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    About Herbaism

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    Dame Katrin Karlsdottir

    Posts : 28
    Join date : 2011-06-02
    Age : 50

    About Herbaism

    Post  Dame Katrin Karlsdottir on Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:54 pm

    Herbalism is a traditional medicinal or folk medicine practice based on the
    use of plants and plant extracts. Herbalism is also known as botanical
    medicine, medical herbalism, herbal medicine, herbology, Pharmacognosy, and
    phytotherapy. The scope of herbal medicine is sometimes extended to include
    fungal and bee products, as well as minerals, shells and certain animal parts. Pharmacognosy is the study of
    medicines derived from natural sources.

    Similarly to prescription drugs, a number of herbs are thought to be likely
    to cause adverse effects. Furthermore, "adulteration, inappropriate
    formulation, or lack of understanding of plant and drug interactions have led
    to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening or lethal.

    The use of plants as medicines predates written human history. A 60
    000-year-old Neanderthal burial site, "Shanidar IV", in northern Iraq
    has yielded large amounts of pollen from 8 plant species, 7 of which are used
    now as herbal remedies

    In the written record, the study of herbs dates back over 5,000 years to the
    Sumerians, who described well-established medicinal uses for such plants as
    laurel, caraway, and thyme. Ancient Egyptian medicine of 1000 B.C. are known to
    have used garlic, opium, castor oil, coriander, mint, indigo, and other herbs
    for. The first Chinese herbal book, the Shennong Bencao Jing, compiled
    during the Han Dynasty but dating back to a much earlier date, possibly 2700
    B.C. lists 365 medicinal plants and their uses - including ma-Huang, the shrub
    that introduced the drug ephedrine to modern medicine. The uses of plants for
    medicine and other purposes changed little in early medieval Europe. Many Greek
    and Roman writings on medicine, as on other subjects, were preserved by hand
    copying of manuscripts in monasteries. The monasteries thus tended to become
    local centers of medical knowledge, and their herb gardens provided the raw
    materials for simple treatment of common disorders. At the same time, folk
    medicine in the home and village continued uninterrupted, supporting numerous
    wandering and settled herbalists. Among these were the “wise-women,” who
    prescribed herbal remedies often as spells and enchantments. It was not until
    the late Middle Ages that women who were knowledgeable in herb lore became the
    targets of the witch hysteria. One of the most famous women in the herbal
    tradition was Hildegard of Bingen. A twelfth century Benedictine nun, she wrote
    a medical text called Causes and Cures.

    Medical schools known as Bimaristan began to appear from the 9th century in
    the medieval Islamic world among Persians and Arabs, which was generally more
    advanced than medieval Europe at the time. The Arabs venerated Greco-Roman
    culture and learning, and translated tens of thousands of texts into Arabic for
    further study. As a trading culture, the Arab travellers had access to plant
    material from distant places such as China and India. Herbals, medical texts
    and translations of the classics of antiquity filtered in from east and west.
    Muslim botanists and Muslim physicians significantly expanded on the earlier
    knowledge of materia medica. This allowed the study of materia medica to evolve
    into the science of pharmacology.

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