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Herbalism; Alternative to Modern Medicine?

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Dylan Sedmak

on 5 May 2010

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Transcript of Herbalism; Alternative to Modern Medicine?

A Brief History of Herbs What Started it All? Humans have used plants as medicine since prehistoric times, and are thought to have started to experiment with them when they observed animals eating specific herbs while ill.

50 A.D.- The Roman Empire start to use herbs on a massive scale, cultivating them as well.
2800 B.C.- First written record of herbal medicine, "Shennong Bencao Jing". 200 A.D.- Herbal practitioner Galen prepares first classification system that paired common illnesses with their herbal remedies.

1100 A.D.- Arab Physician Avicenna writes the Canon of Medicine, which lists various medicinal herbs.

1600 A.D.- The English Physician, an herbal explaining the practice of herbal medicine, was written during this time.
1800 A.D.- Side effects of herbs were documented. The National Association of Medical Herbalists was formed, and later renamed the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH.) 1900 A.D.- Lack of availability of drugs during World War I increases the use of herbal medicines again. The British Herbal Medicine Association is founded and produces the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.

2000 A.D.- European Union starts regulation and testing of herbal medicines similar to those used for pharmaceuticals.
The use of herbal medicine still continues today in the United States as well as other countries. Herbal remedies are often commercially sold as capsules, tinctures, ointments, tablets, powders, fresh or dried forms, etc. Most herbal medications that are used are supplements, which are taken over an extended period of time to improve the body’s health. These supplements have different effects on the body. For example, alfalfa promotes weight gain and stimulates appetite, and garlic capsules benefit the heart by helping to manage cholesterol levels. Herbal medicines can lead to negative side effects if taken while one is on certain medications. An herbal practitioner or doctor of alternative medicine should always be consulted before using herbal medications. People may use herbal medicines to support the body for digestive issues, fertility issues, muscle pain, phobias, mood disorders, and sleep disorders. Others may just want to improve their overall wellness, taking herbal supplements to improve body and mind. Someone may feel that they are taking too many drugs and wish to use a more holistic approach. Herbal medicines should never be used to treat a major ailment, but rather be used to support it. For example, herbal medicine shouldn’t be used to treat cancer, but it can effectively be used to help with the side effects associated with chemotherapy. As supplements, herbs cannot be effectively used until one first changes their lifestyle; i.e. diet, sleep, exercise, and just their daily routine. Herbal supplements can be just as effective as the specific chemicals that are purified from them, through the synergy of all the chemicals within the plant itself. Since the majority of modern drugs are just the extracted and purified chemicals from plants, herbal medicines can be just as dangerous as these more potent forms. Herbal medicines support the body, but one must adjust their lifestyle to a healthier one for it to be effective. The person must be eating healthy, exercising regularly, and receiving enough sleep. Herbal Medicine- A Substitute for Modern Medicine?
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