The Practice of Traditional Western Herbalism places the function of western herbs in their true historical context, apart from homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, and Ayurveda. Recently there has been a revival of interest in western herbalism, but practitioners haven’t been able to explore its benefits due to a void of information on the topic—the system of medicine the herbs fit into had all but disappeared. To remedy the situation, herbalist Matthew Wood has researched the old-time practices and reconstructed them for modern use. In resuscitating western herbal medicine and bringing it up to date, he gives his readers a powerful tool for holistic theory and treatment. Wood makes the point that plant medicines, because they are made from a broad range of chemical components, are naturally suited for the treatment of general patterns in the body. He argues against the biomedical model of standardization, in which herbs are refined and advertised as if they were drugs suited to an exact disease or condition.
Matthew Wood has been a practicing herbalist since 1982. In a period when many authors and lecturers are merely "arm chair herbalists" who offer theories and opinions based on book learning, and others have turned to the exotic traditions of India or China, he has been an active practitioner of traditional Western herbalism. He has helped tens of thousands of clients over the years, with many difficult health problems. While Matthew believes in the virtue of many other healing modalities, he has always been inspired to learn, preserve, and practice the tradition of herbal medicine descending to us from our European, Anglo-American, and Native American heritage. He is a member of the American Herbalists Guild (registered herbalist) and has earned his Masters of Science degree from the Scottish School of Herbal Medicine (accredited by the University of Wales).