Herbalism – myth, medicine or magic?

In today’s modern, consumer-led society, fast living and increasing work loads combined with the pressure of building and sustaining successful personal relationships, this phrase is invariably the last item on the never-ending list of priorities. However, as the incidence of stress-related disorders continues to escalate among young professionals, health & well-being is an issue that should not be placed on the back burner, let alone be overlooked or ignored. Changes in society have impacted on work ethics, work patterns, loss of job security and enormous financial obligations. The NHS has not escaped changes either and whilst health professionals attempt to balance the ideology of healing the sick to the best of their ability within the constraints imposed by the pressure to cut costs, there has been an upsurge in the number of Complementary & Alternative (CAM) practices, of which herbal medicine is one.

This ancient and traditional form of medicine uses only plants either in their whole state or as plant extracts in the treatment of illness. Often herbal remedies are adopted as prophylactic measures in the enhancement and maintenance of health and well-being. The scientific study of this ancient art of healing has provided a wealth of information on the efficacy of plant remedies, their medicinal value and their importance in the treatment of current diseases. As health trends and attitudes veer towards nature, herbal medicine will continue to offer a serious alternative to conventional drug-based treatments.

Published in The Post Newspaper (latterly the African Echo: www.africanecho.co.uk) July 1999 page 29.