The Encapsulated History of Medicine

Who first used plants as medicine we do not know. But someone - or more possibly, many different people - discovered that some plants are good to eat and still others have healing properties. This was a first step in a lengthy process of trial and error in which man built up his vast knowledge about plants. The following is a digest starting from what we know to be the earliest recordings of medicinal herbal use to present day conventional medicine.

While no one is suggesting the clock be turned back and the advances of modern medicine be ignored (we are, after all, enjoying the longest of life-spans ever known) neither should we ignore the wisdom accumulated and found effective for many centuries. However, it may be interesting to speculate where the 21st Century will take us.

Universities are now beginning to require medical students to study at least one course in an “alternative therapy”. Herbalism has gone from a small, innocuous industry to an industry commanding a lot of attention and millions of dollars in growth each year. MD’s are also becoming ND’s. The powerful US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is in a whirlwind, trying to control the sale of these herbal remedies. Canada is attempting to create a new department, separate from drugs or foods. Pharmacies across the Western world are combining the sale of pharmaceuticals with the sale of herbs and their essential oils.

Public interest is intensifying. It seems we can expect that over the next twenty years we will truly have a “complimentary” health care system, rather than an “alternative” system. No longer will there be an “us” and “them” mentality but instead, an incredible accumulation of knowledge and expertise in all areas of human health - providing us with the healthiest conceivable life.

By Katherine Glynn

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