What is Herbal Medicine?
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 returning to the mainstream as advances in clinical research show the value of herbal medicine in treating and preventing disease. Modern day conventional medicine has at least some of its root grounded in herbalism.
Where to start?
There are many ways to get started with herbal remedies. Many towns and cities have a Herbal Association operating. Attending a meeting or joining an associating is a great way to learn some of the old knowledge that may have been passed down through family lines. Many of the members are avid herbal gardeners using herbs as tea medicine, cooking flavours, craft, and even just for the love of growing plants. Many towns have herbal apothecaries where knowledgeable wise women mix remedies for clientele and sometimes offering short courses and classes in using herbs in their area of speciality.
We offer a making skincare with herbs & essential oils in our store. During the herb module of our class, we talk about the various plants, parts of plants, safety and how to make various simple remedies such as teas, oil infusions and ointments.
There are also many wonderful books on the subject of herbs, soak up the info from reputable authors, one of my favourites (although out of print now), is Mrs Grieves, A Modern Herbal. Another great beginners book which we stock is The Complete Illustrated Guide to Herbs, by Non Shaw
Plant Essentials will soon be producing an online version of our class, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for the launch date.
Lastly, remember that not all things that are natural are safe. If you are trying a new herb, be sure to gather knowledge about its safe use beforehand. Herbs such as arnica, for example, should never be used internally, and never come in contact with blood. There are many other cautions, including pharmaceutical contra-indications to consider.
- Anya Pearson