Western herbal medicine is also know as phytotherapy and medical herbalism. It is a traditional practice that has evolved from North America and Europe. The philosophy dates back to ancient Greece, with ideas and philosophies of Hippocrates and Galen. Its main influences and refinement happened in 18thcentury with the different schools of thought of the Physiomedicalists and Eclectics.
WHM is a “broad church” tradition, lending knowledge of healing from different sources with naturopathic precepts. A figure among many modern Western Herbalists, Dr John Christopher, brought the essence of the philosophy into the 20st century with The School of Natural Healing.
Herbal medicine in general is an organic approach to medicine, compared to some modern drugs. Modern drugs can lack the synergistic balance of a whole plant product and can adversely affect the stomach, liver and kidneys. Therefore the natural balance of biochemical constituents within a herb is a more gentle approach to internal medicine.
Herbal medicine is holistic if used correctly. Herbs are supportive in their actions, they will optimise the body’s natural function to repair and heal itself. WHM herbs are prescribed according to a classification of their action on the different organs and their effect on the different tissues of the body.
There is a misconception that herbs do not work or have no scientific evidence for their efficacy, this is incorrect, there are many in vivo and in vitro study’s that back up claims of the traditional herbal indications. Herbal medicine is different from homeopathy. Homeopathy uses diluted natural products, using a different philosophy of healing, where the medicine has similar characteristics to the disorder.