|Biologically based alternative|
and complementary therapy - edit
Herbalism is a traditional medicinal or folk medicine practice based on the use of plants and plant extracts. Chinese food therapy ( is a practice of healing using natural foods instead of medications A macrobiotic diet (or macrobiotics) from the Greek "macro" (large long and "bios" (life is a dietary regimen that involves Orthomolecular medicine is a form of Complementary and alternative medicine which aims to prevent and treat disease with substances which are natural to the body This is a glossary for terms and concepts being used in Complementary and Alternative Medicine ( CAM) an umbrella term for a large number of practices that fall The term alternative medicine, as used in the modern western world encompasses any healing practice "that does not fall within the realm of conventional Medicine. This is a glossary for terms and concepts being used in Complementary and Alternative Medicine ( CAM) an umbrella term for a large number of practices that fall Medicine is the art and science of healing It encompasses a range of Health care practices evolved to maintain and restore Human Health by the The term traditional medicine ( Indigenous medicine or folk medicine) describes medical knowledge systems which developed over centuries within various societies Plants are living Organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae. Herbalism is a traditional Medicinal or Folk medicine practice based on the use of Plants and Plant extracts Herbalism is also known as Herbalism is also known as botanical medicine, medical herbalism, herbal medicine, herbology, and phytotherapy. Phytotherapy is the study of the use of extracts from natural origin as medicines of health-promoting agents Sometimes the scope of herbal medicine is extended to include fungi and bee products, as well as minerals, shells and certain animal parts. A fungus (ˈfʌŋgəs is a eukaryotic Organism that is a member of the kingdom Fungi (ˈfʌndʒaɪ Bees are flying Insects closely related to Wasps and Ants Bees are a Monophyletic lineage within the superfamily Apoidea
Many plants synthesize substances that are useful to the maintenance of health in humans and other animals. These include aromatic substances, most of which are phenols or their oxygen-substituted derivatives such as tannins. In Organic chemistry, phenols, sometimes called phenolics, are a class of Chemical compounds consisting of a Hydroxyl group (- Tannins are Astringent, bitter plant Polyphenols that either bind and Precipitate or shrink Proteins The astringency from the tannins is what Many are secondary metabolites, of which at least 12,000 have been isolated — a number estimated to be less than 10% of the total. Secondary metabolites are Organic compounds that are not directly involved in the normal growth, development or Reproduction of Organisms In many cases, these substances (particularly the alkaloids) serve as plant defense mechanisms against predation by microorganisms, insects, and herbivores. This article is about the chemical compounds alkaloids For the Pharmaceutical company in the Republic of Macedonia see Alkaloid (company. Herbivory is a form of Predation in which an Organism, known as a herbivore, consumes principally Autotrophs ref name=Campbell>Campbell Many of the herbs and spices used by humans to season food yield useful medicinal compounds. A(n herb (ˈhɝb or /ˈɝb/ see pronunciation differences) is a plant that is valued for qualities such as medicinal properties flavor scent or the like A spice is a dried Seed, Fruit, Root, Bark or vegetative substance used in Nutritionally insignificant quantities as a Food additive 
People on all continents have used hundreds to thousands of indigenous plants for treatment of ailments since prehistoric times. 
Anthropologists theorize that animals evolved a tendency to seek out bitter plant parts in response to illness. Anthropology (/ˌænθɹəˈpɒlədʒi/ from Greek grc ἄνθρωπος anthrōpos, "human" -λογία -logia) is the study of  This behavior arose because bitterness is an indicator of secondary metabolites. The risk benefit ratio favored animals and protohumans that were inclined to experiment in times of sickness. Over time, and with insight, instinct, and trial-and-error, a base of knowledge would have been acquired within early tribal communities.  As this knowledge base expanded over the generations, the specialized role of the herbalist emerged. An herbalist is A person whose life is dedicated to the economic or medicinal uses of plants The process would likely have occurred in varying manners within a wide diversity of cultures.
