Herbal Medicine

Herbal Medicine

Naturopaths use traditional herbal medicine to treat certain conditions. These herbs are grown and the medicinal properties are usually extracted using alcohol.

The connection between humans and our search for plants in nature to treat diseases dates from the far past and spans across all cultures.

The oldest written evidence of medicinal plants’ usage for preparation of drugs has been found on a Sumerian clay slab from Nagpur, approximately 5000 years old. It comprised 12 recipes for drug preparation referring to over 250 various plants, some of them alkaloid such as poppy, henbane, and mandrake.

The Chinese book on roots and grasses “Pen T’Sao,” written by Emperor Shen Nung circa 2500 BC, treats 365 drugs (dried parts of medicinal plants), many of which are used even nowadays such as the following: Rhei rhisoma, camphor, Theae folium, Podophyllum, the great yellow gentian, ginseng, jimson weed, cinnamon bark, and ephedra.

The Indian holy books Vedas mention treatment with plants, which are abundant in that country. Numerous spice plants used even today originate from India: nutmeg, pepper, clove, etc.

The Ebers Papyrus, written circa 1550 BC, represents a collection of 800 proscriptions referring to 700 plant species and drugs used for therapy such as pomegranate, castor oil plant, aloe, senna, garlic, onion, fig, willow, coriander, juniper, common centaury, etc.

 Medicinal plants use a variety of parts of a plant – barks, seeds, fruit leaves, flowers, stem – depending on where the medicinal qualities lie and what the desired effect is.  Contemporary science acknowledges the active action of medicinal herbs and it has included in modern pharmacotherapy a range of drugs of plant origin. There are growing bodies of good quality research on medicinal herbs, their active constituents and their mechanism of action. 

Unlike pharmachological drugs – herbs work synergistically (two herbs together will enhance the effect of the other) and generally result in positive side effects. A herbal anti-inflammatory such as turmeric will have a positive impact on liver and gut health.

In many developing countries herbal medicine is the primary form of health care. 

Naturopath and Kinesiologist Laura Hickey will muscle test any herbs she prescribes for you to ensure they are compatible with your body and current condition.