Herbal medicines or herbalism is a traditional, ancient medicinal practice by usage of herbs and herb extracts. People across the world have long been using the herbs for treatment of various ailments due to their medicinal properties. Most herbs and spices which are used by humans for seasoning in food are actually good sources that give useful medicinal compounds.
In recent years, the use of herbal medicines and the search for such medicinal herbs have increased. Botanists, Microbiologists and Pharmacologists are in the hunt for phytochemicals which could be used for treating various diseases. There are plenty of modern drugs in the market that are actually derived from herbs. Medicinal herbs can be used by anybody in various forms. For instance, they can form part of a salad, or can be used as herbal tea or herbal supplement. But certain herbs that are proven to be dangerous are not to be sold in public. The various forms in which herbal medicines can be used are:
Herbal Tea “ Can be made in two ways, either by steeping the light stem, flowers or leaves in boiled water for a few minutes (known as Infusion) or by boiling the bark, roots and such hard parts of the plant for a long period of time (known as decoction). There are various herbal teas that form good home remedies for various ailments and they can also be used as an alternative to regular tea/coffee.
Herbal Tincture “ Made by steeping the medicinal plant in extracts of alcohol which can be stored for long durations. Sometimes several herbal tinctures can be combined to form an individual prescription.
Fluid Extracts and Solid Extracts – Are stronger herbal tinctures made by using glycerin and alcohol.
Herbal Poultices “ Are used for external application and are made of pure vegetable fat and are solid by nature. They are made instantly for local application.
Herbal powders and Herbal tablets “ The plants are dried and the medicinal parts of the plant are powdered and administered in the form of powder or are put into empty pills and administered as tablets.
Herbal Ointments “ made by combining various carrier oils, with petroleum jelly as a base. Is used only for local application and is greasy or semi-solid in nature.
Herbal Essential Oils “ Essential oils are obtained by extracting aromatic compounds from herbs or plants or by extracting the liquid plant materials. Certain forms of herbal medicine use it internally. It is also used in Aromatherapy as a natural treatment for joint pain, skin diseases, headache etc.
Herbal Supplements “ are commercial products marketed in the form of capsule or tablets for selling in retail outlets for catering to needs of general public.