Botanical medicine, also called herbal medicine or phytomedicine, refers to using a plant's seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark, or flowers for medicinal purposes. Herbalism has a long tradition of use outside conventional medicine. Plant parts can be used in a variety of forms including:
- Dried botanicals – a variety of plants and their respective parts such as leafs, stems, and berries or flowers can be used in their dried form to make medicinal herbal supplements or teas to treat a variety of conditions
- Tinctures – a botanical tincture is a liquid extract made by soaking herbs in alcohol to extract the active ingredients from the herbs. Alcohol is considered an excellent solvent because it is food grade and can extract herbal constituents that are poorly soluble in water. After a number of weeks, the herbs are then strained and removed, leaving behind the liquid. A tincture can be made of a single herb or a combination of herbs.
Herbal medicine is used to treat many conditions, such as allergies, asthma, eczema, premenstrual syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, menopausal symptoms, chronic fatigue, and irritable bowel syndrome, among others.