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Western herbal medicine

Related Terms

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Background

  • Western herbal medicine involves using plants and plant material to create medicines to help prevent or treat various illnesses. These materials may use some or all parts of a plant, such as flowers, roots, fruits, leaves, and bark.
  • This modality emphasizes the use of European and Native American herbs; however, herbs from other parts of the world are sometimes used as well.
  • Traditional Western herbal medicine evolved mostly from the ancient Greeks, who were strongly influenced by Egyptian and Middle Eastern civilizations. Western herbal medicine also has roots in the indigenous practices of the British Isles and ancient Roman traditions. Well-known historical physicians including Hippocrates and Galen are thought to have used herbal medicine in their practices. The use of various herbal formulas is one of the oldest and possibly the most widespread form of medicine.
  • Herbal remedies are used for many suggested purposes, such as improvement or general support of digestive, respiratory, circulatory, immune, endocrine, and nervous system processes. Herbs are also used to purportedly remove waste and toxins from bodily cells or topically to promote healing of the skin.
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Technique

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Theory/Evidence

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Safety

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.