Medicinal herbs have been used for thousands of years in treating a wide range of common health problems. These illnesses range anywhere from the common cold to circulatory diseases. Herbs are selected to treat each ailment depending on their active ingredients and how the human body reacts to them.
The first recorded use of herbal medicines was in 2800BC in the Pen Ts'ap by Shen Nung. Around 400BC, Hippocrates described herbs, when accompanied by exercise and good health, as being the cornerstones of health. Around 200AD, the herbal practitioner, Galen, developed a classification of illnesses along with their remedies.
Herbal medicines continued to grow more popular throughout the years proving their effectiveness, until the 1600sAD. At this point in time, herbs were seen as being treatment for the poor, where as the rich used 'dugs'. Herbs continued to be replaced until World War I when drugs were in short supply and medicinal herbs were used extensively.
Their uses have been developing over the years and still remain a part of our culture.
Overview of Medicinal Herbs
Most herbs have several actions and can be combined with others, catering to the patient's needs. Herbs are selected for their actions, rather than for a disease or condition. Eczema, for example, may need more than a relieving cream. Instead of treating the eczema directly, herbs may be used to stimulate circulations curing the eczema.
Increased circulation is usually achieved by increasing the efficiency of the liver. Active livers produce more bile, encouraging better digestion and allowing a better elimination of waste through the bowel.
The herbs used for increased liver function are known as bitters. They are usually taken as tonics and are used to aid sluggish digestion, constipation, diabetes, skin conditions, and chronic inflammations. In contrast to stimulating the body's functioning,