Long before modern medicine began compounding chemicals to take the place of hard to find herbs and other botanicals, herbal medicine was the only available type of medical treatment. Through centuries of trial and error herbs were used to treat a plethora of illnesses and injuries and throughout the period, different plants were found to be better on certain ailments than others. For example, the aloe vera plant was found beneficial for burns and punctures all the while aiding the natural healing process.
Many of today’s medical breakthroughs are the result of the study of herbal medicine and when some of the ingredients were proven to be too hard to come by, scientists began working in the laboratory to develop synthetic versions of the plant’s phytocemicals hoping to duplicate the results. Many of today’s medicines are successful in offering hope to the ill or injured, but many synthetic compounds also have side effects not usually seen in those used in herbal medicine.
Partly due to the presence of side effects and possibly due to a distrust of modern medicine, herbalists continue to practice herbal medicine with the admonishment that by curing illnesses with products made with natural ingredients offers a safer means of taking care of their patients.
Ancient Civilizations Counted On Herbal Medicine
Throughout history, ancient civilizations in Egypt, India and China used herbal medicine for all illnesses as well as for taking care of their injured warriors. Over the years they perfected their practices but unfortunately, most of the botanicals that were compounded were not written down and subsequent generations had to rely on the memories of their elders to carry on the practice of herbal medicine in those cultures.
Some of the more modern methods used in herbal medicine can be traced back to the Chinese who continue to use many of their ancient methods today. By adopting many of their medical practices, herbalists are using only natural ingredients in their medications as well as in many of their practices. Techniques such as acupuncture and massages using the essential oils of plant have their roots in herbal medicine and for many there is no reason to adapt to the newer medical technology.
Most practitioners of today’s modern, or more traditional medical practices shun the use of herbal medicine in favor of those that have been proven in laboratory tests. On the other hand, herbalists remain convinced that the proof that their techniques work is in the number of patients they have been able to help without side effects.