Plants are Man’s first medicines. Throughout history, people all over the world have used herbs to improve health – they have been central to the art of healing. A constant process of searching, testing, and verification in all cultures across the globe resulted in the development of empirical science.
Today, many plants have an established place within scientific medicine and are used for a broad range of health conditions.
Over time, numerous constituents in plants were isolated, their structures explained, and their empirical effects were scientifically proven. Once the chemical structure of the natural substances had been found, this was soon followed by synthetic manufacture within a laboratory, or what we know as pharmaceutical or chemical medicine.
The majority of our pharmaceutical drugs today are derived from active ingredients in plants. For example, Digoxin beta blockers to slow the heart down, originate from the Foxglove plant; Aspirin originates from Willow Tree Bark and Morphine from the Poppyseed.
So, with the advent of chemically synthesized medicines, medicinal plants took a back seat, and not much work was done with them.
Since then, we recognize the downsides to the chemical medicine approach, viz a vis, side effects. Side effects are the result of creating medications to suppress symptoms rather than treat the underlying cause of the dysfunction.
The benefit of using natural medicines is that the medicines do not suppress the symptoms and hence side effects do not occur when the correct herb is prescribed.
Herbs have a synergistic vital effect and treat multiple problems at once, synthesized drugs have one isolated ingredient that performs a specific function; the consequences of that specificity is what we call “side effects”.
Herbs can be used to treat a wide variety of health disorders, both acute and chronic. The spectrum ranges from heart conditions, skin disorders, kidney and bladder problems, rheumatism and other joint disorders, menopausal symptoms, metabolic illnesses, pain, depression, circulatory problems, the common cold and flu, enlarged prostate, gastrointestinal troubles, sleep problems, and stress.
Many plant medicines are contraindicated with certain pharmaceutical medications; therefore, it is best to use them as advised/prescribed by your Naturopath/Homeopath.