When I was in school studying Ayurveda, the use of herbs is explained as a major part of advanced therapeutics. And I like herbs! I use herbs and spices. I recommend them, too, in moderation, but usually along the lines of 'food' or nourishment -- to build tissues, for taste, to enhance digestion, stimulate Agni, reduce Ama. For therapeutics, however, I generally prefer the energy remedies of Homeopathy, Cell Salts, and Flower Essences (or others like Gem Essences). One reason is simply because I am drawn to them more strongly than to herbs. But there are other reasons as well, one of which is "sustainability." How many plants are grown in order to produce a tincture that provides very limited dosing and lasts X number of years or to produce the dried or powdered herb that also loses its potency in X number of months or years? And yet, with the energy remedies, they can maintain their potency for many decades plus a single plant can produce hundreds of thousands of doses! How amazing is that?!
So, while herbs in their more gross state (dry, powder, tincture) are natural and necessary (and certainly have their place of use therefore I support their continued organic and ecologically-conscious cultivation), I do feel that our global future lies in the resonance and subtle energy of all life -- including the move of vibrational remedies to the forefront of therapeutics and healing.
In The Yoga of Herbs, the authors (Drs. Frawley and Lad) present this energetic view of plants, and thus herbs, beautifully, even discussing The Manifestation of Consciousness into Plants. Further, when discussing the Prabhava or special potency of herbs, the authors state that "Herbs also possess subtler and more specific qualities that transcend thought and that cannot be placed into a system of energetics." [Note: this particular reference to energetics is to the gross matter effects of the herbs through rasa, virya and vipaka] They go on to say that "Ayurveda investigates the occult and spiritual effects of substances, and is not limited to any materialistic or chemical-based theory. It understands the value and the limitation of systems, and only uses them as a guide, not as a rigid rule." This is where I feel the energy/vibrational remedies come into play and shine their Light in the healing arts, and is perhaps part of why Homeopathy was so immediately and widely used throughout India -- because of the spiritual background that is at the heart of Ayurveda and embraces the energy worlds. One of my passions is to fully and clearly incorporate the use of energy remedies into Ayurveda. This seems so natural and supports the Ayurvedic awareness of the gifts of plant life (and all life according to ancient texts).
Plants "bring to us the universal light so that we can enter the universal life." And it would seem to me that a big part of this awareness of interconnectedness is honoring these gifts, not through mass cultivation or over-harvesting, but through opening to the next level of energetic resonance so that all plants - all life - can flourish.
Some articles of interest: