The use of plants for healing is by far the world’s oldest and most widely known therapy. Since the beginning of time, the knowledge of herbal remedies has been handed down from generation to generation. With the growth of synthetic drug manufacturing, however, the direct use of medicinal plants for a time, became a thing of the past. It is only recently that there has been an increase in interest in herbalism as a method of medicine that is safe, natural, and cheap.

The purpose of herbal remedies is to stimulate the body’s own natural healing abilities by cleansing and re-balancing. Like the synthetic drugs, many herbs contain antibacterial and antiviral properties. The advantage of herbal remedies is their ability to rapidly return the body to a state of health without the damaging side effects; unlike synthetic drugs. Herbs correctly prescribed, can be combined to target, regulate, heal or tone any organ in the body, unless the tissue has been completely destroyed.

The earliest known records of medicinal herbs date back to 3,000 BC, from northern China. The herbs identified in those records; such as, myrrh and frankincense, are still being used today. At that time, however, herbalism was often explained in terms of astrology and folklore.

From the 16th century on, the division between herbalism and allopathic medicine grew further and further apart. By the 19th century, published knowledge of herbalism had increased through advances in scientific botany, and a number of North American Indian herbal remedies had been added to the pharmacopoeia, the list of medicinal drugs. However, herbal cures were out of fashion.

Pre-packaged medicines used in orthodox medical practice are in fact extracted from traditional medicinal herbs; such as digitalis and aspirin. Research establishments have confirmed the value of the traditional uses of whole herbs.

Qualified medical herbalist combines sophisticated understanding of the human body with the knowledge of herbal pharmacopoeia. They are trained to search out the root cause of ailments and symptoms. Diarrhea, for example, may have many possible causes; among them, a viral infection, nervous stress, diet, or even contaminated water. Although many herbs will correct the symptoms, it takes an experienced practitioner to identify the cause. For this reason it is wise to consult a professional, even if you have read about the effects of a remedy and matched it to an ailment.

Author's Bio: 

Edith Lingenfelter is the webmaster of where she promotes your journey to greater health by increasing your knowledge on the uses of plants for herbal nutrition.