Importance Of Medicinal Plants Essay About Myself

Abstract

Healing with medicinal plants is as old as mankind itself. The connection between man and his search for drugs in nature dates from the far past, of which there is ample evidence from various sources: written documents, preserved monuments, and even original plant medicines. Awareness of medicinal plants usage is a result of the many years of struggles against illnesses due to which man learned to pursue drugs in barks, seeds, fruit bodies, and other parts of the plants. Contemporary science has acknowledged their active action, and it has included in modern pharmacotherapy a range of drugs of plant origin, known by ancient civilizations and used throughout the millennia. The knowledge of the development of ideas related to the usage of medicinal plants as well as the evolution of awareness has increased the ability of pharmacists and physicians to respond to the challenges that have emerged with the spreading of professional services in facilitation of man's life.

Keywords: History, medicinal plants, plant drugs, usage

INTRODUCTION

Ever since ancient times, in search for rescue for their disease, the people looked for drugs in nature. The beginnings of the medicinal plants’ use were instinctive, as is the case with animals.[1] In view of the fact that at the time there was not sufficient information either concerning the reasons for the illnesses or concerning which plant and how it could be utilized as a cure, everything was based on experience. In time, the reasons for the usage of specific medicinal plants for treatment of certain diseases were being discovered; thus, the medicinal plants’ usage gradually abandoned the empiric framework and became founded on explicatory facts. Until the advent of iatrochemistry in 16th century, plants had been the source of treatment and prophylaxis.[2] Nonetheless, the decreasing efficacy of synthetic drugs and the increasing contraindications of their usage make the usage of natural drugs topical again.

HISTORICAL SOURCES RELEVANT FOR STUDY OF MEDICINAL PLANTS’ USE

The oldest written evidence of medicinal plants’ usage for preparation of drugs has been found on a Sumerian clay slab from Nagpur, approximately 5000 years old. It comprised 12 recipes for drug preparation referring to over 250 various plants, some of them alkaloid such as poppy, henbane, and mandrake.[2]

The Chinese book on roots and grasses “Pen T’Sao,” written by Emperor Shen Nung circa 2500 BC, treats 365 drugs (dried parts of medicinal plants), many of which are used even nowadays such as the following: Rhei rhisoma, camphor, Theae folium, Podophyllum, the great yellow gentian, ginseng, jimson weed, cinnamon bark, and ephedra.[3,4]

The Indian holy books Vedas mention treatment with plants, which are abundant in that country. Numerous spice plants used even today originate from India: nutmeg, pepper, clove, etc.[5]

The Ebers Papyrus, written circa 1550 BC, represents a collection of 800 proscriptions referring to 700 plant species and drugs used for therapy such as pomegranate, castor oil plant, aloe, senna, garlic, onion, fig, willow, coriander, juniper, common centaury, etc.[6,7]

According to data from the Bible and the holy Jewish book the Talmud, during various rituals accompanying a treatment, aromatic plants were utilized such as myrtle and incense.[8]

In Homer's epics The Iliad and The Odysseys, created circa 800 BC, 63 plant species from the Minoan, Mycenaean, and Egyptian Assyrian pharmacotherapy were referred to. Some of them were given the names after mythological characters from these epics; for instance, Elecampane (Inula helenium L. Asteraceae) was named in honor of Elena, who was the centre of the Trojan War. As regards the plants from the genus Artemisia, which were believed to restore strength and protect health, their name was derived from the Greek word artemis, meaning “healthy.”[9] Herodotus (500 BC) referred to castor oil plant, Orpheus to the fragrant hellebore and garlic, and Pythagoras to the sea onion (Scilla maritima), mustard, and cabbage. The works of Hippocrates (459–370 BC) contain 300 medicinal plants classified by physiological action: Wormwood and common centaury (Centaurium umbellatum Gilib) were applied against fever; garlic against intestine parasites; opium, henbane, deadly nightshade, and mandrake were used as narcotics; fragrant hellebore and haselwort as emetics; sea onion, celery, parsley, asparagus, and garlic as diuretics; oak and pomegranate as adstringents.[10,11]

