Herbology is a traditional medicinal practice based on the use of plants and plant extracts and may also be described as medical herbalism or herbal medicine. Herbology can include bee and fungal products, plants, minerals or even animal parts, etc.
Plants are able to synthesize many chemical compounds. These compounds can affect the human body in many ways. The plant-based compounds mimic processes similar to those already well-documented in conventional drugs. The use of herbs to treat the human body can be beneficial but also harmful, just like traditional medications.
- The use of herbs in modern times is a common practice.
- Many of the medications used today have a long history of usage as herbal treatments, including products like aspirin, opium, digitalis and even quinine.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) states that about 80 percent of some Asian and African countries currently include herbal treatments as part of the main source of health care.
- Herbal preparations come in many different styles from liquids to dried herbs or pills or capsule form, but they are not limited to these alone.
- The content of herbal preparations varies due to the type of plant.
- The plant compounds vary, so the effect, associated benefits and side effects will also vary.
- There are many types of compounds than can be toxic as well, such as poison hemlock and nightshade.
- The use of herbs may be done safely in conjunction with a physician to maximize effectiveness and minimize harmful side effects.
History of Herbal Remedies
- There is archaeological evidence that suggests human beings have been using plants as medicine dating back to the Paleolithic Era, about 60,000 years ago.
- Written documentation can be found dated back more than 5,000 years ago to the Sumerians.
- The ancient Egyptians are responsible for the Ebers Papyrus, which holds information regarding nearly 850 plant medicines, including garlic, juniper, cannabis, castor bean, aloe and mandrake.
- Certain spices, such as turmeric, have also been used and noted as early as 1900 BC.
- Many cultures have a history of using herbs to treat the human body, including the Chinese and the Greeks.
Different Approaches to Herbology
- There are four different approaches when looking at ways to utilize plant compounds as medicine.
- The first is the magical or shamanic approach, which endows the user with special gifts or powers.
- The second is the energetic approach, which includes Chinese medicine where herbs affect the body’s energies.
- The third is known as the functional dynamic approach, where herbs have a functional action that may or may not be related to the actual physical compound.
- The last is the chemical approach, which includes the modern-day attempt to link herbs with their chemical components.
There are herbal remedies for hundreds of things. Some of the most common are as follows:
- Peppermint oil or eucalyptus oil relax the mind and the muscles and are perfect for headaches.
- Aloe can be used as a burn remedy or for healing dry, cracked skin.
- American Ginsing can lower blood pressure, ease depression and aid in helping those with weakness or exhaustion.
- Basil can help aid in easing constipation.
- Cinnamon is good for digestive disorders.
- Garlic can help boost your natural ability to fight off infections.
- Juniper makes a lovely tea for arthritis pain and muscular rheumatism.
- Licorice can help ease coughing problems.
- Vanilla is not only an aphrodisiac, but it can help sooth nerves.
- Wintergreen is a wonderful remedy for sciatica and lumbago.
- Yams can help the body create certain types of hormones, and they are also good for easing rheumatism and whooping cough.
Herbal remedies have been used for thousands of years and are often an inexpensive and safe alternative to pharmaceuticals. Plants and herbal compounds are very powerful forms of medicine, so one should always check with their doctor when taking herbal remedies, as some can interact with conventional medicines.