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NEOHERBAL aims to contribute to a better understanding, utilisation and application of medicinal, culinary and aromatic herbs. Neoherbal provides a platform to unite interested and like minded persons to share, proliferate and expound their knowledge and experience to achieve a better understanding of this resource.

The field of herbs is phenomenal. It encompasses quite a huge domain in various cultures and countries. But our knowledge is quite meagre compared to the wealth of information which can be deduced and culled from simple observations, ancient texts, mythologies, tribal folklores and modern research.

From an users point of view we have classified herbs, loosely into three basic groups - medicinal, aromatic and culinary herbs. We use the term "loosely" because some herbs have uses in preparation of medicines, used as pot herb as well as have a nice aroma like Mint (Mentha piperata).

    Medicinal Herbs

Millions of households in various countries use medicinal herbs to treat their illness. One of our prime objective is to promote home made medicinal use in preventive, promotive and curative applications. Herbalism is a form of the healing arts that draws from herbal traditions of a country and that emphasizes the study and use of native herbs and plants in the treatment and prevention of illness. Herbalism is based on physicians' and herbalists' clinical experience and traditional knowledge of medicinal plant remedies preserved by oral tradition and in written records over thousands of years. It is based upon the study of natural herbs and includes the identification, extraction methods, and applications of specific plant extracts responsible for specific therapeutic actions.

Many plants produce medicinally important organic compounds such as alkaloids, oils, resins, tannins, gums, waxes, flavours and fragrances, chemicals of pharmaceuticals, and pesticides use. For the sake of convenience, plant chemicals are often classified as either primary or secondary metabolites. Primary metabolites are substances widely distributed in nature, occurring in one form or another in virtually all organisms. In plants such compounds are often concentrated in seeds and vegetative storage organs and are needed for physiological development because of their role in basic cell metabolism.

Secondary metabolites are compounds which are medicinally more important. They are biosynthetically derived from primary metabolites but more limited in distribution in the plant kingdom, being restricted to a particular group of plants. Secondary compounds have no apparent function in a plant's primary metabolism but often have an ecological role; they are pollinator attractants, represent chemical adaptations to environmental stresses, or serve as chemical defences against micro-organisms, insects and higher predators, etc. Secondary metabolites are frequently accumulated by plants in smaller quantities than are primary metabolites. In addition, secondary metabolites, in contrast to primary metabolites, tend to be synthesized in specialized cell types and at distinct developmental stages. It is the secondary metabolites that are used mainly as medicines, pharmaceuticals, flavours and fragrances.

    Aromatic Herbs

The basic use of oils is believed to have started over three thousand years ago. Studies of ancient cultures have proven that the use of essential oils was evident in everyday life. Some of the first oils to be used were Myrrh and Frankincense. Oils have been used by Indian, Chinese, Persian and African cultures. Early uses included; incense burning, mummification, cooking, bathing, perfumery, cosmetics, rituals, meditations, and of course healing.

During the latter half of the century aromatherapy has grown in popularity. There are many uses for essential oils. Massage oils, baths, inhalation, vaporization are some of the processes by which Aromatic herbs can be used. Other than this Aromatic herbs are used as domestic pesticides.

    Culinary Herbs

From time immemorial herbs were used in cooking. Culinary herbs are those herbs whose fresh or dried leaves are used in cooking or to impart special flavours in edibles. Some of the common culinary herbs are basil, rosemary, thyme, etc.

Culinary herbs are different from spices. Generally, fresh or dried leaves are used for culinary herbs while spices are seeds, roots, fruits, flowers, and bark. Herbs usually have a mild flavor while spices tend to have a stronger, pungent flavor. However, the terms herb and spice are artificial categories. Several common spices are cinnamon, aniseeds and ginger roots.

Other than cooked foods and prepared dishes, herbs can be also used for making teas, vinegar, butter, syrups, sauces, wines, milk shakes, concentra<es, etc.

If you would like to write an essay on herbal use, please do so and after review by our panel of
experts will be posted on the website. You can discuss any topic you like, quality, history, applications, results, personal stories, discoveries etc.

Send it to us via Email at neoherbal@gmail.com

Economic independence through better cultivation, value addition and utilisation of herbs and herbal products is our purpose.

We have an unique bio-diversity due to our remarkable eco-diversity in climate, soil, rainfall, temperature and altitude. This has resulted in the growth of various types of plants and herbs having medicinal, economic and cultural importance.

But most of these plants and herbs are under-utilised due to ignorance, indifference and socio-economic reasons. Lack of proper organization to market the resultant product is also a prime factor in under-utilisation of this vast resource. It aims to add value to herbal products, to popularise herbal products through seminars, camps, media and most importantly to make herbal remedies available to general public.