicine tends (although not always) to see our minds and bodies as separate. Many modern practitioners are unable to devote a lot of time to getting to know their patients whereas a visit to the herbalist will be relaxed and leisurely. The reason for this is that they’ve found that often one illness will express itself in different ways in different people. Even headaches can be violent and nauseous such as migraines, sharp behind the eyes or a throbbing feeling of pressure. Herbalists prefer to look at the various symptoms of a disease and choose a remedy accordingly. That’s why they may not always prescribe the same remedy for the same illness.
Herbs can be prepared in many different ways in readiness for medicinal use. Sometimes they are added to boiling water to make herbal teas. Sometimes prescriptions will come in the form of herb bags, herbal baths, oils, ointments, powders, syrups and herbal wines.
There are around 350,000 known species of plants and 10,000 of these have been investigated for medicinal purposes. Herbalists tend to use around 200 of them. Some modern drugs are derived from herbs for instance meadowsweet and black willow are found in aspirin while morphine comes from the opium poppy.