Herbal medicines are plant-based medicines made from differing combinations of plant parts e.g. leaves, flowers or roots. Each part can have different medicinal uses and the many types of chemical constituents require different extraction methods. Both fresh and dried plant matter are used, depending on the herb.
NIMH members are aware of the importance of medicines being being sourced from reputable manufacturers, who maintain consistent quality standards. Traceability (right back to the original batch of herbs) and certificates of authenticity are key ways in which quality is maintained. Sustainability is also of crucial importance.
- Infusions: dried or fresh herbs, usually aerial parts, steeped in boiling water
- Decoction: usually harder plant material, boiled on the stove for longer than infusions
- Syrups: herbs incorporated into a thick, sweet liquid
- Poultices: moistened herbs kept in place by a cloth for localised healing
- Lotions: infusions or decoctions delivered in a smooth liquid preparation
- Compresses: generally a soft cloth wrung out of a hot or cold infusion or decoction and applied to the affected area
Alcohol-based preparations usually called Tinctures. There are non-alcoholic alternatives to this such as glycerites or vinegars which are taken in the same way.
Oil-based preparations such as infused oils and ointments are used externally.
Other preparations commonly used:
- Powders taken internally and applied externally, may come in loose form or in capsules
- Juices are very nutritive
- Creams are often preferred in the treatment of skin conditions
- Steam inhalations
- Baths and skin washes
- Gargles and mouthwashes
- Pessaries and suppositories
Medicinal herbs are plants that have therapeutic properties for various diseases, as well as in maintaining human and animal health. The biggest advantage of herbs is that they form a 100% natural remedy. Herbs are an essential ingredient in Chinese medicine, homeopathy, physical therapy, Indian medicine and more. Herbs can be added to drinks (such as tea extracts) or food. It can also be consumed in the form of powders, capsules, extracts, fats, oils and others. Some medicinal plants are toxic or toxic in specific forms to humans or over a certain dosage. In addition, fake herbs can carry different side effects
Currently, there is an ongoing dispute between certified medical professionals and herbalists. Some people believe that herbal medicine is outdated and those who practice it should be shut down. Other people believe that perhaps a return to more natural products may be healthier than synthetic drugs.
In either case, there are people trying to meet the two camps in the middle – the doctors of naturopathy. Hopefully there will be a meeting of the minds on the usefulness of herbs in the treatment program of patients who don’t respond well to traditional medical procedures. After all, many drugs used by respected members of the medical community are created from plants.
For the time being, companies selling herbal supplements are experiencing a boom in sales. People are trying to live healthier lives and eliminating chemicals from their diet. The only question is whether or not herbalists will finally be treated as respected members of their community or forced out of business by conventional medical practitioners.