Indigenous healers often claim to have learned by observing that sick animals change their food preferences to nibble at bitter herbs they would normally reject.  Field biologists have provided corroborating evidence based on observation of diverse species, such as chimpanzees, chickens, sheep and butterflies. Chimpanzee (often shortened to chimp) is the common name for the two extant Species of Apes in the Genus Pan. The chicken ( Gallus gallus, sometimes G gallus domesticus) is a domesticated Fowl which is traditionally believed to have descended from A butterfly is an Insect of the order Lepidoptera. Like all Lepidoptera butterflies are notable for their unusual life cycle with a Lowland gorillas take 90% of their diet from the fruits of Aframomum melegueta, a relative of the ginger plant, that is a potent antimicrobial and apparently keeps shigellosis and similar infections at bay. The Western Gorilla ( Gorilla gorilla) is the most populous species of the genus Gorilla. For the similarly-named Luso-Brazilian chili pepper see Malagueta pepper. Ginger is commonly used as a cooking spice throughout the world Shigellosis, also known as bacillary dysentery in its most severe manifestation is a Foodborne illness caused by infection by bacteria of the genus 
Sick animals tend to forage plants rich in secondary metabolites, such as tannins and alkaloids. Secondary metabolites are Organic compounds that are not directly involved in the normal growth, development or Reproduction of Organisms Tannins are Astringent, bitter plant Polyphenols that either bind and Precipitate or shrink Proteins The astringency from the tannins is what This article is about the chemical compounds alkaloids For the Pharmaceutical company in the Republic of Macedonia see Alkaloid (company.  Since these phytochemicals often have antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and antihelminthic properties, a plausible case can be made for self-medication by animals in the wild. Phytochemicals are plant-derived chemical compounds under scientific research for their potential health-promoting properties but with unproved benefits Antiseptics (from Greek αντί - anti, '"against" + σηπτικός - septikos, "putrefactive" are antimicrobial An antifungal drug is Medication used to treat fungal Infections such as Athlete's foot, Ringworm, Candidiasis (thrush Anthelmintics or antihelminthics are drugs that expel parasitic Worms ( Helminths) from the body by either stunning or killing them 
Some animals have digestive systems especially adapted to cope with certain plant toxins. For example, the koala can live on the leaves and shoots of the eucalyptus, a plant that is dangerous to most animals. The Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus is a thickset Arboreal Marsupial herbivore native to Australia, and the only extant Eucalyptus (From Greek ευκάλυπτος meaning "well covered" is a diverse Genus of Trees (and a few shrubs the members of which A plant that is harmless to a particular animal may not be safe for humans to ingest.  A reasonable conjecture is that these discoveries were traditionally collected by the medicine people of indigenous tribes, who then passed on safety information and cautions. " Medicine man " is an English term used to describe Native American spiritual figures such individuals are often viewed by scholars concerned with these
The use of herbs and spices in cuisine developed in part as a response to the threat of food-born pathogens. Studies show that in tropical climes where pathogens are the most abundant recipes are the most highly spiced. Further, the spices with the most potent antimicrobial activity tend to be selected. In all cultures vegetables are spiced less than meat, presumably because they are more resistant to spoilage. 
In the written record, the study of herbs dates back over 5,000 years to the Sumerians, who described well-established medicinal uses for such plants as laurel, caraway, and thyme. The Egyptians of 1000 B. C. are known to have used garlic, opium, castor oil, coriander, mint, indigo, and other herbs for medicine and the Old Testament also mentions herb use and cultivation, including mandrake, vetch, caraway, wheat, barley, and rye.
The first Chinese herb book (or herbal), dating from about 2700 B. C. , lists 365 medicinal plants and their uses - including ma-Huang, the shrub that introduced the drug ephedrine to modern medicine.
The ancient Greeks and Romans made medicinal use of plants. Greek and Roman medicinal practices, as preserved in the writings of Hippocrates and - especially - Galen, provided the patterns for later western medicine. Galen ( Greek: Γαληνός Galēnos; Latin: Claudius Galenus, Aelius Galenus, Claudius Aelius Galenus, or Hippocrates advocated the use of a few simple herbal drugs - along with fresh air, rest, and proper diet. Hippocrates of Cos II or Hippokrates of Kos ( ca. 460 BC – ca Galen, on the other had, recommended large doses of drug mixtures - including plant, animal, and mineral ingredients. The Greek physician compiled the first European treatise on the properties and uses of medicinal plants, De Materia Medica. In the first century AD, Dioscorides wrote a compendium of more that 500 plants that remained an authoritative reference into the 17th century. Pedanius Dioscorides (Πεδάνιος Διοσκορίδης ca Similarly important for herbalists and botanists of later centuries was the Greek book that founded the science of botany, Theophrastus’ Historia Plantarum, written in the fourth century B. Theophrastus ( Greek:; 371 – c 287 BC a Greek native of Eressos in Lesbos, was the successor of Aristotle in the Peripatetic C.
The uses of plants for medicine and other purposes changed little during the Middle Ages. The early Christian church discouraged the formal practice of medicine, preferring faith healing; but many Greek and Roman writings on medicine, as on other subjects, were preserved by diligent hand copying of manuscripts in monasteries. The monasteries thus tended to become local centers of medical knowledge, and their herb gardens provided the raw materials for simple treatment of common disorders. At the same time, folk medicine in the home and village continues uninterrupted, supporting numerous wandering and settled herbalists. Among these were the “wise-women,” who prescribed herbal remedies often along with spells and enchantments. It was not until the later Middle Ages that women who were knowledgeable in herb lore became the targets of the witch hysteria. One of the most famous women in the herbal tradition was Hildegard of Bingen. Hildegard of Bingen (Hildegard von Bingen Hildegardis Bingensis 1098 – 17 September 1179) also known as Blessed Hildegard and Saint Hildegard A twelfth century Benedictine nun, she wrote a medical text called Causes and Cures.
Medical schools began to return in the eleventh century, teaching Galen’s system. At the time, the Arabic world was more advanced in science than Europe. As a trading culture, the Arabs had access to plant material from distant places such as China and India. Herbals, medical texts and translations of the classics of antiquity filtered in from east to west.  Alongside the university system, folk medicine continued to thrive. Plants were burdened with a mass of both pagan and Christian superstition that often was more important than their actual properties. The continuing importance of herbs for the centuries following the Middle Ages is indicated by the hundreds of herbals published after the invention of printing in the fifteenth century. Theophrastus’ Historia Plantarum was one of the first books to be printed, and Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica was not far behind.
The fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries were the great age of herbals, many of them available for the first time in English and other languages rather than Latin or Greek. The first herbal to be published in English was the anonymous Grete Herball of 1526. The two best-known herbals in English were The Herball or General History of Plants (1597) by John Gerard and The English Physician Enlarged (1653) by Nicholas Culpeper. See also John Gerard SJ John Gerard ( Nantwich, 1545 &ndash February 1611/12 in London) was an English Nicholas Culpeper ( 18 October 1616 &ndash 1654 in London) was an English botanist, Herbalist, Physician Gerard’s text was basically a pirated translation of a book by the Belgian herbalist Dodoens and his illustrations came from a German botanical work. Rembert Dodoens ( Mechelen June 29, 1517 &ndash Leyden March 10, 1585) was a Flemish Physician and The original edition contained many errors due to faulty matching of the two parts. Culpeper’s blend of traditional medicine with astrology, magic, and folklore was ridiculed by the physicians of his day yet his book - like Gerard’s and other herbals - enjoyed phenomenal popularity. The Age of Exploration and the Columbian Exchange introduced new medicinal plants to Europe. The Age of Discovery or Age of Exploration was a period from the early 15th century and continuing into the early 17th century during which Europeans explored The Columbian Exchange has been one of the most significant events in the history of world Ecology, Agriculture, and Culture. The Badianus Manuscript was an illustrated Aztec herbal translated into Latin in the 16th century. Aztec is a term used to refer to certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who achieved political
The second millennium, however, also saw the beginning of a slow erosion of the pre-eminent position held by plants as sources of therapeutic effects. The second millennium is a period of time that commenced on January 1, 1001, and ended on December 31, 2000. This began with the introduction of the physician, the introduction of active chemical drugs (like arsenic, copper sulfate, iron, mercury, and sulfur), followed by the rapid development of chemistry and the other physical sciences, led increasingly to the dominance of chemotherapy - chemical medicine - as the orthodox system of the twentieth century. A physician, medical practitioner or medical doctor who practices Medicine, and is concerned with maintaining or restoring human Health A drug, broadly speaking is any chemical substance that when absorbed into the body Arsenic (ˈɑrsənɪk is a Chemical element that has the symbol As and Atomic number of 33 Copper(II sulfate is the Chemical compound with the formula Cu[[Sulfur S]] O 4 Iron (ˈаɪɚn is a Chemical element with the symbol Fe (ferrum and Atomic number 26 Mercury (ˈmɜrkjʊri also called quicksilver or hydrargyrum, is a Chemical element with the symbol Hg ( Latinized hydrargyrum Sulfur or sulphur (ˈsʌlfɚ see spelling below) is the Chemical element that has the Atomic number 16 Chemistry (from Egyptian kēme (chem meaning "earth") is the Science concerned with the composition structure and properties Chemotherapy, in its most general sense refers to treatment of disease by chemicals that kill cells specifically those of micro-organisms or Cancer. A chemical substance is a Material with a definite chemical composition.
The use of herbs to treat disease is almost universal among non-industrialized societies. A(n herb (ˈhɝb or /ˈɝb/ see pronunciation differences) is a plant that is valued for qualities such as medicinal properties flavor scent or the like A disease is an abnormal condition of an organism that impairs bodily functions and can be deadly  A number of traditions came to dominate the practice of herbal medicine at the end of the twentieth century:
Many of the pharmaceuticals currently available to physicians have a long history of use as herbal remedies, including opium, aspirin, digitalis, and quinine. The twentieth century of the Common Era began on The term ancient Greece refers to the period of Greek history lasting from the Greek Dark Ages ca Ancient Rome was a Civilization that grew out of a small agricultural community founded on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 10th century BC The Siddha medicine is a form of south Indian Traditional medicine and part of the trio Indian medicines - Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani. Ayurveda ( Devanāgarī: आयुर्वॆद the 'science of life' is a system of Traditional medicine native to India, and practiced in other India, officially the Republic of India (भारत गणराज्य inc-Latn Bhārat Gaṇarājya; see also other Indian languages) is a country Traditional Chinese medicine (also known as TCM,) includes a range of traditional medical practices originating in China. See Herbalism for the non-Chinese tradition of herbology Chinese Herbology ( is the common name for the subject of Chinese Unani IPA: (in Arabic, Hindi, Persian, Pashtu, Urdu, etc means " Greek " A drug, broadly speaking is any chemical substance that when absorbed into the body Opium is a Narcotic formed from the Latex (ie sap released by lacerating (or "scoring" the immature seed pods of opium poppies ( Aspirin, or acetylsalicylic acid (ASA (əˌsɛtɨlsælɨˌsɪlɨk ˈæsɨd is a Salicylate drug, often used as an Analgesic to relieve Quinine (ˈkwaɪnaɪn kwɪˈniːn ˈkwiːniːn is a natural white Crystalline Alkaloid having Antipyretic (fever-reducing antimalarial, The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80 percent of the world's population presently uses herbal medicine for some aspect of primary health care. Herbal medicine is a major component in all traditional medicine systems, and a common element in Ayurvedic, homeopathic, naturopathic, traditional Chinese medicine, and Native American medicine. Ayurveda ( Devanāgarī: आयुर्वॆद the 'science of life' is a system of Traditional medicine native to India, and practiced in other This article has been the subject of edit wars and has been placed on probation Naturopathic medicine (also known as naturopathy, or natural medicine) is a Complementary and alternative medicine which emphasizes the body's intrinsic Traditional Chinese medicine (also known as TCM,) includes a range of traditional medical practices originating in China. For indigenous peoples in the United States other than Hawaii and Alaska see also Native Americans in the United States.
