Modern medicine stands on the shoulders of herbal medicine. Many modern medicine practitioners do not realize this fact, though.
Herbal medicine was the prevailing form of treatment right up to the 18th century. As scientists understood the understanding of healing molecules, the use of healing with individual molecules began.
Aspirin is regarded as one of the first drugs. Willow was used as a medicine by ancient Sumerians and Egyptians. The Ebers papyrus c1500 BC refers to willow as an anti-inflammatory or pain reliever for non-specific aches and pains. The willow bark continued to be used as medicine right up to 1828 when Joseph Buchner, Professor of Pharmacy in Munich, isolated the chemical responsible for anti-inflammatory properties. He named it salicin. In time, plant origin salicin was replaced by chemical manufacturing.
This story has played itself out again and again in modern medicine. The chemotherapy drug vincristine came from Catharanthus roseus, the Madagascar periwinkle plant. It is now being manufactured from chemicals. Most modern drugs are of plant origin too.
Herbal medicine literature is the starting point of much of the pharmaceutical research across the world. Herbal medicine is largely multi-herb based while modern medicine is still single-molecule-focused. It is only a matter of time that science will unravel the power of multi-molecule drugs following the herbal formulae models. Multi-molecule combinations are already extensively used in cancer treatment.
This note is especially for modern medicine practitioners who decry the roots of the science they practice out of ignorance.