Herbal medicine is the use of a variety of plant elements — including seeds, roots, leaves, bark, flowers, and berries — for the treatment and prevention of disease or the optimization of health.
Scholars have traced the origins of herbal medicine to various ancient civilizations in China, Egypt, India, and the Americas. Nearly a quarter of pharmaceutical drugs are made from plant extracts. Recent scientific research has demonstrated the positive therapeutic effects of herbal medicine, and the study of herbal medicine has become more common in medical schools and pharmacy programs.
After assessing the client’s medical history, a practitioner may advise the client to use herbal supplements in a variety of forms, such as teas, syrups, pills, lotions, or lozenges. Aloe, ginger, echinacea, garlic, ginseng, and chamomile are among the many common herbal supplements. Herbalists are frequently trained in other healthcare disciplines — for example, traditional medicine, pharmacy, osteopathic medicine, acupuncture, Ayurveda, and nutrition.
Herbal medicine is used to treat a wide variety of conditions, from sleep disorders, to colds and flu, to skin infections and may be used to prevent disease or help to manage chronic conditions.