The use of, and search for, drugs and dietary supplements derived from plants have accelerated in recent years. Pharmacologists, microbiologists, botanists, and natural-products chemists are combing the Earth for phytochemicals and leads that could be developed for treatment of various diseases. Pharmacology (from Greek grc φάρμακον pharmakon, "drug" and grc -λογία -logia) is the study of how Drugs Microbiology (from Greek grc μῑκρος mīkros, "small" grc βίος bios, " Life " and grc -λογία Botany, plant science(s, phytology, or plant biology is a branch of Biology and is the scientific study of plant Life Phytochemicals are plant-derived chemical compounds under scientific research for their potential health-promoting properties but with unproved benefits In fact, according to the World Health Organisation, approximately 25% of modern drugs used in the United States have been derived from plants. 
- Three quarters of plants that provide active ingredients for prescription drugs came to the attention of researchers because of their use in traditional medicine. 
- Among the 120 active compounds currently isolated from the higher plants and widely used in modern medicine today, 80 percent show a positive correlation between their modern therapeutic use and the traditional use of the plants from which they are derived. 
- More than two thirds of the world's plant species - at least 35,000 of which are estimated to have medicinal value - come from the developing countries.
- At least 7,000 medical compounds in the modern pharmacopoeia are derived from plants
All plants produce chemical compounds as part of their normal metabolic activities. A chemical compound is a substance consisting of two or more different elements chemically bonded together in a fixed proportion by Mass. Metabolism is the set of Chemical reactions that occur in living Organisms in order to maintain Life. These include primary metabolites, such as sugars and fats, found in all plants, and secondary metabolites found in a smaller range of plants, some useful ones found only in a particular genus or species. Sugar is a class of edible Crystalline substances mainly Sucrose, Lactose, and Fructose. Fats consist of a wide group of compounds that are generally soluble in organic solvents and largely insoluble in water A genus (plural genera from Γένος Latin genus "descent family type gender" is a low-level Taxonomic In Biology, a species is one of the basic units of Biological classification and a Taxonomic rank. Pigments harvest light, protect the organism from radiation and display colors to attract pollinators. For the drug referred to as "pigment" see Black tar heroin. Many common weeds have medicinal properties. 
The functions of secondary metabolites are varied. For example, some secondary metabolites are toxins used to deter predation, and others are pheromones used to attract insects for pollination. A toxin ( Greek:, toxikon, lit (poison for use on arrows is a Poisonous substance produced by living cells or organisms that is active at very low Plant defense against herbivory or host-plant resistance (HPR includes a range of Adaptations evolved A pheromone (from Greek φέρω phero "to bear" + ‘ορμόνη " Hormone " is a Chemical that triggers a natural Pollination in angiosperms and Gymnosperms is the process that transfers pollen grains, which contain the male Gametes (sperm to where the female Phytoalexins protect against bacterial and fungal attacks. Phytoalexins are Antibiotics produced by Plants that are under attack Allelochemicals inhibit rival plants that are competing for soil and light.
Plants upregulate and downregulate their biochemical paths in response to the local mix of herbivores, pollinators and microorganisms.  The chemical profile of a single plant may vary over time as it reacts to changing conditions. It is the secondary metabolites and pigments that can have therapeutic actions in humans and which can be refined to produce drugs.
Plants synthesize a bewildering variety of phytochemicals but most are derivatives of a few biochemical motifs. Phytochemicals are plant-derived chemical compounds under scientific research for their potential health-promoting properties but with unproved benefits
The word drug itself comes from the Swedish word "druug", which means 'dried plant'. Swedish ( is a North Germanic language spoken by more than nine million people predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along the Some examples are inulin from the roots of dahlias, quinine from the cinchona, morphine and codeine from the poppy, and digoxin from the foxglove. Inulins are a group of naturally occurring Polysaccharides (several simple sugars linked together produced by many types of plants Dahlia is a Genus of bushy tuberous, Perennial plants native to Mexico, Central America, and Colombia. Quinine (ˈkwaɪnaɪn kwɪˈniːn ˈkwiːniːn is a natural white Crystalline Alkaloid having Antipyretic (fever-reducing antimalarial, Cinchona is a Genus of about 25 Species in the family Rubiaceae, native to tropical South America. Medical uses Morphine can be used as an analgesic in hospital settings to relieve pain in Myocardial infarction pain in Codeine ( INN) or methylmorphine is an Opiate used for its Analgesic, antitussive and antidiarrheal properties A poppy is any of a number of showy Flowers typically withone per stem, belonging to the poppy family. Digoxin ( INN) (dɨˈdʒɒksɨn also known as Digitalis, is a purified Cardiac glycoside extracted from the Foxglove plant Digitalis
The active ingredient in willow bark, once prescribed by Hippocrates, is salicin, or salicylic acid. Willows, sallows and osiers form the Genus Salix, around 400 species of Deciduous Trees and Shrubs found primarily Hippocrates of Cos II or Hippokrates of Kos ( ca. 460 BC – ca Salicylic acid (from the Latin word for the willow tree Salix, from whose bark it can be obtained is a Beta hydroxy acid (BHA with the formula The discovery of salicylic acid, also known as "acetylsalicylic acid", would eventually lead to the development of "aspirin" when it was isolated from a plant known as meadowsweet. Aspirin, or acetylsalicylic acid (ASA (əˌsɛtɨlsælɨˌsɪlɨk ˈæsɨd is a Salicylate drug, often used as an Analgesic to relieve Aspirin, or acetylsalicylic acid (ASA (əˌsɛtɨlsælɨˌsɪlɨk ˈæsɨd is a Salicylate drug, often used as an Analgesic to relieve The word aspirin comes from an abbreviation of meadowsweet's Latin genus Spiraea, with an additional "A" at the beginning to acknowledge acetylation, and "in" was added at the end for easier pronunciation. Latin ( lingua Latīna, laˈtiːna is an Italic language, historically spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome.  "Aspirin" was originally a brand name, and is still a protected trademark in some countries. This medication was patented by Bayer AG. For other uses see Bayer (disambiguation or Beyer or Buyer. Bayer AG (German ˈbaɪə () is a German
Since herbalism is such a diverse field few generalizations apply universally. Nevertheless a rough consensus can be inferred.
