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Although all cultures, where plants are grown or gathered (even Eskimos and Lapps have their Shamans) have their own traditions of Herbal medicine, there are perhaps three main traditions, or schools, where this oldest form of medicine has been passed down to the present day. The three main (largest number of plants and corpus of knowledge) traditions are: European, Ayurvedic and Chinese. Of course, the Maori of New Zealand also have their own use of healing plants, and the Polynesians probably took seeds throughout the Pacific.
Although Herbal medicine also contains fungus, shells, minerals, bee and animal products, many of the dangerous products (e.g. minerals, heavy metals, and animal products) are now banned. Different restrictions apply in Europe and North America. Always read the label. Buy from a reputable supplier. Quality control is important, as better quality herbs give better results (you’ll need to take less of them).
For more information about this see:
- The Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
- Department Of Conservation
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