Herbalism

Herbalism (“herbology” or “herbal medicine”) is use of plants for medicinal purposes, and the study of such use. Plants have been the basis for medical treatments through much of human history, and such traditional medicine is still widely practiced today.

 

A herbalist is:

  1. A person whose life is dedicated to the economic or medicinal uses of plants.
  2. One skilled in the harvesting and collection of medicinal plants (see wildcrafter).
  3. Traditional Chinese herbalist: one who is trained or skilled in the dispensing of herbal prescriptions; traditional Chinese herb doctor. Similarly, traditional Ayurvedic herbalist: one who is trained or skilled in the dispensing of herbal prescriptions in the Ayurvedic tradition.
  4. One trained or skilled in the therapeutic use of medicinal plants.
  5. One who is skilled in the preparation/manufacture of dried and/or liquid herbal products who possesses a pharmacognostic, formulary and/or clinical understanding of the products being prepared/manufactured.

Herbalists must learn many skills, including the wildcrafting or cultivation of herbs, diagnosis and treatment of conditions or dispensing herbal medication, and preparations of herbal medications. Education of herbalists varies considerably in different areas of the world. Lay herbalists and traditional indigenousmedicine people generally rely upon apprenticeship and recognition from their communities in lieu of formal schooling.

 

L0002099 Caelius Aurelianus: herbs given to the sick Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org Sick people being treated with herbs. Engraving and text De morbis acutis et chronicis Caelius Aurelianus Published: 1709 Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

L0002099 Caelius Aurelianus: herbs given to the sick
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images
images@wellcome.ac.uk
http://wellcomeimages.org
Sick people being treated with herbs.
Engraving and text
De morbis acutis et chronicis
Caelius Aurelianus
Published: 1709
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

 

Four approaches to the use of plants as medicine include:[64]

  1. The magical/shamanic—Almost all societies, with the exception of cultures influenced by Western-style industrialization, recognize this kind of use. The practitioner is regarded as endowed with gifts or powers that allow him/her to use herbs in a way that is hidden from the average person, and the herbs are said to affect the spirit or soul of the person.
  2. The energetic—This approach includes the major systems of Traditional Chinese MedicineAyurveda, and Unani. Herbs are regarded as having actions in terms of their energies and affecting the energies of the body. The practitioner may have extensive training, and ideally be sensitive to energy, but need not have supernatural powers.
  3. The functional dynamic—This approach was used by early physiomedical practitioners, whose doctrine forms the basis of contemporary practice in the UK. Herbs have a functional action, which is not necessarily linked to a physical compound, although often to a physiological function, but there is no explicit recourse to concepts involving energy.
  4. The chemical—Modern practitioners – called Phytotherapists – attempt to explain herb actions in terms of their chemical constituents. It is generally assumed that the specific combination of secondary metabolites in the plant are responsible for the activity claimed or demonstrated, a concept called synergy.

 

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List of common plants used in Herbalism

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  • Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) Kratom is known to prevent or delay withdrawal symptoms in an opioid-dependent individual, and it is often used to mitigate cravings thereafter. It can also be used for other medicinal purposes. Kratom has been traditionally used in regions such as Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.
  • Kanna (Sceletium tortuosum) African treatment for depression. Suggested to be an SSRI or have similar effects, but unknown mechanism of activity.

L

M

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  • Oregano (Origanum vulgare) Used as an abortifacient in folk medicine in some parts of Bolivia and other northwestern South American countries, though no evidence of efficacy exists in Western medicine. Hippocrates used oregano as an antiseptic, as well as a cure for stomach and respiratory ailments. A Cretan oregano (O. dictamnus) is still used today in Greece as a palliative for sore throat. Evidence of efficacy in this matter is lacking.

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  • Passion Flower (Passiflora) – Thought to have Anti-depressant properties. Unknown MOA. Used in traditional medicine to aid with sleep or depression.

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  • Syrian Rue (aka Harmal) (Peganum harmala) – MAOI. Can be used as an antidepressant, but carries significant risk. Used in traditional shamanistic rites in the amazon, and is a component of Ayahuasca, Caapi or Yajé (which is actually usually Banisteriopsis caapi but has the same active alkaloids).

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Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbalism

http://www.atms.com.au/modalities/herbal-medicine/

http://studiobotanica.com/what-is-herbalism-anyway/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_plants_used_in_herbalism

About Ds 💜works

Visual explorer since analog times, I'm in constant REcreation of my own 💜titudes, expressing them through mixed media poems and visual crafts.

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