About herbal medicine
Herbs have been used as medicine for thousands of years, and are still the main source of medicine in parts of the world today, providing powerful remedies for illness and injury. Their long tradition of safe and effective use is now supported by a growing body of scientific research.
Herbs are living collections of many different chemical constituents, all with particular properties, and their unique combinations can have many different actions when taken as medicine. Because of this one plant might be used for many different ailments, and one ailment can be treated by many different plants. Each person is also different, so though some herbs are particularly useful for certain conditions, herbalists draw on their years of training and experience to select the herbs which suit that individuals unique constitution, and will help their recovery of health.
Herbal medicine can benefit many people, whether you have a long-term health concern or something more immediate. Herbalists aim to discover and address the underlying cause of any problems, as well as provide symptomatic relief.
There are many different ways of preparing herbs for use. For external use they may be given as creams, ointments, oils or lotions. Internally, they can be given as teas, drunk hot or cold, powders or capsules. In modern western herbal medicine one of the commonest ways of taking herbs is as a tincture, a concentrated liquid extract made using a mixture of alcohol and water. (Note: These are usually given in teaspoon doses, and the amount of alcohol remaining in the extract is very small.)