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by Paul Bergner
North American Institute of Medical Herbalism

Part I

I am convinced that Western medical herbalism is dying in North America and Britain. If we stop congratulating ourselves for a moment on the growing numbers of herbalists, or of schools, or of accredited degrees, or of more interest by scientists in herbs, and look honestly, we will see it is dying. If we look to a hundred years ago, the number of herbs in use, and the knowledge of those herbs, by professional herbalists, they greatly exceeded what we use today. Our medical herbal forebears mastered more herbs than we do today, and also knew more about each of them. If, say, an herbalist today, truly understands about a hundred herbs, and knows 2-3 clinical things about each of them, we can call that 250 data bits. If our ancestors learned 365 herbs (more on this below), and knew 6-8 things about each, then that is more than 2500 data bits, and 90% of our herbal knowledge has gone down the drain.

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