Herbalism and Herbology
Western herbalism, like the much older system of traditional
Chinese Medicine, is a form of the healing arts that draw from
the herbal traditions of Europe, the Americas and parts of Asia. Both
Western and Eastern forms of herbalism emphasize the study and
use of naturally occurring compounds in plants in the treatment
and prevention of illness.
Western herbalism is based upon "pharmocognosy", the study of
natural products. Pharmocognosy includes the identification,
extraction methods, and applications of specific plant
constituents responsible for specific therapeutic actions,
such as the use of digoxin from digitalis leaf for heart
failure. These constituents are extracted, purified and
studied in clinical research. They may be concentrated to
deliver standardized, set doses. Sometimes, the natural
constituent can be synthesized in the laboratory, or changed
and patented. Practitioners may choose to use fresh medicinal
plants, simple extracts, or standardized extracts.
Over 2,500 years ago Hippocrates wrote, "In medicine one
must pay attention not to plausible theorizing but to
experience and reason together." This Greek physician
and herbalist from the fourth century B.C. is considered
the father of Western medicine.(Hence the "Hippocratic
Oath" came into being.)
Hippocrates stressed the importance of proper diet,
water quality, climate, and the social environment
in the development of disease. He believed in
treating the whole person rather than merely isolating
and treating symptoms. He recognized the innate capacity
of the body to heal itself, and emphasized the importance
of keen observation in the medical practice. He recommended
simple herbal remedies to assist the body in restoring health.
"Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine
shall be thy food.
"Foolish the doctor who despises the
knowledge acquired by the ancients." ~Hippocrates
The richness of herbal medicine is apparent when you consider
its history of use. In the first century AD, the Roman
army doctor Dioscorides put together an amazing text,
which became known as
De Materia Medica,
which outlined a huge number of medicinal plants and set the
stage for similar texts for hundred of years to come.
Homeopathy differs from Herbology in that it is based on the premise
that minute dosages of plant,animal or mineral toxins can stimulate
the body's various defense systems to respond to disease symptoms.
In reality, Homeopathy is a natural pharmaceutical science that
utilizes substances from the plant, mineral, and animal kingdoms
and is based on the premise that these naturally occurring substances
can cure disease symptoms similar to those they produce
if taken in overdose. Each medicine is individually prescribed
according to how it stimulates the immune and defense systems
of the sick person.
The founder of homeopathy was a physician from Germany named
Samuel Hahnemann. He was born in 1755. Deeply disturbed
in his medical convictions by the weakness of the therapeutic
practices of the period, he gave up his medical practice to
explore other alternatives and deepen his understanding.
Thus in 1790, while translating the 'materia medica' of a
Scottish doctor by the name of Cullen his attention was drawn
to an article discussing quinine. He found by experimenting
on himself that the Chinchona bark (the source for Quinine)
would cause toxicological symptoms such as fever attacks and
various other disorders similar to those which it
cured when used in small doses.
Struck by this concidence, Hahnemann continued
to experiment and verified that this reaction
mode observed with quinine could be
repeated with many other substances. It was therefore no longer a
"coincidence" but the considered a valid General Law.
Homeopathy is widely used in Europe today and is gaining more
and more popularity in the United States. Homeopathic
preparations are commercially available at most Health Food or
Natural Food stores and are quite inexpensive.
Glendive, Montana 59330
"Reiki Montana" is devoted to providing information regarding natural health and
healing, including Reiki, Energy healing, meditation and relaxation. It is for
informational purposes only. Please visit our "Find a Practitioner"
page to locate an active practitioner near you.
Updated Monday 6/5/2017 10:02PM Mountain Time