There are many herbalists that rely on gathering ( wildcrafting) their own herbs from fields, mountains and streams. The modern herbalist might use a blend of cultural or traditional practices. Growers, practitioners, educators and small to larger manufacturer’s all consider themselves herbalists. A blending of the old and new is now taking place.
Herbal medicine employs many different types of plants ranging in strength from herbs, which can be taken with relative safety, to plants that may have toxicity and should be used only by trained professionals. In the United States herbal medicine usually refers to the use of plants that are indigenous to Europe and Northern America. There are, on the other hand, many different disciplines of herbal medicine including Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which uses plants native to China and Asia and Ayurvedic herbal medicine, which uses plants native to India. Herbal Medicine is the oldest known form of medicine and has been around since the earliest writings of our ancestors in the treatment of the common maladies that our early relations regularly encountered. Every culture utilized some form of herbal medicine. In fact, medical doctors in the United States were trained in herbal medicine up until the early 1900’s. Herbology is the foundation that all our modern day pharmaceuticals are based upon (1).
Global Herbology includes eight different approaches to Herbology.
They consist of: the Ayurverdic Medical Theory, TCM – Traditional Chinese Medicine, Unani, The First Nation’s People, African, Alchemy, the Eclectic and Scientific theories.
Ayuverdic Medical Theory
This medical theory originated in ancient India and is still practiced today. Ayurerdic is broken down into two parts which include: Ayur = Life and Verdic = Science. It has sacred meaning, sharing its Verdic origins with Buddhism, and therefore should always be capitalized. The original and intended purposes of Ayurveda are life extension and enlightenment.
This theory states that the basic energies of the universe are split into five separate elements to include: Ether, Air, Fire, Water, & Earth. These five blend into three humours or pinciples known as tridosha. They are the Vata, Pitta and the Kapha. Vata is composed of (Ether and Air), Pitta of (Fire & Water) and (Kapha is Water and Earth). The Tridosha govern the body, emotions and mind. A person’s constitution is made up of one of these tridosha.
Ayurverdic Medicines are classified according to:
their taste ( rasa),
qualities ( guna),
potency ( virya)
( vipaka) as well as the taste arising after digestion
Diagnosis is based on the observations of the eyes, lips, tongue, face, nails & pulse. Herbs are recommended along with other treatments such as detoxifying the body, diet, exercise, enemas and massages. The goal is to match the consitution of an individual with the energetic of specific medicines to determine an appropriate remedy.