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Posted: 15th April 2019

Subject: Complementary Therapies / Sub-category: Herbal Medicine

An Overview – Herbal Medicine

Herbalism (also herbal medicine) is the study of botany and use of plants intended for medicinal purposes. Plants have been the basis for medical treatments through much of human history, and such traditional medicine is still widely practiced today. Modern medicine makes use of many plant-derived compounds as the basis for evidence-based pharmaceutical drugs. Although herbalism may apply modern standards of effectiveness testing to herbs and medicines derived from natural sources, few high-quality clinical trials and standards for purity or dosage exist. The scope of herbal medicine is sometimes extended to include fungal and bee products, as well as minerals, shells and certain animal parts.

Herbal medicine may also refer to phytomedicine, phytotherapy, or paraherbalism, which are alternative and pseudoscientific practices of using unrefined plant or animal extracts as supposed medicines or health-promoting agents. Phytotherapy differs from plant-derived medicines in standard pharmacology because it does not isolate or standardise biologically active compounds, but rather relies on the false belief that preserving various substances from a given source with less processing is safer or more effective — for which there is no evidence. Herbal dietary supplements most often fall under the phytotherapy category.

Herbal Medicine Lead Body

For more information, please select Lead Body – Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council in Resources on the left, to be redirected to the site.