Herbal remedies have been used by various cultures to treat illness and promote health for thousands of use. They are actually the grandparent of healthcare as they are the oldest form of health intervention known to humanity. The earliest evidence of herbal remedy use dates back sixty thousand years ago. The practice of herbal remedies evolved over the years laying the foundation for traditional medicine and pharmaceutical interventions (Kunle, 2012).
Many cultures continue to rely on herbal intervention as a foundational element in their healthcare systems. These techniques involve the use of herbal products (derivative of leaves, roots, bark, seeds, and flowers) for their medicinal or therapeutic value. The components with medicinal benefit are referred to as the active ingredients. The herbal products are comprised of phytopharmaceuticals; the results of processing plan parts through harvesting, drying, and storage. Herbal products are consumed by a variety of means and can be eaten, swallowed whole, drunk, inhaled, or applied topically (Kunle, 2012).
Herbalism or use of herbal remedies for health promotion and illness treatment, has been standardized in recent years. Standardization involves the process of evaluating, identifying, and prescribing a specific set of technical standards or best practices for the use of herbal remedies. These standards may include assessment and regulation of product characteristics and parameters for use. They may include explicit definitions for product quality and quantitative characteristics that support such quality. They may also include explicit definitions regarding product efficacy and efficacy of use as well as safety considerations and components of reproducibility. Standards are arrived at via a process of evaluation, experimentation, observation, and conclusion (Kunle, 2012).
Kunle (2012). Standardization of herbal medicines - A review. Int. J. Biodvers. Conserv.International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation, 4(3). doi:10.5897/ijbc11.163