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Western herbalism (Phytomedicine or Phytotherapy) - Ethnoscience Glossary Terms and Abbreviations

The term western herbalism is used to describe the European tradition of herbal medicine. The written record of the use of herbs extends back over 2,000 years to the time of the ancient Greek healers Dioscorides and Hippocrates. Although most of the herbs used are plants native to Europe, many North American plants have also been adopted into the collection of healing herbs used by western herbalists - the western herbal pharmacopoeia.
The herbs used are described in terms of the effect they have in on an illness. For example, herbs may be to reduce inflammation or pain, or to stimulate the immune system. Over the past two decades, European researchers have confirmed the folk uses of many of these herbs using modern scientific techniques. The terms phytomedicine (plant medicine) and phytotherapy (plant therapy) were coined to describe the rational use of herbal medicines based on this scientific evidence.

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