Western herbal medicine in the UK has a number of historical roots:
The Graeco-Roman tradition is linked to the Hippocratic writings (4-5th century BC), to Dioscorides (1st century AD) and to Galen (2nd century AD), a tradition which laid the foundations for European (and Islamic) medicine until the modern era. The Hippocratic writings included herbal medicine, but they covered a much wider range of methods to encourage health, including diet and what would now be called lifestyle, environmental and psychotherapeutic measures. These emphasise the natural healing power of life (vis medicatrix naturae). This remains important in the practice of western herbal medicine, associated with an emphasis on gentle encouragement of physiological change as well as the treatment of symptoms.