Herbal medicine uses plants, or mixtures of plant extracts, to treat illness and promote health.
The two most common types used in the UK are Western and Chinese herbal medicine.
Herbal medicine aims to restore your body's ability to protect, regulate and heal itself. It is a whole body approach that looks at your physical, mental and emotional well being. It is sometimes called phytomedicine, phytotherapy or botanical medicine.
Many modern drugs are made from plants. But herbalists don’t extract plant substances in the way the drug industry does. Herbalists believe that the remedy works due to the delicate chemical balance of the whole plant, or mixtures of plants, not one particular active ingredient.
The two most common types of herbal medicine used in the UK are Western and Chinese herbal medicine. Less common types include Tibetan or Ayurvedic medicine (Indian).
africa herbal medicine
Africa herbal medicine focuses on the whole person rather than their illness. So the herbalist looks at your personal health history, family history, diet and lifestyle.
Africa herbal therapies are usually made from herbs that grow in Europe and North America but also use herbs from China and India.
Herbalists use remedies made from whole plants or plant parts to help your body heal itself or reduce the side effects of medical treatments.
herbal medicine is part of a whole system of medicine called Traditional Medicine (TM).
TM aims to restore the balance of your Qi (pronounced chee). TM practitioners believe that Qi is the flow of energy in your body, and is essential for good health.
herbalists use plants according to how they affect a particular part of the body or energy channel.
traditional breathing and movement exercises called qi gong (pronounced chee goong)
movement exercises called tai chi (pronounced tie chee)
TM uses hundreds of medicinal substances. Most of these are plants but there are also some minerals and animal products.
Practitioners may use different parts of plants such as the leaves, roots, stems, flowers or seeds. Usually, herbs are combined and you take them as teas, capsules, tinctures, or powders.
Why people with cancer use herbal medicine
Herbal medicine is one of the most commonly used complementary and alternative therapies by people with cancer. Some studies have shown that as many as 6 out of every 10 people with cancer (60%) use herbal remedies alongside conventional cancer treatments.
People have used herbal medicine for centuries to treat many different health conditions. It is often promoted as a natural way to help you relax and cope with anxiety and depression. Or, to help with other conditions such as hay fever, irritable bowel syndrome, menstrual (period) problems and eczema.
As with most types of complementary or alternative therapy, some people might use it to help themselves feel better or more in control of their situation.
A 2014 study in the UK surveyed people with cancer who use herbal medicines. It found that most of the people used herbal medicines to feel more in control and to have some responsibility for their treatment. They also felt the therapies wouldn't cause side effects.