Western Herbal Medicine is a traditional practice of herbalism that has evolved from North America and Europe. It is also know as Phytotherapy and Medical Herbalism. Its philosophy dates back to ancient Greece, with influences of Hippocrates and Galen. Its main refinement happened in 18thcentury with the different schools of thought of the Physiomedicalists and Eclectics.
Western Herbal Medicine is a “broad church” tradition, lending knowledge of healing from different sources and with Naturopathic precepts. Dr John Christopher, brought the essence of the philosophy into the 20 th century with his college, The School of Natural Healing, Utah, United States.
Herbal medicine in general is an organic approach to medicine, compared to some modern drugs. Modern drugs can lack the synergistic balance of the whole plant and some have side effects that 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. Western Herbal Medicine 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. For example, I wrote my dissertation on Arctium lappa (Burdock), research in 4 different in vitro papers, gave good evidence of its beneficial affects on cancer cells.