Also known as botanical medicine, herbalism derives it strength from the power and medicinal value of plants. Its origins date back before history was written or known to man and is steeped in lore and myth dating back to the oldest civilizations. In fact, over five thousand years ago, the Sumerians would use plants for medicine purposes, and so too, would Egyptians, using things like opium, castor oil, garlic, mint, and coriander to cure common ailments. Many of these plants are still used today to perform the same deeds. Even in the Old Testament, there is record of the usage of many plants, like wheat, rye, and mandrake to cure ailments.

Spreading to China, to the Middle Ages in Europe, and all over the world, the power of plants to heal continues to be a strong philosophy today, and there are typically four different approaches to using plants for a medicinal purpose. For one, it is used as a sort of magical remedy, one related to a shaman or someone with divine, mystical powers. Usually a person who uses plants to cure the ill is seen as someone with extra powers that ordinary people cannot tune into, and thus, this shaman is able to use these herbs and plants to connect and affect the spirit of the one who is sick. This is a popular motif among many societies as people believe that those who bear the ability to do it must be mystical or magical.

Another approach is the energetic approach, where people think the power is not on the administrator but in the herbs themselves, seeing them as energy containing substances that have the power to heal and give life forces into those who consume or come into contact with them. Another approach is the functional dynamic approach, which believes that herbs have a specific and special function. And finally, the chemical approach believes that herbs and plants contain chemical devices that could be great if combined with other things that will give them real value, in the example of pharmaceutical drugs that sweep the market, all with the intention of curing the sick. These people believe that though these drugs are best in emergent situations, the herbs have a much better long term effect if taken in their stead.

There are many kinds of plant remedies and herbal forms, such as tisanes, which are hot water extracts of an herb, like chamomile tea. And then there are things like vinegars, which has a solution of acetic acid. Then there are the decoctions, which are boiled extract of roots and barks, and then there are the essential oils such as the salves, balms, creams, and lotions, the beeswax lip balm, the creams, the topical agents that are all derived from plants, like aloe, and other kinds of natural healing salves. There are also the poultices and compresses, which take whole herbs and then crush them and add water before making a sort of bandage compress pack. There are also the macerates, which are the cold infusion of plants with stuff like sage and thyme which are then cut and mixed with cold water.

Author's Bio: 

Roberto Sedycias works as an IT consultant for PoloMercantil