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Homeopathy - for Life

 

Logo (image)                                                                         Dr Atiq (graphic) 

By Dr. Atiq Ahmad Bhatti, HD.

Herbal Medicine

Herbal medicine, sometimes referred to as Herbalism, Botanical medicine or Herbology, is the use of plants in a wide variety of forms for their therapeutic value.  Herb plants produce and contain a variety of chemical compounds that act upon the body and are used to prevent or treat disease or promote health and well-being.
Humans, and even Neanderthals, have used plants to treat their ailments for at least tens of thousands of years; most likely even longer than that.

The first written accounts of the use of herbs in medication originate in China, although all other civilisations from the ancient world were using plants as natural remedies for their ailments.  Western herbal medicine dates back to ancient Greece and its famous doctors like Hippocrates and Galen.

The 15th to 17th centuries were the most popular time for Herbal Medicine in Europe . Herbal remedies are still relatively popular today, mainly due to the fact that they are regarded as harmless because they are natural.

As herbal treatments have been around for so long, and in so many cultures, there are numerous ways that they are believed to work.  Many explanations lie in the mystical thinking of ancient cultures.  Some believe that the appearance of the plant gives an indication of what it can be used to treat; this physical resemblance between the plant and the body part to be cured is known as the "'Doctrine of Signatures"; a heart shaped plant would be used to treat heart problems, for example.

From the middle ages on, many practitioners have tried to classify herbal remedies by observation of their effects.  This is closer to the modern scientific approach of gathering evidence.

Eastern Herbal Medicine still adheres to the mystical approach in its theories whilst western herbalists tend to use herbs for the ingredients they contain; mixing and matching them in the way that conventional medicine does with modern drugs.

The four main branches of herbal medicine are:

•  The Western herbal tradition based on Greek, Roman and medieval sources

•  The Ayurvedic tradition of India (click to read more)

•  Chinese herbal medicine

•  Unani Medicine (click to read more)

 

Remedies are produced by either taking the whole plant, or just the part of the plant required and often mixing it with other plants.  They are usually boiled in water or alcohol, and made into: herbal teas; herbal decoctions; herbal syrup; herbal tincture; infused oils; salves & ointment/creams.

Although Homeopathy and Herbology ( Herbal Remedies ) are often confused with each other, they are actually quite distinct from each other.  Although some herbs are used in the preparation of homeopathic remedies the mechanisms by which they are meant to work are different.  In fact, they are the opposite of each other.

Author's Resource: Article by Dr Atiq Ahmad Bhatti
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