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herbal medicine












What is an Herb?

            The word herb in herbal medicine refers to a plant or plant part that is used to make medicine, spices, or aromatic oils. An herb can be a leaf, flower, stern, seed, root, fruit, bark, or any other plant part used for its medicinal property[i]

            Herbs have provided humankind with medicine from the earliest beginnings of civilization. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have handed down their accu­mulated knowledge of the medicinal use of herbs to suc­cessive generations. This vast body of information serves as the basis for much of traditional medicine today.

            There are an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 plants on the earth today, but only about 5,000 have been extensively studied for their medicinal applications. "This illustrates the need for modern medicine and science to turn its attention to the plant world once again to find new medicines that might cure contemporary medical conditions," says Norman R. Farnsworth, Ph.D., Research Professor of Pharmacognosy at the University of Illinois, in Chicago. "Con­sidering that 121 prescription drugs come from only 90 species of plants, and that 74% of these were discovered by following the ancient herbal formulas, a logical person would have to say that there may still be more ‘jackpots’ out there."[ii]

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[Herbal Medicine] | [How Herbal Medicine Works]

[i] Herb Trade Association. "Definition of 'Herb'." (Austin, TX: Herb Trade Association, 1977).

[ii] M. Blumenthal. "Focus on Rain Forest Remedies." Herbal Gram 27 (1992), 8-10. R. Eisner. "Botanists Ply Trade in Tropics, Seeking Plant-Based Medi­cinals." The Scientist 4 (June 1991), 1, 4, 5, 25.

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