URL of this page: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/herbalmedicine.html

Herbal Medicine

Also called: Botanicals, Phytotherapy 

Summary

An herb is a plant or plant part used for its scent, flavor, or therapeutic properties. Herbal medicines are one type of dietary supplement. They are sold as tablets, capsules, powders, teas, extracts, and fresh or dried plants. People use herbal medicines to try to maintain or improve their health.

Many people believe that products labeled "natural" are always safe and good for them. This is not necessarily true. Herbal medicines do not have to go through the testing that drugs do. Some herbs, such as comfrey and ephedra, can cause serious harm. Some herbs can interact with prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

If you are thinking about using an herbal medicine, first get information on it from reliable sources. Make sure to tell your health care provider about any herbal medicines you are taking.

NIH: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Start Here

Related Issues

Specific Conditions

  • Acai From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Aloe Vera From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Aristolochic Acids From the National Institutes of Health (National Toxicology Program) - PDF
  • Asian Ginseng From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Astragalus From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Bilberry From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Bitter Orange From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Black Cohosh From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Butterbur From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Cat's Claw From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Chamomile From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Chasteberry From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Cinnamon From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Cranberry From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Dandelion From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Echinacea From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Echinacea: What Should I Know about It? (American Academy of Family Physicians) Available in Spanish
  • Ephedra From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • European Elder (Elderberry) From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • European Mistletoe From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Evening Primrose Oil From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Fenugreek From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Feverfew From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Flaxseed and Flaxseed Oil From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Garlic From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Ginger From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Gingko From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Gingko From the National Institutes of Health (National Toxicology Program) - PDF
  • Goldenseal From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Grape Seed Extract From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Green Tea From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Hawthorn From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Hoodia From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Horse Chestnut From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Kava From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Lavender From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Licorice Root From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Milk Thistle From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Noni From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Passionflower: At a Glance From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Peppermint Oil From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Red Clover From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Red Yeast Rice: An Introduction From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Sage From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Saw Palmetto From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Soy From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • St. John's Wort From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Tea Tree Oil From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Thunder God Vine From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Time to Talk: What You Should Know about 5 Popular Herbs (Evening Primrose Oil, St. John's Wort, Fenugreek, Echinacea, and Aloe Vera) From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Turmeric From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Valerian From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • What Are Chia Seeds? (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)
  • Yohimbe From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)

Images

Clinical Trials

Children

Women