Gloria’s Cottage Craft HERBAL PRODUCTS
Herbal medicine (also herbalism) is the study of the botany and use of medicinal plants. Plants have been the basis for medical treatments through much of human history, and such traditional medicine is still widely practiced today. Modern medicine makes use of many plant-derived compounds as the basis for evidence-based pharmaceutical drugs. Although herbalism may apply modern standards of effectiveness testing to herbs and medicines derived from natural sources, few high-quality clinical trials and standards for purity or dosage exist. The scope of herbal medicine is sometimes extended to include fungal and bee products, as well as minerals, shells and certain animal parts.
Herbal medicine is also called phytomedicine or phytotherapy. Paraherbalism describes alternative and pseudoscientific practices of using unrefined plant or animal extracts as unproven medicines or health-promoting agents. Paraherbalism differs from plant-derived medicines in standard pharmacology because it does not isolate or standardize biologically active compounds, but rather relies on the belief that preserving various substances from a given source with less processing is safer or more effective – for which there is no evidence. Herbal dietary supplements most often fall under the phytotherapy category.
Gloria’s Cottage Craft HERBAL PRODUCTS.
Archaeological evidence indicates that the use of medicinal plants dates back to the Paleolithic age, approximately 60,000 years ago. Written evidence of herbal remedies dates back over 5,000 years to the Sumerians, who compiled lists of plants. Some ancient cultures wrote about plants and their medical uses in books called herbals. In ancient Egypt, herbs are mentioned in Egyptian medical papyri, depicted in tomb illustrations, or on rare occasions found in medical jars containing trace amounts of herbs. Among the oldest, lengthiest, and most important medical papyri of ancient Egypt, the Ebers Papyrus dates from about 1550 BC, and covers more than 700 compounds, mainly of plant origin. The earliest known Greek herbals came from Theophrastus of Eresos who, in the 4th century BC, wrote in Greek Historia Plantarum, from Diocles of Carystus who wrote during the 3rd century BC, and from Krateuas who wrote in the 1st century BC. Only a few fragments of these works have survived intact, but from what remains, scholars noted overlap with the Egyptian herbals. Seeds likely used for herbalism were found in archaeological sites of Bronze Age China dating from the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC). Over a hundred of the 224 compounds mentioned in the Huangdi Neijing, an early Chinese medical text, are herbs. Herbs also commonly featured in the traditional medicine of ancient India, where the principal treatment for diseases was diet. De Materia Medica, originally written in Greek by Pedanius Dioscorides (c. 40–90 AD) of Anazarbus, Cilicia, a Greek physician, pharmacologist and botanist, is one example of herbal writing which was used for 1500 years until the 1600s.
Gloria’s Cottage Craft HERBAL PRODUCTS
Modern herbal medicine
Paraherbalism is the pseudoscientific use of extracts of plant or animal origin as supposed medicines or health-promoting agents. Phytotherapy differs from plant-derived medicines in standard pharmacology because it does not isolate and standardize the compounds from a given plant believed to be biologically active. It relies on the false belief that preserving the complexity of substances from a given plant with less processing is safer and potentially more effective, for which there is no evidence either condition applies.
Phytochemical researcher Varro Eugene Tyler described paraherbalism as “faulty or inferior herbalism based on pseudoscience”, using scientific terminology but lacking scientific evidence for safety and efficacy. Tyler listed ten fallacies that distinguished herbalism from paraherbalism, including claims that there is a conspiracy to suppress safe and effective herbs, herbs can not cause harm, that whole herbs are more effective than molecules isolated from the plants, herbs are superior to drugs, the doctrine of signatures (the belief that the shape of the plant indicates its function) is valid, dilution of substances increases their potency (a doctrine of the pseudoscience of homeopathy), astrological alignments are significant, animal testing is not appropriate to indicate human effects, anecdotal evidence is an effective means of proving a substance works and herbs were created by God to cure disease. Tyler suggests that none of these beliefs have any basis in fact.
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Up to 80% of the population in Africa uses traditional medicine as primary health care.
Native Americans medicinally used about 2,500 of the approximately 20,000 plant species that are native to North America.
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