Herbal medicine (botanical medicine/phytotherapy /phytomedicine) is the use of a plant or a part of a plant for healing purposes. The herbal remedy may come from the leaf, flower, stem, seed, root, fruit or bark of the plant. Plants can be used to treat wounds and manyother conditions.
Herbs are considered to be the most ancient way of healing. Herbs have been used in many traditional cultures & have had a major influence on many systems of medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine, Indian medicine, Native American and Indigenous Australian medicine,as well as conventional medicine are all influenced by herbs.
Roman's, Egyptian's, Persian's and Hebrew cultures show that herbs were used to treat almost every known illness. Also, many prescription medicines used today came from trees, shrubs or herbs.
Herbal medicine is still used worldwide today. There are still many types of herbal medicine that were developed by different cultures around the world. In Australia, the most common types are traditional Chinese, Ayurvedic, Indigenous and Western (European) herbal medicine. All forms of herbal medicine involves plants, however they vary in what plants are used, as well as how they prepare and apply them.
The Ancient Egyptians burned incense made with aromatic woods, herbs and spices in honor of their Gods. They felt that while the smoke rose up in the air, it would carry their prayers and wishes directly to the deities. Long before that, our ancestors burnt aromatic herbs and scented woods to clear evil spirits from people who were physically or mentally ill.
During 2650 to 2575 BC, Ancient Egyptians used myrrh, frankincense, galbanum, cinnamon, cedarwood and juniper berry to preserve the bodies of royalty that had passed on in order to prepare them for the after life.
Ancient Egyptians loved using fragrances on a daily basis. Women wore perfumed cones on their heads, which melted once heated, and then released wonderful fragrances. Also, after bathing they rubbed perfume oil all over their bodies to protect them from the sun and to keep their skin rejuvenated. Egypt's perfume industry was known as the finest in the world- so much so that when julius caesar returned back to Greece after conquering Egypt in 48BC, he threw perfume bottles into the crowd to show his domination over Egypt .
Although herbal medicine is classed as alternative healing in most Western countries, it remains the only form of medicine widely available to most of the world’s population.