Herbal medicine is the art and science of using herbs for promoting health and preventing and treating illness.
Herbal medicines are prepared from living or dried plants and contain hundreds to thousands of interrelated compounds. Science is beginning to demonstrate that the safety and effectiveness of herbs is often related to the synergy of its many constituents.
Most herbs sold as dietary supplements are very safe. When used appropriately, the majority of herbs used by practitioners have no adverse side effects.
The primary focus of the herbalist is to treat people as individuals irrespective of the disease or condition they have and to stimulate their innate healing power through the use of such interventions as herbs, diet and lifestyle.
Herbs are also used for the symptomatic relief of minor ailments.
The success of herbal treatment always depends upon a variety of factors including how long the condition has existed, the severity of the condition, the dosage and mode of administration of the herb(s) and how diligently treatment plans are followed.
Opinions on the efficacy of herbal therapy range from complete skepticism to full confidence in the healing properties of herbs. While some herbs serve as the basis for a number of Western medications, other herbs do not as yet have the backing of scientific proof that they are as effective as folklore claims them to be. Still, there are many people who claim to have found relief from various ailments using herbs after receiving little or no relief from modern medicine.