Resurgence of Herbal Remedies and Medicinal Plants

Written By: Amanda Boyles

Herbs in History

Long before there were pharmaceutical companies and synthetic drugs to heal the ill, there were herbs. Herbs have existed since the beginning of known history. Using herbs to help alleviate illness, discomfort, and treat human ailments has been done for so long that the earliest written record is approximately 5000 years old and in the form of a Sumerian clay slab from Nagpur. According to an article written by Biljiana Bauer Petrovska the slab contains recipes for 12 remedies using more than 250 plants including poppy, mandrake, and henbane. In Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey, which was written in 800 BC, there is some evidence of herbal knowledge. Homer used the names for medicinal herbs as characters in his stories. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence proving the use of  medicinal plants throughout history. Why are herbal remedies making a comeback?

The Comeback-

Herbs and natural remedies have been showing a huge resurgence in popularity in the past 20 years, but even more so in the past 5. There are a multitude of reasons for the growing popularity of herbs. There is a measure of distrust growing between the general public and pharmaceutical companies that started with for-profit medicine. Many of the public believe that these companies are making medicine to keep the populace sick. With drugs that have side effects and have to be treated with more drugs, it isn’t hard to see why. 

Then there is the opioid epidemic, which was largely created by pharmaceutical companies making synthetic opioids. They encouraged medical professionals to prescribe a synthetic opioid medication. Patients found the prescription to be habit forming and were offered synthetic long term maintenance opioids to manage their habits. The long-term nature of opioid maintenance treatment ensured continued customers and product sales. Pharmaceutical companies have settled multiple suits against them for their part in creating the crisis that has cost more than 300,000 lives since 2000 and will likely cost 500,000 more in the next 10 years. Despite admitting no fault, experts have argued they are morally culpable and even legally liable nonetheless.

Now, with marijuana being proven to help heal certain illnesses and finally being made legal in a growing number of states, it’s come to the attention of the public that pharma has been actively lobbying against making it legal. They are also lobbying against the legality of kratom which many consumers find useful in their herbal routines.

With the negative reputations of pharmaceutical companies, and growing distrust of the populace towards them, herbs and natural remedies have been taking center stage. Having a tried and true remedy that can be made, grown, mixed, and taken at home without having to deal with the medical community has become more appealing. As the distrust continues to grow, herbs will likely continue to rise in popularity..

Believing natural is best, and organic is healthy is only just really beginning to explode. The rising interest in herbs creates a whole new market and a whole new set of things to consider. Individual interest in natural remedies is wonderful, but how does the average person get started?

Herbal Information and Safety-

If herbal medicine and natural remedies are of interest then there are some things to be considered. It is always necessary to find a trusted source and know what’s being bought is legitimate and safe, especially for those herbs that are not as easy to grow at home. Growing and taking care of an herb garden is the best way to go if possible. Knowing that the plants are being grown without pesticides and are processed safely is very important. Hiring an herbalist to help find treatments and tailor the herbs to an individual  is always an option if finances are not a problem. If learning to be an herbalist for self management is of interest, look for free educational resources. Herbs can be strong and affect the body in some pretty intense ways, always make sure that what is being consumed does what is wanted and works well with other remedies being used.

In Conclusion-

History is full of plants that help with human illness. Growing distrust in medicine for profit and synthetic drugs has pushed more people towards herbal medicine and natural remedies. Using plants for wellness may create a healthier more natural generation and a society of gardeners and herbalists. Growing an herb garden is a great hobby and may create joy all on it’s own.  A plant like the kratom tree, which has many consumer claims of assistance in personal wellness, may not be as easy to grow, but can be found from a safe and tested source like Austin Organic Village. Consumers should always make sure the source of their herbs are tested and vetted before purchasing.