Most herbalists concede that pharmaceuticals are more effective in emergency situations where time is of the essence. An example would be where a patient had elevated blood pressure that posed imminent danger. However they claim that over the long term herbs can help the patient resist disease and in addition provide nutritional and immunological support that pharmaceuticals lack. They view their goal as prevention as well as cure.
Herbalists tend to use extracts from parts of plants, such as the roots or leaves but not isolate particular phytochemicals.  Pharmaceutical medicine prefers single ingredients on the grounds that dosage can be more easily quantified. Herbalists reject the notion of a single active ingredient. They argue that the different phytochemicals present in many herbs will interact to enhance the therapeutic effects of the herb and dilute toxicity. Furthermore, they argue that a single ingredient may contribute to multiple effects. Herbalists deny that herbal synergism can be duplicated with synthetic chemicals. They argue that phytochemical interactions and trace components may alter the drug response in ways that cannot currently be replicated with a combination of a few putative active ingredients.  Pharmaceutical researchers recognize the concept of drug synergism but note that clinical trials may be used to investigate the efficacy of a particular herbal preparation, provided the formulation of that herb is consistent. Synergy (from the Greek el-Latn syn-ergo, el συνεργός meaning working together is the term used to describe a situation where the final outcome 
In specific cases the claims of synergy and multifunctionality have been supported by science. Capsaicin /ˌkæpˈseˌɪsɪn/ (8- Methyl - N - Vanillyl -6-nonen Amide) is the active component of Chili peppers The open question is how widely both can be generalized. Herbalists would argue that cases of synergy can be widely generalized, on the basis of their interpretation of evolutionary history, not necessarily shared by the pharmaceutical community. Plants are subject to similar selection pressures as humans and therefore they must develop resistance to threats such as radiation, reactive oxygen species and microbial attack in order to survive. Reactive oxygen species (ROS are ions or very small molecules that include Oxygen Ions free radicals, and Peroxides both inorganic and  Optimal chemical defenses have been selected for and have thus developed over millions of years. Human diseases are multifactorial and may be treated by consuming the chemical defences that they believe to be present in herbs. Bacteria, inflammation, nutrition and ROS (reactive oxygen species) may all play a role in arterial disease.  Herbalists claim a single herb may simultaneously address several of these factors. Likewise a factor such as ROS may underly more than one condition.  In short herbalists view their field as the study of a web of relationships rather than a quest for single cause and a single cure for a single condition.
In selecting herbal treatments herbalists may use forms of information that are not applicable to pharmacists. Because herbs can moonlight as vegetables, teas or spices they have a huge consumer base and large-scale epidemiological studies become feasible. Ethnobotanical studies are another source of information.  For example, when indigenous peoples from geographically dispersed areas use closely related herbs for the same purpose that is taken as supporting evidence for its efficacy. Herbalists contend that historical medical records and herbals are underutilized resources.  They favor the use of convergent information in assessing the medical value of plants. An example would be when in-vitro activity is consistent with traditional use.
Certain strains of herbalism rely on sources that would be widely considered unreliable and would not be accepted in a scientifically oriented herbal journal. These include astrology, the Bible, intuition, dreams, “plant spirits”, etc.
A survey released in May 2004 by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine focused on who used complementary and alternative medicines (CAM), what was used, and why it was used. The term alternative medicine, as used in the modern western world encompasses any healing practice "that does not fall within the realm of conventional Medicine. The survey was limited to adults, aged 18 years and over during 2002, living in the United States. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the
According to this survey, herbal therapy, or use of natural products other than vitamins and minerals, was the most commonly used CAM therapy (18. A vitamin is an Organic compound required as a Nutrient in tiny amounts by an Organism. 9%) when all use of prayer was excluded. Prayer is the act of attempting to communicate with a Deity or spirit 
Herbal remedies are very common in Europe. In Germany, herbal medications are dispensed by apothecaries (e. Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany ( ˈbʊndəsʁepuˌbliːk ˈdɔʏtʃlant is a Country in Central Europe. g. , Apotheke). Prescription drugs are sold alongside essential oils, herbal extracts, or herbal teas. Herbal remedies are seen by some as a treatment to be preferred to chemical medications which have been industrially produced. 
