Herbs have been used as medicines in human history by many cultural traditions such as the Chinese (for over two millennia), Hippocrates and Galen, and Ayurveda in India; they were reliable, easily accessible, and inexpensive medicines. In many parts of the world herbal medicine is used far more abundantly than synthetic drugs or pharmaceuticals.
Each plant has its own therapeutic benefit and, in the 21st century, herbal medicine is not only based on folklore (where medicinal properties of plants were mostly discovered through trial and error and the observation of animals), but on scientific evidence. There is plenty of medical literature to support the (pharmacological) effect of herbs.
As people become aware that there are alternative treatments for various health concerns, disorders and diseases, there are a growing number of qualified practitioners to meet these demands around the world. Both awareness of complementary medicine and registered natural medicine practitioners are on the increase in South Africa.