Herbs ARE Drugs

Image from my ACHS webinar

Last week in my webinar, I mentioned that herbs are drugs. In the Q&A session afterwards, someone asked me why I said that. The answer is quite easy. A quick Google search of the definition of “drug” brings up, “a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body”. Doesn’t this succinctly sum up why we take herbs in a medicinal context? It also could be used to describe the food we eat!

But to go a little more in depth, plants/herbs have chemicals in them – they’re just naturally produced by Mother Nature in her plant factories rather than artificially produced by Man in laboratories. It’s the chemicals that have the physiological effect we’re seeking when we take herbs in a medicinal context (or to get high…). One of the blogs I read, Nature’s Poisons, is written by a forensic toxicologist and he’ll give you all the chemistry lessons you want about why nasty plants (and animals) work the way they do on our body. (Justin also has a great sense of humor. You should read that blog.)

Anyways, I was mistaken when I gave the etymology of the word, “drug”. From the Online Etymology Dictionary: “late 14c. (early 14c. in Anglo-French), “medicine, chemical ingredients,” from Old French droge “supply, stock, provision” (14c.), which is of unknown origin, perhaps from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German droge-vate “dry barrels,” or droge waere, literally “dry wares,” but specifically drugs and spices, with first element mistaken as word for the contents (see dry goods), or because medicines mostly consisted of dried herbs.”

So, as you see, herbs are drugs.