History of Herbal Medicine

The history of herbal medicine is centuries old and probably no one knows the actual origin of their use. However, the written statement found in the herbal medicine was 2800 B.C. in China. Another authentic herbal record is present in Greek which is about 400 B.C. old and it was written by Hippocrates. He proposed the idea that herbs, exercise, and proper diet could play an important role in the improvement of human health. In 50 A.D. Roman Empire endorsed the value of herbs and started cultivating it at a large sector while the first classification of the herbal medicine was prepared by practitioner Galen in 200 A.D.

800 A.D. was the time when monks entered in the field and started using herbs for the treatment of sick and injured people. The importance of herbs increased a lot as devotees happily followed the practices of monks and used to accept the values set by them. Afterwards, Arabs paid heed towards the herbal medicine and 1100 A.D. was the year when Arab world earned a great name and influence in medicine. Avicenna wrote a book Canon of Medicine in which he mentioned the importance of herbs and their respective benefits. Arab physicians worked wholeheartedly in this field and unveiled the countless benefits of herbs and decoctions.

In 1200 A.D., Black Death spread in Europe and herbs seemed insufficient for the treatment of deep wounds and bleedings. To control death rate, physicians started using medicines along with herbs and it showed better results. The use of Arsenic and Mercury was introduced during this tenure.  Henry VII officially supported herbalists in 1500 A.D. and appointed some experts in the parliament to discourage the physicians who were giving substandard treatment to the people. 1600 A.D. was the time when people started categorizing herbs and mineral extracts as medicine for the poor and medicine for the rich respectively. The extracts of plants and animals were used for the treatment of wealthy people and doctors used to pay immense attention in the preparation of drugs. In the same year, English Physician introduced his book which explained the importance of herbs and the way to use them in the best possible way.

The popularity of herbal medicines significantly decreased in 1800 A.D. when pharmaceutical emerged as a successful and immediate solution of the various diseases. However, the possible side effects of pharmaceutical medicines again favored the herbal medicines. National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH) formed for the comprehensive research and better manufacturing of herbs. World War I became a cause of the lack of drugs and doctors had to rely on the herbal medicines again. After the World War I, penicillin was discovered and it was a great achievement in the field of medical science. In 2000, A.D., proper action and regulation like the pharmaceutical became mandatory.

The future or herbal medicines are bright as people seek alternative of pharmaceutical medicines due to the several effects of allopathic medicines. Herbal medicines are natural and better for traditional illness.