Herbal medicine is medicine made from plants, either the whole plant or sometimes parts of it, for example leaves, flowers, roots or bark. It has been the main source of medicine used by people for thousands of years. There are many herbal traditions around the world, but members of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists are trained in Western herbal medicine.
Western herbal medicine has itself developed over the centuries and links can be traced back to Graeco-Roman, Arabic, European and American cultures. Although there is a foundation of traditional use to Western herbal medicine, modern use also includes current scientific research and Institute members are trained in the same clinical examination skills as conventional GPs.
Western herbal medicine focuses on the patient and the cause of their illness rather than the symptoms that they have. The choice of herbs that a practitioner prescribes is based on detailed information given to the practitioner by the patient and the result of any clinical examination carried out during the consultation. This allows a bespoke, personalised prescription to be created.