is one of the oldest forms of medicine and the forefather of conventional medicine. It differs from Homeopathy, which was founded in the 1950s and offers a different method of treatment. Herbs have been used by mankind as long as man has been on earth and is utilised in the form of plants (roots and leaves), trees and shrubs.
In the past local UK herbs were used to make balms, infusions, decoctions, waters and poultices. Many towns and villages had herbal experts who the locals would turn to, as the fees of physicians and surgeons were exorbitant. One such herbal expert, Nicholas Culpepper was an astrologer and apothecary, who treated many poor Londoners. Henry VIII was an avid user of herbs. In order to protect herbalists from physicians and surgeons who wanted to prevent them from plying their trade, he created the ‘Herbalists Charter’ in 1542. Unknown to many John Boot, the founder of Boots the Chemist was a herbalist who learned about herbs from his mother and opened his first botanical stop in Nottingham. This eventually morphed into the company we know today when patented drug medicines were added alongside herbal preparations.
Today modern Western Herbal medicine practitioners train to degree level in order to provide an integrative medicine approach and steer away from the ‘one size fits all’ method of treatment.
The effectiveness of herbal medicine is continuously being backed up by a growing body of medical research, much of which is now becoming recognised by conventional medicine.