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Herbal MedicineThe world’s most ancient form of medicine, herbal medicine uses plant extracts from the stems, leaves, flowers, roots, bark, fruits and seeds to treat illnesses, relieve common problems and restore health.
Every ancient civilisation, including China, Egypt and Tibet, used plants for healing and in some cultures people believed that herbal knowledge was handed down from the gods. Studies of herbs and their medicinal qualities were important in ancient civilisations and much of the knowledge learned then is still used today.
Herbal medicine is available as ointments, powders, pills, capsules, lozenges, liquid medicine, and even teas, and it is believed that this form of medicine treats the whole person not just the individual symptoms by stimulating the body’s natural healing powers.
Research shows that different herbal ingredients have specific physical effects, such as calming and relaxing or stimulating and warming. In addition, certain herbs can benefit specific conditions. For example, ginger is used to relieve nausea and it is now used on patients with morning or travel sickness, while valerian has a relaxing effect and is used to treat people with anxiety and insomnia.
Within the herbal medicine category there are a number of different types, which are usually defined by the culture in which they were developed. Herbal therapies include Chinese medicine, which classifies herbs according to their taste and their effect on different internal organs, and Western herbal medicine, which believes that each herb contains ingredients that prevent side effects as well as those that cure.
It is worth noting here that just because a herb is a natural ingredient doesn’t mean it is safe – some plants are highly toxic or can have side effects, and that is why it is always best to seek advice from a practicing herbal doctor or a well known herbal medicine shop.
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