What is Herbal Medicine

Your body's ability to heal is greater than anyone has permitted you to believe. - Aviva Romm, MD

The study and use of plants as medicine dates back thousands of years ago. It is the oldest form of medicine and remains the modality of choice as primary health care in the majority of the world's population.

Phytotherapy is a thriving medical modality that uses whole plants to treat whole people, facilitating the healing process within the framework of holistic medicine. It is both an art and a science. With its roots in the past, it is still relevant and meaningful in the present, offering great potential contributions to modern medicine.
- David Hoffman, FHIMH, AHG, Author

Plants contain chemical compounds, or phytochemicals, as part of their normal metabolic activities and to protect themselves from harm. It is these compounds which are utilized as medicine. It is interesting to note these molecules have a similar action in plants and in humans. For example antimicrobials protect plants and humans from disease-causing bacteria or other micro-organisms. More common phytochemicals include the alkaloid, caffeine as a stimulant in your morning coffee or the pain-reliever salicylic acid found in willow bark, which Aspirin was derived from.

Herbal medicine is utilizing the healing constituents of plants to heal disease, balance the body, promote optimal health and prevent illness. The whole plant is used, which limits or avoids possibility of side-effects.

Herbs heal by working with the body to nourish, cleanse, sedate and restore balance and regulation. To return the body to its original state of health where it was able to maintain and cure itself.

Many health conditions may be appropriately treated with herbal medicine including but not limited to:

Cold & flu
Kidney stones
Gall stones
Hormonal imbalance
High/low blood pressure
Digestive issues
Skin conditions
Bladder infections

A Medical Herbalist is one who has studied the medical sciences: Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology; clinical studies including clinical assessment and diagnostic skills; and plant sciences including Botany, Materia Medica and Pharmacy.