Theophrast (371-287 BC) founded botanical science with his books “De Causis Plantarium”— Plant Etiology and “De Historia Plantarium”—Plant History. In the books, he generated a classification of more than 500 medicinal plants known at the time.[12,13] Among others, he referred to cinnamon, iris rhizome, false hellebore, mint, pomegranate, cardamom, fragrant hellebore, monkshood, and so forth. In the description of the plant toxic action, Theophrast underscored the important feature for humans to become accustomed to them by a gradual increase of the doses. Owing to his consideration of the said topics, he gained the epithet of “the father of botany,” given that he has great merits for the classification and description of medicinal plants.[14,15]

In his work “De re medica” the renowned medical writer Celsus (25 BC–50 AD) quoted approximately 250 medicinal plants such as aloe, henbane, flax, poppy, pepper, cinnamon, the star gentian, cardamom, false hellebore, etc.[16]

In ancient history, the most prominent writer on plant drugs was Dioscorides, “the father of pharmacognosy,” who, as a military physician and pharmacognosist of Nero's Army, studied medicinal plants wherever he travelled with the Roman Army. Circa 77 AD he wrote the work “De Materia Medica.” This classical work of ancient history, translated many times, offers plenty of data on the medicinal plants constituting the basic materia medica until the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance.[17,18] Of the total of 944 drugs described, 657 are of plant origin, with descriptions of the outward appearance, locality, mode of collection, making of the medicinal preparations, and their therapeutic effect. In addition to the plant description, the names in other languages coupled with the localities where they occur or are grown are provided. The plants having mild effect are dominant, but there are also references to those containing alkaloid or other matter with strong effect (fragrant hellebore, false hellebore, poppy, buttercup, jimson weed, henbane, deadly nightshade).[21,22] Dioscorides’ most appreciated domestic plants are as follows: willow, camomile, garlic, onion, marsh mallow, ivy, nettle, sage, common centaury, coriander, parsley, sea onion, and false hellebore). Camomile (Matricaria recucita L.), known under the name Chamaemelon, is used as an antiphlogistic to cure wounds, stings, burns, and ulcers, then for cleansing and rinsing the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Owing to its mild carminative action, it is particularly appropriate for usage with children. Dioscorides deemed that it had abortive action, on which he wrote, “The flower, root, and the entire plant accelerate menstruation, the release of the embryo, and the discharge of urine and stone, provided that they are used in the form of an infusion and baths.” This untrue belief was later embraced by both the Romans and the Arabs; hence the Latin name Matricaria, derived from two words: mater denoting “mother,” i.e. matrix, denoting ‘uterus’. Dioscorides differentiated between a number of species from the genus Mentha, which were grown and used to relieve headache and stomach ache. The bulbs of sea onion and parsley were utilized as diuretics, oak bark was used for gynaecological purposes, while white willow was used as an antipyretic. As maintained by Dioscorides, Scillae bulbus was also applied as an expectorant, cardiac stimulant, and antihydrotic.[23] It is worth underscoring that Dioscorides pointed to the possibility of forgery of drugs, both the domestic ones such as opium forged by a yellow poppy (Glaucium flavum) milk sap and poppy, and the more expensive oriental drugs, transported by the Arab merchants from the Far East, such as iris, calamus, caradmomum, incense, etc.[8]

Pliny the Elder (23 AD-79), a contemporary of Dioscorides, who travelled throughout Germany and Spain, wrote about approximately 1000 medicinal plants in his book “Historia naturalis.” Pliny's and Dioscorides’ works incorporated all knowledge of medicinal plants at the time.[9]

The most distinguished Roman physician (concurrently a pharmacist), Galen (131 AD–200), compiled the first list of drugs with similar or identical action (parallel drugs), which are interchangeable—“De succedanus.” From today's point of view, some of the proposed substitutes do not correspond in a pharmacological context and are absolutely unacceptable. Galen also introduced several new plant drugs in therapy that Dioscorides had not described, for instance, Uvae ursi folium, used as an uroantiseptic and a mild diuretic even in this day and age.

