What is Western Herbal Medicine?
Herbal medicine is a traditional approach to health that has been practiced by all cultures on the Earth. It is the use of whole plant parts (as opposed to isolated constituents) that have medicinal value due to a complex synergy of the various biochemical components. These components can be extracted and applied with a variety methods depending on the plant chemistry and treatment aims, i.e. teas, topical creams etc. The most commonly effective method is as an alcohol extract in the form of oral liquid or tablet/capsule.
Western herbal medicine (WHM) is a specific modality within the umbrella of herbal medicine, that refers to a wholistic approach rooted primarily in European and North American traditions of healing. These days WHM incorporates a variety of "new" herbs from other parts of the world, especially Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurvedic medicine (from India).
Like most edible substances, the dosage determines the elixir or the poison; there is no inherent danger from WHM that is prescribed by qualified and knowledgeable practitioners with an understanding of what determines product quality (in the same way that medical doctors understand drugs). On the contrary, many complex disease states, particularly of a chronic nature, are more effectively treated by WHM than orthodox medicine. This is because WHM practitioners specifically seek to address the underlying cause of disease rather than simply masking uncomfortable symptoms as some modern drugs do. The scientific literature supporting the safety and effectiveness of WHM is significant and growing. Where no modern trials have yet been published, the substantial wisdom and experience of historical use informs the practitioner.
In WHM it is understood that no two bodies (or disease manifestations) are truly identical; each person has a unique set of physical, environmental, early life, and genetic factors that contribute to their disease experience and outcome. This is why a thorough understanding of each case is vital to individualizing treatment and getting powerful results. Further, WHM seeks to prevent disease so for those with a high risk factor for developing conditions have the opportunity to delay, reduce or prevent their onset of symptoms with the help of a skilled practitioner.