Herbal medicine, also referred to as botanical medicine, is the use of any plant’s seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark, flowers, or combinations thereof for medicinal purposes. Herbal medicine has long been practiced outside of conventional medicine and has is becoming more mainstream as a growing body of clinical research exists to support its medicinal use. It’s interesting to note that a number of conventional medications from Aspirin (isolated from White Willow bark) to powerful chemotherapeutic agents like vincristine (isolated from the Madagascar periwinkle) have been derived from constituents isolated from plants.
How is herbal medicine used?
Herbal medicines are used for a wide variety of medical conditions. Some commonly seen health conditions that benefit from herbal medicines include: upper respiratory tract infections, colds and flus, irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn, poor digestion, menopausal symptoms, migraines, arthritis, fatigue and poor memory, among many others.
Herbal therapies can take many forms and include: essential oils, teas, tinctures, ointments, and commercially prepared supplements.
Are herbal medicines safe?
It is important to note that while most herbal medicines are very safe to use in conjunction with other medications, some commonly used herbs are not. Therefore, the possibilities of adverse drug reactions, drug interactions, and allergic reactions exist and therefore should only be used under the guidance of a trained professional. Your current health situation and medications will be carefully reviewed at the clinic prior to starting any herbal medicine or combination. Remember, it is always important to discuss all of your remedies and medications with your various health care providers.