As a practitioner of Chinese Medicine – both Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine – I am invested in herbal medicine and its use and application. As such, I am going to write a series of articles on the subject of herbal medicine, which is truly the oldest form of medicine on the planet.
Having good health and wellness practices in your life are so basic to living a vital life full of energy, zest, purpose and fulfillment.
And good health and wellness practices are basic to living a Low Density Lifestyle – the better you feel, the more you feel less dense and in the flow.
And achieving good health and healthy living are not that complicated to do, although it seems to be something out of the reach of most people.
A whole foods-oriented diet, movement, attitude, stress management, energy practices – such as acupuncture, reiki, yoga and tai chi – and feeling a sense of fulfillment are key ingredients to healthy living and living a Low Density Lifestyle.
Drug therapy has only been around in recent times. On the contrary, Herbal Medicine, which is nature’s medicine cabinet, is the oldest form of medicine.
Many drugs are made from herbs. For instance, inulin comes from the roots of dahlias, quinine from the cinchona, morphine and codeine from the poppy, digoxin from the foxglove, and aspirin from meadowsweet (aspirin also owes a big thanks to willow bark, which contains salicin, which is converted in the body into salicylic acid).
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.
The word drug itself comes from the Dutch word “druug” (via the French word Drogue), which means “dried plant.”
The use of herbs as medicine has been around as long as humans have walked the earth, but for many people, they have lost track of their roots (no pun intended). Herbal Medicine has been used by most cultures in every continent on earth as part of their traditional healing practices.
From the Sumerians and Traditional Egyptian Medicine, to Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine, to the ancient Greeks and Romans, to Hippocrates and European Medicine, and to indigenous people all over the world, herbs have always been seen as an essential aid in helping a person heal.
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.
To this day, herbal remedies are very common in Europe. In Germany, herbal medications are dispensed by apothecaries. Prescription drugs are sold alongside essential oils, herbal extracts, or herbal teas.
In the United Kingdom, the training of medical herbalists is done by state funded Universities. 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.
So what has happened? Why are herbs the forgotten orphan of medicine and healing?
Because we have come to deify the modern medical approach of drugs and surgery for all health issues, whereas in actuality modern medicine is at its best in emergency situations – that’s when the use of a drug makes more sense than the use of an herb.
But for chronic health problems, a different approach is needed. One that stresses natural remedies.
And when natural remedies are used, herbal medicine must always be part of the approach.
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