Herbal Medicine

Herbal Medicine or Phytotherapy is the study of the use of extracts of natural origin as medicines or health-promoting agents. Phytotherapy is another term for “herbal medicine”. An herb is a plant or plant part used for its scent, flavor, or therapeutic properties. Herbal medicines are one type of dietary supplement. They are sold as tablets, capsules, powders, teas, extracts, and fresh or dried plants. People use herbal medicines to try to maintain or improve their health.

Herbal medicines differ from plant-derived medicines in standard pharmacology. Where standard pharmacology isolates an active compound from a given plant, phytotherapy aims to preserve the complexity of substances from a given plant with less processing.

Herbal Medicine is distinct from homeopathic medicine and avoids mixing plant and synthetic bio-active substances. Traditional phytotherapy is a synonym for herbalism and regarded as alternative medicine by much of Western medicine. Although the medicinal and biological effects of many plant constituents such as alkaloids (morphine, atropine etc.) have been proven through clinical studies, there is debate about the efficacy and the place of phytotherapy in Western medical therapies.

For more information, visit the British Herbal Medicine Association at http://bhma.info/

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