I want to start out by first stating that I am not anti-modern medicine. I have great faith in our modern medical system for most things. If I were to break a bone, or require emergency surgery, I wouldn’t want to stick strictly to herbal medicine. I believe that both systems have a right and good place in healing.
For centuries Europeans and Asians viewed disease as a dysfunction of the whole body, or a whole system. Cures were aimed at bringing the body back into balance so that it could heal itself.
Although traditional thought on disease also included superstition, ignorance of anatomy, and in some places unhealthy beliefs about hygiene, much that was useful about medicine was known and practiced.
In both East and West, disease was often cured with plants that were either proven or intuited to have an effect on a particular system in the body that was injured or unbalanced. In Europe, the “Five Humors” theory was developed. In the near east, the “Three Dosha Ayurvedic” system was the basis of medicine. In the Far East, the “Five Elements” theory was practiced.