Herbalism : Medical Botany Herbalism

14 October 2007 by
Editorial team
Herbal Medicine is,- The study or use of medicinal herbs to prevent and treat diseases and ailments or to promote health and healing. - A drug or preparation made from a plant or plants and used for any of such purposes. Herbalism, also known as medicinal Botany (a neologism by Dr. K. Seshagirirao, University of Hyderabad, India), medical herbalism, herbal medicine, herbology, botanical medicine and phytotherapy MedBotanics. All plants produce chemical compounds as part of their normal metabolic activities. These can be split into primary metabolites, such as sugars and fats, found in all plants, and secondary metabolites found in a smaller range of plants. The secondary metabolites may have therapeutic actions in humans and which can be refined to produce drugs. The word drug itself comes from the Swedish word "druug", which means 'dried plant'. People all over the world have used indigenous plants for treatment or prevention of various ailments dating back to prehistory. The first generally accepted use of plants as healing agents was depicted in the cave paintings discovered in the Lascaux caves in France, which have been radiocarbon dated to between 13,000 - 25,000 BC. Over 80,000 species of plants are in use throughout the world. Herbal Medicine is considered primary health care in China. There are hundreds of herbal remedies. An experienced practitioner can offer a comprehensive holistic approach to health. Examples of some commonly used herbal medicines: • Artichoke and several other plants reduced total serum cholesterol levels in preliminary studies. • Black cohosh and other plants that contain phytoestrogens (plant molecules with estrogen activity) have some benefits for treatment of symptoms resulting from menopause. • Echinacea extracts limit the length of colds in some clinical trials, although some studies have found it to have no effect at lower dosages that are normally given by herbalists. • Garlic lowers total cholesterol levels, mildly reduces blood pressure, reduces platelet aggregation, and has antibacterial properties. It also has strong anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. • Grapefruit seed extract as a natural antimicrobial has minimal effectiveness as an anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, and anti-fungal herb. • Hibiscus sabdariffa Traditionally used for hypertension. • Nigella sativa (Black cumin) is a general medicinal plant used for diverse ailments such as cough, pulmonary infections, asthma, influenza, allergy, hypertension and stomach ache. The seeds are considered carminative, stimulant, diuretic and galactogogue. It is often taken with honey. Seed powder or oil is externally applied for eruptions of skin. • Pawpaw used for insecticidal purposes (killing lice, worms), as well as cancer treatment and viral infections. • Phytolacca or Pokeweed is used as a homeopathic remedy to treat many ailments. It can be applied topically or taken internally. Topical treatments have been used for acne and other ailments. Internal treatments include tonsilitis, swollen glands and weight loss. • Peppermint tea for problems with the digestive tract, including irritable bowel syndrome and nausea. • Rauvolfia Serpentina, used extensively in India for sleeplessness, anxiety, and high blood pressure. The first proven allopathic medicine for high blood pressure was extracted from this herb. • St. John's wort, has yielded positive results, proving more effective than a placebo for the treatment of mild to moderate depression in some clinical trials. • Valerian root can be used to treat insomnia. • Feverfew can be used to treat migraine headaches. • Saw Palmetto can be used for BPH. • Lemon juice or apple cider vinegar can be used to treat acne. • Green tea may have an anti-cancer effect ("Inhibition of mammary tumorigenesis in the C3(1)/SV40 mouse model by green tea" Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2007 May 5.) and can heal scars faster. • Lemon grass can lower cholesterol. • Honey can be a solution for cholesterol. • Stinging Nettle FreshSpecific for hay fever and allergic rhinitis. Also for vaginitis, rheumatoid arthritis, stomatitis, eczema, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, asthma and gout. Tones up the mucous membranes especially where excessive mucus and inflammation are present. An alkalizing diuretic.
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