Herbology is the art of combining medicinal herbs. A medicinal herb may be a shrub, woody plant, or a non-woody plant. The word "herb", being a derivation of "herbe" and the Latin word, "herba".
Today, "herb" refers to any part of any plant used for flavoring or medicine. Although the term "herb" can also be equated with food spices, it is generally used in reference to any plant, or any part of a plant, having nutritional and / or medicinal value(s). Additionally, an "herb" may be a fruit, a bark, a flower, a leaf, or a root, as well as anon-woody plant.
There are several types of herbal medicine systems that are used today; European, Native American, Chinese, Ayurvedic, and Western Herbalism are the most prevalent systems. Despite differences in terminology and in the herbs used, there is a common thread that joins these systems: all of these systems treat the body as a 'whole', and they each utilize the energy of plants to 'work as needed' in synergy with the natural energy in each individual.
There are also several ways to dispense herbs. The most common methods are herbal pastes, juices, decoctions, hot or cold infusions, powders, pills (tablets, capsules), aromatics, tinctures or extracts (alcohol or glycerol bases), liniments, syrups, poultices and fomentations, medicated oils, salves and ointments, lotions, teas, and whole herbs. Each type is good for specific ailments, and often may be used together (i.e. internally and externally for an external wound) to take full advantage of the healing attributes of each.
All these choices, like others, should be integrated with both your personal external needs and your internal ideals for the best possible results. An experienced herbalist can help you decide which system is right for you. Herbs are foods, and like any other food, herbs should be taken in moderation. Always follow the practitioner’s directions for use and discontinued usage.