In the seventh century AD the Slavic people used Rosmarinus officinalis, Ocimum basilicum, Iris germanica, and Mentha viridis in cosmetics, Alium sativum as a remedy and Veratrum album, Cucumis sativus, Urtica dioica, Achilea millefolium, Artemisia maritime L., Lavandula officinalis, Sambuci flos against several injurios insects, i.e. louses, fleas, moths, mosquitos, and spiders and Aconitum napellus as a poison in hunting.[10]

In the Middle Ages, the skills of healing, cultivation of medicinal plants, and preparation of drugs moved to monasteries. Therapy was based on 16 medicinal plants, which the physicians-monks commonly grew within the monasteries as follows: sage, anise, mint, Greek seed, savory, tansy, etc.

Charles the Great (742 AD–814), the founder of the reputed medical school in Salerno, in his “Capitularies” ordered which medicinal plants were to be grown on the state-owned lands. Around 100 different plants were quoted, which have been used till present days such as sage, sea onion, iris, mint, common centaury, poppy, marsh mallow, etc. The great emperor especially appreciated the sage (Salvia officinalis L.). The Latin name of sage originates from the old Latins, who called it a salvation plant (salvare meaning “save, cure”). Even today sage is a mandatory plant in all Catholic monasteries.[23,24]

The Arabs introduced numerous new plants in pharmacotherapy, mostly from India, a country they used to have trade relations with, whereas the majority of the plants were with real medicinal value, and they have persisted in all pharmacopoeias in the world till today. The Arabs used aloe, deadly nightshade, henbane, coffee, ginger, strychnos, saffron, curcuma, pepper, cinnamon, rheum, senna, and so forth. Certain drugs with strong action were replaced by drugs with mild action, for instance, Sennae folium was used as a mild laxative, compared to the purgatives Heleborus odorus and Euphorbium used until then.

Throughout the Middle Ages European physicians consulted the Arab works “De Re Medica” by John Mesue (850 AD), “Canon Medicinae” by Avicenna (980-1037), and “Liber Magnae Collectionis Simplicum Alimentorum Et Medicamentorum” by Ibn Baitar (1197-1248), in which over 1000 medicinal plants were described.[7]

For Macedonia, St Clement and St Naum of Ohrid's work are of particular significance. They referred to the Nikeian pharmacological codex dating from year 850, and transferred his extensive knowledge on medicinal plants to his disciples and via them to the masses.[15,19,20]

Marco Polo's journeys (1254-1324) in tropical Asia, China, and Persia, the discovery of America (1492), and Vasco De Gama's journeys to India (1498), resulted in many medicinal plants being brought into Europe. Botanical gardens emerged all over Europe, and attempts were made for cultivation of domestic medicinal plants and of the ones imported from the old and the new world. With the discovery of America, materia medica was enriched with a large number of new medicinal plants: Cinchona, Ipecacuanha, Cacao, Ratanhia, Lobelia, Jalapa, Podophylum, Senega, Vanilla, Mate, tobacco, red pepper, etc. In 17th century, Cortex Chinae, yielded from quinine bark Cinchona succirubra Pavon, under the name countess’ powder, since the Countess of Chinchon was the first one who used it, was introduced to European medicine. Quinine bark rapidly overwhelmed England, France, and Germany despite the fact that there was many an opponent to its use among distinguished physicians—members of a range of academies.

Paracelsus (1493-1541) was one of the proponents of chemically prepared drugs out of raw plants and mineral substances; nonetheless, he was a firm believer that the collection of those substances ought to be astrologically determined. He continuously emphasized his belief in observation, and simultaneously supported the “Signatura doctrinae”—the signature doctrine. According to this belief, God designated his own sign on the healing substances, which indicated their application for certain diseases. For example, the haselwort is reminiscent of the liver; thus, it must be beneficial for liver diseases; St John's wort Hypericum perforatum L. would be beneficial for treatment of wounds and stings given that the plant leaves appear as if they had been stung.

