Herbal medicine is among the most ancient forms of treatment known and the medicinal use of plants is common to all cultures and peoples of the world.
The medicine of medieval Europe was significantly advanced by herbal skills brought back to Europe by the Crusaders who learnt their medicine from their Arab adversaries who had themselves synthesised the knowledge of ancient Greek and Persian medicine.
For many centuries plant remedies were the main medicines used to treat disease throughout Europe and many famous herbals were published in English in the 16th and 17th centuries. However, with the dawn of the scientific age came the slow decline of plant-based medicine.
With the discovery of antibiotics, corticosteroids and other major modern drugs, the vast majority of herbal remedies used by doctors for many centuries became relegated to mere footnotes in the official pharmacopoeias. They remained however the remedies of choice of herbalists and other practitioners who have continued these forms of traditional medicine into modern times.
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