In the United Kingdom, the training of medical herbalists is done by state funded Universities. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located For example, Bachelor of Science degrees in herbal medicine are offered at Universities such as University of East London, Middlesex University, University of Central Lancashire, University of Westminster, University of Lincoln and Napier University in Edinburgh at the present. A Bachelor of Science ( BS, BSc or BSc in the UK; less commonly S Herbalism is a traditional Medicinal or Folk medicine practice based on the use of Plants and Plant extracts Herbalism is also known as The University of East London ( UEL) is a British New University based on two campuses in East London. Middlesex University is a University in north London, England, located in the historic county boundaries of Middlesex (from which The University of Central Lancashire (or UCLan) is a University based in Preston, UK, which until January 2007 had additional Campuses The University of Westminster is a university in London, England, formed in 1992 as a result of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992, which allowed The University of Lincoln is an English University in Lincolnshire whose origins can be traced back to the 19th century Napier University is a University in Edinburgh, Scotland. History Napier University was opened as Napier Technical College
Use of medicinal plants can be as informal as, for example, culinary use or consumption of an herbal tea or supplement, although the sale of some herbs considered dangerous is often restricted to the public. Sometimes such herbs are provided to professional herbalists by specialist companies. Many herbalists, both professional and amateur, often grow or "wildcraft" their own herbs. Wildcrafting is the practice of harvesting plants from their natural or "wild" habitat for Food, medicinal, or other purposes
Some researchers trained in both western and traditional Chinese medicine have attempted to deconstruct ancient medical texts in the light of modern science. Traditional Chinese medicine (also known as TCM,) includes a range of traditional medical practices originating in China. One idea is that the yin-yang balance, at least with regard to herbs, corresponds to the pro-oxidant and anti-oxidant balance. This interpretation is supported by several investigations of the ORAC ratings of various yin and yang herbs. 
Eclectic medicine came out of the vitalist tradition, similar to physiomedicalism and bridged the European and Native American traditions. Eclectic medicine was a branch of American medicine which made use of botanical remedies along with other substances and physical therapy practices popular in the latter half Vitalism, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary is a doctrine that the functions of a living organism are due to a vital principle distinct from physicochemical For indigenous peoples in the United States other than Hawaii and Alaska see also Native Americans in the United States. Cherokee medicine tends to divide herbs into foods, medicines and toxins and to use seven plants in the treatment of disease, which is defined with both spiritual and physiological aspects, according to Cherokee herbalist David Winston. The Cherokee (ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ a-ni-yv-wi-ya, in the Cherokee language) are a people native to North America, who at the time of European contact David Winston RH(AHG (born 1956 is an American herbalist and ethnobotanist who since 1977 has practiced and taught herbal medicine in United States 
In India, Ayurvedic medicine has quite complex formulas with 30 or more ingredients, including a sizable number of ingredients that have undergone "alchemical processing", chosen to balance "Vata", "Pitta" or "Kapha. Alchemy a part of the Occult Tradition is both a philosophy and a practice with an ultimately unknown aim involving the improvement of the alchemist as well as the making of Ayurveda ( Devanāgarī: आयुर्वॆद the 'science of life' is a system of Traditional medicine native to India, and practiced in other "
In addition there are more modern theories of herbal combination like William LeSassier's triune formula which combined Pythagorean imagery with Chinese medicine ideas and resulted in 9 herb formulas which supplemented, drained or neutrally nourished the main organ systems affected and three associated systems. William LeSassier was an influential herbalist and acupuncturist who lived from 1948 to 2003 Pythagoreanism is a term used for the Esoteric and metaphysical beliefs held by Pythagoras and his followers the Pythagoreans who were much influenced His system has been taught to thousands of influential American herbalists through his own apprenticeship programs during his lifetime, the William LeSassier Archive and the David Winston Center for Herbal Studies
Many traditional African remedies have performed well in initial laboratory tests to ensure they are not toxic and in tests on animals. Gawo, a herb used in traditional treatments, has been tested in rats by researchers from Nigeria's University of Jos and the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development. According to research in the African Journal of Biotechnology, Gawo passed tests for toxicity and reduced induced fevers, diarrhoea and inflammation 
The exact composition of a herbal product is influenced by the method of extraction. Below the general preparation is mentioned on how herbs and spices are dried A tisane will be rich in polar components because water is a polar solvent. An herbal tea, tisane, or ptisan is an Herbal Infusion made from anything other than the leaves of the Tea bush ( Camellia Water is a common Chemical substance that is essential for the survival of all known forms of Life. A solvent is a liquid or gas that dissolves a solid liquid or gaseous Solute, resulting in a Solution. Oil on the other hand is a non-polar solvent and it will absorb non-polar compounds. "Polar molecule" and "Non-polar" redirect here Alcohol lies somewhere in between. There are many forms in which herbs can be administered, these include:
Few herbal remedies have conclusively demonstrated any positive effect on humans. See also Herbalism Medicinal plants of the American West List of culinary herbs and spices  Many of the studies cited refer to animal model investigations or in-vitro assays and therefore cannot provide more than weak supportive evidence.
Proper double-blind clinical trials are needed to determine the safety and efficacy of each plant before they can be recommended for medical use.  In addition, many consumers believe that herbal medicines are safe because they are natural. Herbal medicines may interact with synthetic drugs causing toxicity to the patient, herbal products may have contamination that is a safety consideration, and herbal medicines, without proven efficacy, may be used to replace medicines that have a proven efficacy. 
