Herbalism is the study and use of herbs medicinally. It’s ancient and most of the world’s population still uses herbal medicine as the primary form of medical care.
Many pharmaceuticals are derived from active ingredients in plants. For example, the active ingredient in aspirin is taken from Willow bark and antibiotics were begun from the mold penecillum, a strain of which is present in brie cheese. There are thousands more examples.
The medicinal actions of herbs cannot be disputed and are still being discovered today. When used pharmaceutically, the active components of herbs are isolated and concentrated and the action is much more aggressive, but when taken as a herbal drink or tincture or pill the medicinal action is powerful, yet gentle, so the chance of unwanted side effects and dependency is significantly decreased.
Many pharmaceuticals are derived from the active ingredients in plants. For example, asprin is from willowbark. Penecillin is from the mold, penecillum.
You will know a herbalist when you see one. If her hippie-dippie fashion sense doesn’t immediately set her apart, you will recognize her by the variety of weeds growing in her yard, in her window box, in her spare bedroom, and likely out of her handbag – all of which she cultivates and protects like endangered species. You will also note an assortment of odd looking concoctions stewing in large jars and an insane amount of dried plant matter – hanging from her ceilings, in jars on shelves, rolled in towels, sitting in the sun to bake – all around her home. If she doesn’t have a cold cellar or workshop, she will refuse to heat certain rooms because it damages the medicine, which adds to her hippie dippie look in winter, since she is wearing 10 layers.
Her best friend is her dog because she makes her own deodorant and toothpaste and if you're her friend she'll make yours, too!
Her house is filled with books on fungi and plants, and she reads from glasses perched too far down her nose, which she peers over to give you the look reserved for non-plant species. She may or may not be inclined to wear normal undergarments; her hair often has leaves and twigs in it; and she regularly disappears for hours at a time for long walks through woody areas where she touches and talks to and takes offerings from the plants and trees. For excitement she cruises suburban streets slowly to scream out her windows at homeowners wielding roundup, unwittingly intoxicating our collective water table in a vain attempt to kill plants they don’t have the brains to appreciate. It delights her to no end to return a week later and see the desiccated remains of their lawn, as roundup burns the shit out of grass, too, muh ha ha ha.
Her best friend is her dog because she makes her own deodorant and toothpaste and if you’re her friend she’ll make yours, too! But when you’re sick she’s got the best soup and decoctions to make you feel better and if you ever meet a person you need to kill you know she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty and she’ll have just the plant to do the job.