HERBAL MEDICINE

Definitions

Contemporary Herbal Medicine in Canada reflects the diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds of our population, emphasizing the use of traditional and modern European herbal medicine, Indigenous First Nations plant medicine, Eclectic 19th century American herbal medicine, Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic herbal medicines.

Herbal Medicine encompasses the use of herbs from all corners of the world, blending global traditional wisdom passed down through generations and more recent modern scientific understanding of herbs and health.

 – Canadian Council of Herbalists Association

Natural health products (including Herbal Medicine) are naturally-occurring substances that can be used to maintain or restore health. They can be vitamins, minerals, herbs, or other plants, amino acids (the individual building blocks of protein), or parts of these substances. These substances can come in many forms including pills, capsules, tablets, liquids, or powders. They supplement (add to) the diet and should not be considered a substitute for food. 

People have used the active ingredients in natural health products for thousands of years to help health and to treat illness. Sometimes those natural products are the basis for some of today’s common medicines. For example, people have used willow bark tea for centuries to relieve fever. Pharmaceutical companies eventually identified the chemical in willow bark that relieved fever and used that knowledge to produce aspirin. 

The Natural and Non-prescription Health Products Directorate (NNHPD), within the Health Products and Food Branch of Health Canada, regulates natural health products in Canada. Natural health products must be reviewed and approved by the NNHPD before they can be sold legally in Canada.

– HealthLink BC

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