While the old peoples used medicinal plants primarily as simple pharmaceutical forms—infusions, decoctions and macerations—in the Middle Ages, and in particular between 16th and 18th centuries, the demand for compound drugs was increasing. The compound drugs comprised medicinal plants along with drugs of animal and plant origin. If the drug the theriac was produced from a number of medicinal plants, rare animals, and minerals, it was highly valued and sold expensively.[9,10]

In 18th century, in his work Species Plantarium (1753), Linnaeus (1707-1788) provided a brief description and classification of the species described until then. The species were described and named without taking into consideration whether some of them had previously been described somewhere. For the naming, a polynomial system was employed where the first word denoted the genus while the remaining polynomial phrase explained other features of the plant (e.g. the willow Clusius was named Salix pumila angustifolia antera). Linnaeus altered the naming system into a binominal one. The name of each species consisted of the genus name, with an initial capital letter, and the species name, with an initial small letter.[25]

Early 19th century was a turning point in the knowledge and use of medicinal plants. The discovery, substantiation, and isolation of alkaloids from poppy (1806), ipecacuanha (1817), strychnos (1817), quinine (1820), pomegranate (1878), and other plants, then the isolation of glycosides, marked the beginning of scientific pharmacy. With the upgrading of the chemical methods, other active substances from medicinal plants were also discovered such as tannins, saponosides, etheric oils, vitamins, hormones, etc.[26]

In late 19th and early 20th centuries, there was a great danger of elimination of medicinal plants from therapy. Many authors wrote that drugs obtained from them had many shortcomings due to the destructive action of enzymes, which cause fundamental changes during the process of medicinal plants drying, i.e. medicinal plants’ healing action depends on the mode of drying. In 19th century, therapeutics, alkaloids, and glycosides isolated in pure form were increasingly supplanting the drugs from which they had been isolated. Nevertheless, it was soon ascertained that although the action of pure alkaloids was faster, the action of alkaloid drugs was full and long-lasting. In early 20th century, stabilization methods for fresh medicinal plants were proposed, especially the ones with labile medicinal components. Besides, much effort was invested in study of the conditions of manufacturing and cultivation of medicinal plants.[27,28]

On account of chemical, physiological, and clinical studies, numerous forgotten plants and drugs obtained thereof were restored to pharmacy: Aconitum, Punica granatum, Hyosciamus, Stramonium, Secale cornutum, Filix mas, Opium, Styrax, Colchicum, Ricinus, and so forth. The active components of medicinal plants are a product of the natural, most seamless laboratory. The human organism accepts the drug obtained from them best in view of the fact that man is an integral part of nature.[29] There are scores of examples of this kind; perhaps they will instigate serious research into the old manuscripts on medicinal plants, which would not be observed out of curiosity about history but as potential sources of contemporary pharmacotherapy.

In present days, almost all pharmacopoeias in the world—Ph Eur 6,[30] USP XXXI,[31] BP 2007[32]—proscribe plant drugs of real medicinal value. There are countries (the United Kingdom,[32] Russia, Germany[33]) that have separate herbal pharmacopoeias. Yet, in practice, a much higher number of unofficial drugs are always used. Their application is grounded on the experiences of popular medicine (traditional or popular medicine) or on the new scientific research and experimental results (conventional medicine). Many medicinal plants are applied through self-medication or at the recommendation of a physician or pharmacist. They are used independently or in combination with synthetic drugs (complementary medicine). For the sake of adequate and successfully applied therapy, knowledge of the precise diagnosis of the illness as well as of medicinal plants, i.e. the pharmacological effect of their components is essential. Plant drugs and phytopreparations, most commonly with defined active components, verified action and, sometimes, therapeutic efficiency, are applied as therapeutic means. In the major European producer and consumer of herbal preparations—Germany, rational phytotherapy is employed, based on applications of preparations whose efficiency depends on the applied dose and identified active components, and their efficiency has been corroborated by experimental and clinical tests. Those preparations have been manufactured from standardized plant drug extracts, and they adhere to all requirements for pharmaceutical quality of drugs.

With the new Law on Drugs and Medical Devices dated September 2007[34] and enacted in the Republic of Macedonia, dry or sometimes fresh parts of medicinal plants (herbal substances) may be used for preparation of herbal drugs, herbal processed products, and traditional herbal drugs. Herbal substances may also be utilized for manufacture of homeopathic drugs, which are stipulated in the current law, too. In the Republic of Macedonia herbal preparations are dispensed without a medical prescription, as “over the counter” (OTC) preparations.