Standardization of purity and dosage is not mandated in the United States, but even products made to the same specification may differ as a result of biochemical variations within a species of plant.  Plants have chemical defense mechanisms against predators that can have adverse or lethal effects on humans. Examples of highly toxic herbs include poison hemlock and nightshade.  They are not marketed to the public as herbs, because the risks are well known, partly due to a long and colorful history in Europe, associated with "sorcery", "magic" and intrigue.  Although not frequent, adverse reactions have been reported for herbs in widespread use.  On occasion serious untoward outcomes have been linked to herb consumption. A case of major potassium depletion has been attributed to chronic licorice ingestion.  Black cohosh has been implicated in a case of liver failure. Few studies are available on the safety of herbs for pregnant women. 
Herb drug interactions are a concern. In consultation with a physician, usage of herbal remedies should be clarified, as some herbal remedies have the potential to cause adverse drug interactions when used in combination with various prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. Over-the-counter (OTC drugs are medicines that may be sold without a prescription, in contrast to Prescription drugs The name "over-the-counter"
Dangerously low blood pressure may result from the combination of an herbal remedy that lowers blood pressure together with prescription medicine that has the same effect. Some herbs may amplify the effects of anticoagulants.  Certain herbs as well as common fruit interfere with cytochrome P450, an enzyme critical to drug metabolism. 
The gold standard for pharmaceutical testing is repeated, large-scale, randomized, double-blind tests. Some plant products or pharmaceutical drugs derived from them are incorporated into mainstream medicine. To recoup the considerable costs of testing to the regulatory standards, the substances are patented by pharmaceutical companies and sold at a substantial profit. 
Most herbal traditions have developed without modern scientific controls to distinguish between the placebo effect, the body's natural ability to heal itself, and the actual benefits of the herbs themselves. Placebo is a substance or procedure a patient accepts as medicine or therapy but which has no specific therapeutic activity Many herbs have shown positive results in in-vitro, animal model or small-scale clinical tests but many studies on herbal treatments have also found negative results.  The quality of the trials on herbal remedies is highly and many trials of herbal treatments have been found to be of poor quality, with many trials lacking a intention to treat analysis or a comment on whether blinding was successful. In Epidemiology, an intention to treat (ITT analysis (sometimes also called Intent to Treat is an analysis based on the initial treatment intent not on the treatment eventually  The few randomized, double-blind tests that receive attention in mainstream medical publications are often questioned on methodological grounds or interpretation. Likewise, studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals such as Journal of the American Medical Association receive more consideration than those published in specialized herbal journals. JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association is an international peer-reviewed general Medical journal, published 48 times per year by the American This preference may be due to the possibility of location bias for such trials. One study found that non-impact factor alternative medicine journals published more studies with positive results than negative results and that trials finding positive results were of lower quality than trials finding negative results. The impact factor, often abbreviated IF, is a measure of the Citations to science and social science journals. High impact factor mainstream medical journals, on the other hand, published equal numbers of trials with positive and negative results. In high impact journals, trials finding positive results were also found to have lower quality scores than trials finding negative results.  Another study found studies of phyomedicine to have superior quality to matched studies of pharmaceuticals.  However, this study used a matched pair design and excluded all herbal trials that were not controlled, did not use a placebo or did not use random or quasi random assignment. A randomized controlled trial (RCT is a type of scientific Experiment most commonly used in testing the Efficacy or Effectiveness of Healthcare Randomization is the process of making something Random; this means Generating a Random permutation of a sequence (such as when shuffling cards
Herbalists criticize mainstream studies on the grounds that they make insufficient use of historical use. They maintain that tradition can guide the selection of factors such as optimal dose, species, time of harvesting and target population. 
Dosage is in general an outstanding issue for herbal treatments: while most conventional medicines are heavily tested to determine the most effective and safest dosages (especially in relation to things like body weight, drug interactions, etc. ), there are few established dosage standards for various herbal treatments on the market. Furthermore, herbal medicines taken in whole form cannot generally guarantee a consistent dosage or drug quality (since certain samples may contain more or less of a given active ingredient.
Several methods of standardization may be applied to herbs. One is the ratio of raw materials to solvent. However different specimens of even the same plant species may vary in chemical content. Another method is standardization on a signal chemical. 
In 2004 the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health began funding clinical trials into the effectiveness of herbal medicine. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the "NIH" redirects here For other meanings of NIH see NIH (disambiguation. In health care clinical trials are conducted to allow safety and Efficacy data to be collected for new drugs or devices 
The common names of herbs (folk taxonomy) may not reflect differences in scientific taxonomy, and the same (or a very similar) common name might group together different plant species with different effects. A folk taxonomy is a Vernacular naming system, and can be contrasted with scientific taxonomy. Taxonomy is the practice and science of classification The word comes from the Greek, taxis (meaning 'order' 'arrangement' and, nomos For example, in 1993 in Belgium, a formula created by medical doctors including some Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) herbs for weight loss, one herb (Stephania tetrandra) was swapped for another (Aristolochia fangchi) whose name in Chinese was extremely similar but which contained higher levels of a renal toxin, aristolochic acid; this quid pro quo resulted in 105 cases of kidney damage. The Kingdom of Belgium is a Country in northwest Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts its headquarters as well as those Traditional Chinese medicine (also known as TCM,) includes a range of traditional medical practices originating in China. Stephania is a genus of Flowering plants in the family Menispermaceae, native to eastern and southern Asia and Australasia. Aristolochia is a large Plant Genus with over 500 Species. Collectively known as birthworts, pipevines or The kidneys are complicated organs that have numerous biological roles A toxin ( Greek:, toxikon, lit (poison for use on arrows is a Poisonous substance produced by living cells or organisms that is active at very low Aristolochic acid is a Rodent Carcinogen found in the Aristolochia and Asarum Species, both in the Quid pro quo ( Latin for "something for something") indicates a more-or-less equal exchange or substitution of goods or services Renal failure or kidney  Note that neither herb used in a TCM context would be used for weight loss or given for long periods of time. Traditional Chinese medicine (also known as TCM,) includes a range of traditional medical practices originating in China.
