The use of plants & herbs as medicines has been practiced by humans since the dawn of time. Medicinal plants have been found in Neanderthal graves dating back over 60,000 years.
But the use of medicinal plants is not just a custom of the distant past. An estimated 90% of the world's population still relies extensively on raw herbs and unrefined extracts as medicines (Duke 1985). In the United States alone, 158 million of the adult population use complementary medicines and according to the USA Commission for Alternative and Complementary medicines, US $17 billion was spent on traditional remedies in 2000.
In the last decade, there has been considerable interest in resurrecting medicinal plants in western medicine, and integrating their use into modern medical systems.
The use of medicinal herbs isn’t just the continuation of ancient custom – they actually work. The pharmaceutical industry has long recognized that the natural compounds In many plants are extremely effective, and have used them as an integral component in a variety of medicines. • As much as 25% of modern pharmaceutical drugs contain plant ingredients (Duke 1993) • The development of treatments derived from plant compounds is the fastest-growing area of pharmaceutical research, with annual growth of 15%-20% annually.
Herbal remedies now account for over $2 billion in sales annually, while the total market for naturopathic products may approach $10 billion
Vitamins and Antioxidants
Every day, there are literally hundreds of processes going on in the human body.
To fuel all of this activity, the body requires a vast supply of raw materials, including many vitamins and minerals. We derive many of these essential nutrients from the food we eat; however, there are at least 30 vitamins and minerals that your body needs but cannot manufacture on its own in sufficient amounts.
Foods generally contain only one or two types of vitamins, and the processes of cooking, storage, and even simple exposure to air can inactivate or diminish the potency of these more fragile organic compounds.
To obtain the quantity and variety of vitamins we require, many people take vitamin supplements. However, it is quite expensive to purchase independent supplements for all of the specific vitamins we need, and taking individual supplements can take up a great deal of time and space.
Studies have shown that antioxidants reduce the signs of aging by minimizing wrinkles and preserving the texture of the skin. They can even protect your skin from sun damage, and reduce the incidence of sunburn. And while antioxidants on their own aren't proven to cure specific conditions, research has shown that antioxidants have been strongly implicated in the prevention of a number of degenerative, age-related disease, including: