In Deep Asia, Anything from Plants is Herbal
Deep Asian Herbal
From the time I was exposed to deep Asian herbal to this day, I see that anything coming from plants is called herbal. That's how most Asians see it, especially here in deep Asia where I live. Anything from plants is herbal, not just herbs.
Hence, a food dish of all veggie is sometimes called herbal foo dish. Try cooking up onion leaves, kinchay, bok choy, celery, and some soy bean curd, and that would pass for an "Herbal Salad." I love sauteing said veggies in some oil, crushed garlic, and chopped onions. This food dish quickly normalizes blood pressure. I recommend it to friends suffering from high blood pressure, and it works.
Recently I was advised to drink the brew of hibiscus leaves and flowers (Gumamela) for my sore throat and bad cough. I laughed. Gumamela leaves and flowers, as far as I knew, was only good for making sturdier soap bubbles. As a kid we would make concoctions of soap bubbles, mixing in some crushed hibiscus leaves and flowers and squeezing out the juice.
The Gumamela juice made the bubbles more pliant. We would soak rounded wires into the Gumamela and soap concoction and blow on them to produce floating bubbles that didn't easily burst. The bubbles would be carried by the wind for long distances, sometimes even unbelievable heights, without bursting at once.
That was the only use of hibiscus or Gumamela leaves and flowers, as far as I was concerned. Thus, when this friend advised me to sip a hot brew of hibiscus leaves and flowers, "and do add some stems," he added, I really LOL. What am I, a soap bubble?
But I tried it, because anyway, he had been drinking it for his sore throat (and claimed was healed by it) and he was still alive and kicking, so I figured it was safe. It tasted like corn brew. Have you ever tasted corn brew? Boil corn hair and drink the brew. It's sweet. It's good for your kidneys. That's how brewed Gumamela leaves and flowers taste.
I finished a full cup and sure enough, my cough improved. I mean, it somewhat disappeared. After a few more water therapy each morning, the cough was gone.
And there's this herbal drink from Sampaguita roots. Sampaguita is a strong scented national flower of the Philippines. I love its fragrance, and many use it to honor great people. It's often used as a garland to hang on the necks of beauty pageant candidates. But drink it as an herbal tea? I don't think so. I'd rather have them stringed and hung on my neck, though I'm not a beauty pageant candidate.
How about the young bamboo shoot? Here in deep Asia, it's considered a powerful herbal veggie. It heals dozens of ailments and is supposed to toughen your knees and legs. It's supposed to make you immune to any kind of ailment, if you eat enough daily. Legends say, it's what makes the Ilocano farmer tough and healthy. By the way, Ilocanos are strong-willed people somewhere in deep Asia.
If you find a young shoot in a bamboo cluster, cu tit and boil it until soft enough to eat. Then saute with garlic and onions and mix in some Saluyot leaves, another deep Asian super herbal veggie.
All these plus more are considered as herbals in deep Asia. Anything from plants that you can ingest into your tummy.
Fruits as Herbals
Also in deep Asia, fruits and fruit juices are also seen as "herbals," especially when used as a cure for an ailment or for health purposes. If you have a cold and cough and drink fresh Kalamansi juice (deep Asian lemon), folks would think of it as an herbal treatment, as against a medical one. If you eat papaya to be relieved of constipation, they'd say you are under an herbal remedy for the ailment.
As long as it's a natural remedy without the use of synthetic drugs, our folks out here call it "herbal." Even massage therapy is sometimes casually referred to as "herbal."