Herbal medicine, also known as phytotherapy, is the use of plant remedies to prevent and treat ill health. Herbal medicine is the oldest and most universal system of medicine known, currently relied on by around 85% of the world’s population.
Modern western herbal medicine is based on a combination of traditional knowledge, clinical experience, an understanding of medical sciences and the scientific evidence base for herbal medicine.
Herbal medicines are not used in the same way as modern drugs. Whilst many pharmaceutical drugs originated from plants, it is their active constituent which has been isolated, synthesised and then used to suppress symptoms or ‘attack’ a disease.
Herbal medicines consist of extracts of part(s) of the whole plant (roots, leaves, flowers, bark, berries) and are prescribed to assist the body in healing itself.
A herbalist aims to seek and treat the underlying cause of ill health, with the treatment focusing on the individual patient and not the condition.