Herbal medicine is often regarded as medicine from the dark ages before modern medicine. Old wives tales and witches brews are also common references to using herbal medicine.
People are quick to judge herbal medicine as a least effective alternative medicine that can not compete with modern medicine. 25% of prescription drugs are derived from plants. An example of a modern prescription drug is morphine. Morphine is an very effective pain reliever for major trauma that is derived from Opium poppy.
The effectiveness of herbs has not been tested as much as prescription drugs for one main factor - money.
Plants can NOT be patented. The modern medical industry is NOT going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on studying a plant that the industry is not going to make a return on their investments.
Most of the research and resources available on herbs are from records from Chinese and Indian herbal medicines. Chinese medicine dates back to over 5,000 years ago. Indian research has been compiled from their modern research studying the effectiveness of herbal medicine. All of this research and history is an integral part of the modern healthcare system.
European and Asian influences are a crucial factor in western cultures, like the U.S., are using herbal medicine more often in the 21st century. Herbs are also less expensive than modern medicines and can be more effective too!
China is the leading supplier of herbs in the world markets.
In the U.S., herbal medicine is classified as a Dietary Supplement. You can find herbal supplements/medicine in most grocery stores and supermarkets. The FDA is NOT a regulatory authority over Dietary Supplements. This the reason for an FDA disclosure on all dietary supplements and herbal medicines.
Sometimes the line between food and herbs are skewed because herbs are both!
Example: Lemon, onions, garlic to name a few.
A good diet is an essential starting point in sustaining or improving your overall health.
Where do you begin on buying and using herbal medicine?
Tips to ensure you are buying good quality herbs:
Knowledgeable, reputable herb stores/farms
Herbs should be aromatic with a distinct scent and taste
Should be bright in color to ensure fresheness
The best quality control of herbal medicine is make sure you are buying good quality herbs.
Would you try herbal medicine instead of using modern pharmaceutical drugs?
I also like to reference books and other sources to get adequate information on herbal medicine. I love to use "Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine" - Andrew Chevallier
and "Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs" - Steven Foster & James A. Duke
Affiliate links for each resource available above.