Plants have been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times, even since pre-recorded history. Evidence shows that plant-based medicines have been part of medical culture since 3000BC. While African and Native American tribes used herbs in their healing rituals, other cultures like Indian and Chinese developed more traditional usage for herbs used in medication. What is remarkable is that researchers found different cultures around the world used the same plants and herbs for similar medical treatments!
With the development of medicine through the centuries, science started being consulted for genuine properties and usage of herb in medicine. As time progressed, chemists began mixing their own concoctions of various herbs to be used for medicinal purposes and started selling it as mainstream medication to the masses.
History of Indian Herbal Medicines
The earliest settlers of the Land used to believe that illness and disease were a result of spirit or demonic possession, anger from the Gods and created superstitions around them that could not be proved, but was considered as a cause for a patient getting unwell. Plant based medication was in its rudimentary stages at this time and the almost magical cures that herbs could give were still being discovered.
It was during the post-Buddha thought revolution that people started to question and analyse medicine. They began using scientific methods, at least the earlier methods of those times, to categorize and classify herbs and their medicinal properties. Since Sanskrit was the language of the time, their observations and theses were written in that form. And thus was born Ayurveda.
From its inception to date, it is one of the most popular and widely used holistic forms of medicine. Using everyday ingredients with simple preparation methods, these medicines can be used and are known to cure a wide array of sickness starting from a common cold to more severe afflictions such as cancer and life-threatening diseases.
Ayurveda is very beneficial on its own, but when combined with other traditional ways of life such as Yoga and vegetarianism, it has been proved that a person can stay or come back to health with continuous practice.
History of Chinese Herbal Medicine
Thanks to the preservation of records such as The Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Interior Medicine, Shen Nong’s Canon of Herbs and the Compendium of Materia Medica today’s medical world can take a look at Chinese ancient treatments for illness.
The Chinese form of herbal medicine is known to have been founded thousands of years ago, long before there was any form of civilisation on the earth. Chinese have a concept of Yin and Yang – where one is the inner and negative force and the other is the outer and positive force. Now the Chinese believed that if there was no harmony between the two then illnesses would occur. This philosophy has in fact, been proved in other cultures in many ways and has been linked to the formation and the cure of cancer as well.
Chinese form of medicine includes mostly the use of barks and roots of plants as well as animal products like the Hawsbill turtle’s shell in their medicinal concoctions. While most of the ingredients are available in their dehydrated forms, the patient is required to boil it or place it in warm water for a while before consuming the “tea”.
Like Ayurveda, Chinese medicine may be consumed on its own, but the more long term effects are through introducing other Chinese forms of curing such as acupuncture and massage. Also, working on exercises that cause mental and emotional balance such as Tai Chi is also recommended for an inner and outer healing experience.