Plant medicine is also known as herbalism or traditional medicine. It is the study of the herbal actives found in leaves, flowers, bark, or roots of certain plants. The study of the use of such actives or chemical compounds has been the basis for medical treatments throughout human history; a practice still widely used today.
Our ancestors discovered that some plants did more than nourish the body; they found that some could help people recover from whatever was making them sick. Archaeological evidence shows the use of medicinal plants dating back to the Paleolithic age, about 60,000 years ago.
Ayurvedic medicine, practiced by the people of India for more than 5,000 years, gave us the power of turmeric with a plethora of benefits.
Ayurvedic also teaches about hundreds of herbs and spices among them, Neem. The Neem tree is the local go-to pharmacy for the Hindu people.
The second oldest practice and use of plant knowledge is Traditional Chinese Medicine, which has been in continuous use for more than 4,000 years. TCM’s notable contributions are Ginseng and He Shou Wo – both powerful, ancient herbs.
The third oldest herbal practice and use is The Herbolaria Mexicana which has been continuously used for more than 3,000 years by the Olmec, Toltec, and Aztec cultures. Herbolaria Mexicana also provides us with hundreds of medicinal herbs and spices. One notable root – Chilcoatl – is a potent analgesic, antibiotic, antiviral, anesthetic, and much more.
In the western world, especially in the U.S, allopathic medicine took over and holistic medicine, viewed as old-fashioned and unscientific was pushed more and more into oblivion. In Europe and Asia, with centuries of holistic practices, both schools of thought and medicinal practices are accepted and sometimes integrated.
Allopathic medicine promotes the belief that most disease is caused by one or more pathogens invading the body and that an anti-pathogen can destroy the invader and heals the body. Often allopathic medicines can create side effects almost as disastrous as the disease itself.