Herbal medicine or dietary supplements, also called botanical medicine, refers to using a plant’s seeds, roots, leaves, berries, flowers, or bark for medicinal purposes. Plants have been the basis for medical treatments through much of human history, and such traditional medicine is still widely practiced today. Modern medicine recognizes herbalism as a form of alternative medicine as the practice of herbalism is not strictly based on evidence gathered using the scientific method.
Modern medicine, does, however, make use of many plant-derived compounds as the basis for evidence-tested pharmaceutical drugs works to apply modern standards of effectiveness testing to herbs and medicines that are derived from natural sources.Herbalism has a long tradition of use outside of conventional medicine. It is becoming more mainstream as improvements in analysis and quality control along with advances in clinical research show the value of herbal medicine in the treating and preventing disease.
Dietary Supplements Use Increasing Dramatically
The use of herbal or dietary supplements has increased dramatically over the past 30 years. Nearly one-third of Americans use herbs in dietary supplements. Herbal supplements are classified as dietary supplements by the U.S. Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994.
Plants had been used for medicinal purposes long before recorded history. Ancient Chinese and Egyptian papyrus writings describe medicinal uses for plants as early as 3,000 BC. Indigenous cultures (such as African and Native American) used herbs in their healing rituals, while others developed traditional medical systems (such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine) in which herbal therapies were used. Researchers found that people in different parts of the world tended to use the same or similar plants for the same purposes.
The herbs available in most stores come in several different forms: teas, syrups, oils, liquid extracts, tinctures, and dry extracts (pills or capsules). Teas can be made from dried herbs left to soak for a few minutes in hot water, or by boiling herbs in water and then straining the liquid. Syrups, made from concentrated extracts and added to sweet tasting preparations, are often used for sore throats and coughs. Oils are extracted from plants and often used as rubs for massage, either by themselves or as part of an ointment or cream. Tinctures and liquid extracts are made of active herbal ingredients dissolved in a liquid usually water, alcohol, or glycerol.
Companies like Vimacel™ a division of Exican Life Sciences is one company that has done years of research into formulating and producing quality plant derived dietary supplements. Mike Keeler, owner and president of Vimacel™ worked for a pharmaceutical company for a decade in which he developed extensive knowledge of the human body’s immune system.
Vimacel™ has a full line of products available on their Vimacel™ website.