I recall seeing a t.v. program years ago about how people in ancient times came to find out about the healing properties of herbs, basically through trial and error.
I read a stat yesterday that said 30% of all patented drugs are based on plants. Lord knows what the percentage is among the most commonly used (like penicillan, etc)
I get irked when I hear "alternative medicine" - because this is original medicine, still being practice, and still being borrowed by the knife doctors when it's convenient - but the knifers will continue to lobby against and denigrate their roots.
When lab coats do it, it's called scientific method - when someone else does it - it's trial and error.
They're essentially the same.