CONCLUSIONS

Since time immemorial people have tried to find medications to alleviate pain and cure different illnesses. In every period, every successive century from the development of humankind and advanced civilizations, the healing properties of certain medicinal plants were identified, noted, and conveyed to the successive generations. The benefits of one society were passed on to another, which upgraded the old properties, discovered new ones, till present days. The continuous and perpetual people's interest in medicinal plants has brought about today's modern and sophisticated fashion of their processing and usage.

Footnotes

Source of Support: Nil

Conflict of Interest: None declared

REFERENCES

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4. Wiart C. Etnopharmacology of medicinal plants. New Jersey: Humana Press; 2006. pp. 1–50.

5. Tucakov J. Healing with plants – phytotherapy. Beograd: Culture; 1971. pp. 180–90.

6. Glesinger L. Medicine through centuries. Zagreb: Zora; 1954. pp. 21–38.

7. Tucakov J. Pharmacognosy. Beograd: Institute for text book issuing in SR. Srbije; 1964. pp. 11–30.

8. Dimitrova Z. The history of pharmacy. Sofija: St Clement of Ohrid; 1999. pp. 13–26.

9. Toplak Galle K. Domestic medicinal plants. Zagreb: Mozaic book; 2005. pp. 60–1.

10. Bojadzievski P. The health services in Bitola through the centuries. Bitola: Society of science and art; 1992. pp. 15–27.

11. Gorunovic M, Lukic P. Pharmacognosy. Beograd: Gorunovic M; 2001. pp. 1–5.

12. Pelagic V. Pelagic folk teacher. Beograd: Freedom; 1970. pp. 500–2.

13. Katic R. La medicine en Serbie au moyen age. Beograd: Scientific work; 1958. pp. 7–36.

14. Bazala V. The historical development of medicine in the Croatian lands. Zagreb: Croation publishing bibliographic institute; 1943. pp. 9–20.

15. Nikolovski B. Essays on the history of health culture in Macedonia. Skopje: Macedonian pharmaceutical association; 1995. pp. 17–27.

16. Tucakov J. Pharmacognosy. Beograd: Academic books; 1948. pp. 8–21.

17. Thorwald J. Power and knowledge of ancient physicians. Zagreb: August Cesarec; 1991. pp. 10–255.

18. Katic R. The Serbian medicine from 9th to 19th centuries. Beograd: Scientific work; 1967. pp. 22–37.

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31. The United States Pharmacopoeial Convention. Washington: 2008. USP 31 the United States Pharmacopoeia.

32. British Pharmacopoeia Commission. London: 2007. British Pharmacopoeia.

33. Blumenthal M. The Complete German Commission E Monographs, Special Expert Committee of the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices. Austin: 1998.

34. Law of medicines and medical supplies, Official gazette of RM no.106/07.

Introduction and Importance of Medicinal Plants and Herbs

Introduction

The term “medicinal plant” include various types of plants used in herbalism ("herbology" or "herbal medicine"). It is the use of plants for medicinal purposes, and the study of such uses.

The word “herb” has been derived from the Latin word, “herba” and an old French word “herbe”. Now a days, herb refers to any part of the plant like fruit, seed, stem, bark, flower, leaf, stigma or a root, as well as a non-woody plant. Earlier, the term “herb” was only applied to non-woody plants, including those that come from trees and shrubs. These medicinal plants are also used as food, flavonoid, medicine or perfume and also in certain spiritual activities.

Plants have been used for medicinal purposes long before prehistoric period. Ancient Unani manuscripts Egyptian papyrus and Chinese writings described the use of herbs.  Evidence exist that Unani Hakims, Indian Vaids and European and Mediterranean cultures were using herbs for over 4000 years as medicine. Indigenous cultures such as Rome, Egypt, Iran, Africa and America used herbs in their healing rituals, while other developed traditional medical systems such as Unani, Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine in which herbal therapies were used systematically.

Traditional systems of medicine continue to be widely practised on many accounts. Population rise, inadequate supply of drugs, prohibitive cost of treatments, side effects of several synthetic drugs and development of resistance to currently used drugs for infectious diseases have led to increased emphasis on the use of plant materials as a source of medicines for a wide variety of human ailments.

