Other terms used for herbalism are botanical medicine, herbal medicine, herbology, phytotherapy, and medical herbalism. The study of herbalism is extended to include minerals, shells, and certain animal parts including fungal and bee products. The focus on herbalism is that any plant substances are useful to maintain health of humans or other animals. Herbs and spices contain many medicinal compounds.
In today’s society, herbal treatments are becoming more popular. Some herbs can cause adverse effects. Herbalists are trained to take all risks into consideration. People all over the world have used plants as an alternative medicine. The use of herbs and spices in food was developed as a response to food borne pathogens. Some spices contain potent antimicrobial properties.
The study of herbs dates back to over 5000 years ago. In the study of Ancient Egyptian medicine many herbs were used and they are garlic, opium, castor oil, coriander, mint, indigo, mandrake, caraway, wheat, barley, and rye. In Indian medicine herbs such as tumeric were used. Herb gardens were known to provide for treatment of common disorders.
Today herbs are used in treating disease all over the world. It is estimated that 80% of the world’s population uses herbal medicine for health care. Herbal medicine can be grown or gathered from nature. Today in the United States it is known that 25% of modern drugs are derived from plants. When selecting a herbal treatment the herbalist uses forms of information that is not available to a pharmacist.
In Europe herbal remedies are very common. Many herbalist, this includes professional and amateur, grow their own herbs. As with taking any herb for medicinal use please consult a herbalist or a doctor before beginning treatment.