The medicinal use of herbs, plants and flowers is almost as old as mankind itself.
Throughout the world it is estimated that natural herbal medicine is more com-
monly practised than the conventional use of modern drugs. It is estimated that
around 15% of conventional medicine is plant based.2 Herbalism in the past was
thought of as fringe medicine or substitute for health care in less well-developed
countries. Today there are over 1000 herbal remedies available from chemists and
health food shops in the UK.2 Many different complementary disciplines also use
herbs in a variety of ways, Bach flower remedies, naturopathy, traditional Chinese
medicine (see Chapter 20), Ayurvedic medicine (traditional Indian medicine; see
Chapter 9) and aromatherapy (see Chapter 8) all depend on the medicinal properties
of herbs and plants. Homeopathy and Bach remedies also use highly diluted herbs,
plants and flower materials.