In Chinese medicine these herbs are used for certain forms of acute arthritis and edema. Arthritis (from Greek arthro-, joint + -itis, inflammation plural arthritides is a group of conditions involving damage to the Joints of the body Oedema (or Edema in American English formerly known as dropsy or hydropsy, is the increase of Interstitial fluid in any organ &mdash swelling 
The issue of regulation is an area of continuing controversy in the EU and USA. The European Union ( EU) is a political and economic union of twenty-seven member states, located primarily in The United States of America —commonly referred to as the At one end of the spectrum, some herbalists maintain that traditional remedies have a long history of use, and do not require the level of safety testing as xenobiotics or single ingredients in an artificially concentrated form. A xenobiotic is a Chemical which is found in an Organism but which is not normally produced or expected to be present in it On the other hand, others are in favor of legally enforced quality standards, safety testing and prescription by a qualified practitioner. Some professional herbalist organizations have made statements calling for a category of regulation for herbal products.  Yet others agree with the need for more quality testing but believe it can be managed through reputation without government intervention. The legal status of herbal ingredients varies by country.
In the United States, most herbal remedies are regulated as dietary supplements by the Food and Drug Administration. Manufacturers of products falling into this category are not required to prove the safety or efficacy of their product, though the FDA may withdraw a product from sale should it prove harmful. 
The National Nutritional Foods Association, the industry's largest trade association, has run a program since 2002, examining the products and factory conditions of member companies, giving them the right to display the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) seal of approval on their products. The NNFA, or the National Nutritional Foods Association, is an organization founded in 1936 to represent the interest of manufacturers and retailers of the Natural products Good Manufacturing Practice or GMP (also referred to as 'cGMP' or 'current Good Manufacturing Practice' is a term that is recognized worldwide for the control and management 
In the UK, herbal remedies that are bought over the counter are regulated as supplements, as in the US. Over-the-counter (OTC drugs are medicines that may be sold without a prescription, in contrast to Prescription drugs The name "over-the-counter" However, herbal remedies prescribed and dispensed by a qualified "Medical Herbalist", after a personal consultation, are regulated as medicines. An herbalist is A person whose life is dedicated to the economic or medicinal uses of plants
A Medical Herbalist can prescribe some herbs which are not available over the counter, covered by Schedule III of the Medicines Act. The Medicines Act 1968 is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom. Forthcoming changes to laws regulating herbal products in the UK, are intended to ensure the quality of herbal products used.
Some herbs, such as cannabis, however, are outright banned in most countries for various reasons. Cannabis ( Cán-na-bis) is a Genus of Flowering plants that includes three putative species Cannabis sativa subsp Since 2004, the sales of ephedra as an dietary supplement is prohibited in the United States by the FDA. Ephedra refers to the plant Ephedra sinica. E sinica, known in Chinese as ma huang ( has been used in Traditional Chinese medicine 
On January 18, 2008, the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (representing botanic gardens in 120 countries) stated that "400 medicinal plants are at risk of extinction, from over-collection and deforestation, threatening the discovery of future cures for disease. Events 350 - Generallus Magnentius deposes Roman Emperor Constans and proclaims himself Emperor 2008 ( MMVIII) is the current year in accordance with the Gregorian calendar, a Leap year that started on Tuesday of the Common Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI is a plant conservation charity based in London, England. Botanical gardens grow a wide variety of Plants primarily to categorize and document for scientific purposes " These included Yew trees (the bark is used for cancer drugs, paclitaxel); Hoodia (from Namibia, source of weight loss drugs); half of Magnolias (used as Chinese medicine for 5,000 years to fight cancer, dementia and heart disease); and Autumn crocus (for gout). Paclitaxel is a Mitotic inhibitor used in Cancer Chemotherapy. Hoodia (ˈhʊdiːə is a Genus of 13 species in the Flowering plant family Apocynaceae, under the subfamily Asclepiadoideae Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in Southern Africa on the Atlantic coast Weight loss, in the context of Medicine or Health or Physical fitness, is a reduction of the total Body weight, due to a mean loss of fluid Magnolia is a large Genus of about 210 Flowering plant Species in the subclass Magnolioideae of the family Dementia (from Latin de- "apart away" + Mens ( genitive mentis) "mind" is the progressive decline Colchicum autumnale, commonly known as autumn crocus, meadow Saffron or naked lady, is a Flower which resembles the Gout (also called metabolic arthritis) is a disease created by a buildup of Uric acid. The group also found that 5 billion people benefit from traditional plant-based medicine for health care