Among ancient civilisations, India has been known to be rich repository of medicinal plants. The forest in India is the principal repository of large number of medicinal and aromatic plants, which are largely collected as raw materials for manufacture of drugs and perfumery products. About 8,000 herbal remedies have been codified in AYUSH systems in INDIA. Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Folk (tribal) medicines are the major systems of indigenous medicines. Among these systems, Ayurveda and Unani Medicine are most developed and widely practised in India.

Recently, WHO (World Health Organization) estimated that 80 percent of people worldwide rely on herbal medicines for some aspect of their primary health care needs. According to WHO, around 21,000 plant species have the potential for being used as medicinal plants.

As per data available over three-quarters of the world population relies mainly on plants and plant extracts for their health care needs. More than 30% of the entire plant species, at one time or other were used for medicinal purposes. It has been estimated, that in developed countries such as United States, plant drugs constitute as much as 25% of the total drugs, while in fast developing countries such as India and China, the contribution is as much as 80%. Thus, the economic importance of medicinal plants is much more to countries such as India than to rest of the world. These countries provide two third of the plants used in modern system of medicine and the health care system of rural population depend on indigenous systems of medicine.

Treatment with medicinal plants is considered very safe as there is no or minimal side effects. These remedies are in sync with nature, which is the biggest advantage. The golden fact is that, use of herbal treatments is independent of any age groups and the sexes.

The ancient scholars only believed that herbs are only solutions to cure a number of health related problems and diseases. They conducted thorough study about the same, experimented to arrive at accurate conclusions about the efficacy of different herbs that have medicinal value. Most of the drugs, thus formulated, are free of side effects or reactions. This is the reason why herbal treatment is growing in popularity across the globe. These herbs that have medicinal quality provide rational means for the treatment of many internal diseases, which are otherwise considered difficult to cure.

Medicinal plants such as Aloe, Tulsi, Neem, Turmeric and Ginger cure several common ailments. These are considered as home remedies in many parts of the country. It is known fact that lots of consumers are using Basil (Tulsi) for making medicines, black tea, in pooja and other activities in their day to day life.

In several parts of the world many herbs are used to honour their kings showing it as a symbol of luck. Now, after finding the role of herbs in medicine, lots of consumers started the plantation of tulsi and other medicinal plants in their home gardens.

Medicinal plants are considered as a rich resources of ingredients which can be used in drug development either pharmacopoeial, non- pharmacopoeial or synthetic drugs. A part from that, these plants play a critical role in the development of human cultures around the whole world. Moreover, some plants are considered as important source of nutrition and as a result of that they are recommended for their therapeutic values. Some of these plants include ginger, green tea, walnuts, aloe, pepper and turmeric etc. Some plants and their derivatives are considered as important source for active ingredients which are used in aspirin and toothpaste etc.

Apart from the medicinal uses, herbs are also used in natural dye, pest control, food, perfume, tea and so on. In many countries different kinds of medicinal plants/ herbs are used to keep ants, flies, mice and flee away from homes and offices. Now a days medicinal herbs are important sources for pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Recipes for the treatment of common ailments such as diarrhoea, constipation, hypertension, low sperm count, dysentery and weak penile erection, piles, coated tongue, menstrual disorders, bronchial asthma, leucorrhoea and fevers are given by the traditional medicine practitioners very effectively.

Over the past two decades, there has been a tremendous increase in the use of herbal medicine; however, there is still a significant lack of research data in this field. Therefore since 1999, WHO has published three volumes of the WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants.

Importance of some herbs with their medicinal values

  • Herbs such as black pepper, cinnamon, myrrh, aloe, sandalwood, ginseng, red clover, burdock, bayberry, and safflower are used to heal wounds, sores and boils.
  • Basil, Fennel, Chives, Cilantro, Apple Mint, Thyme, Golden Oregano, Variegated Lemon Balm, Rosemary, Variegated Sage are some important medicinal herbs and can be planted in kitchen garden. These herbs are easy to grow, look good, taste and smell amazing and many of them are magnets for bees and butterflies.
  • Many herbs are used as blood purifiers to alter or change a long-standing condition by eliminating the metabolic toxins. These are also known as 'blood cleansers'. Certain herbs improve the immunity of the person, thereby reducing conditions such as fever.
  • Some herbs are also having antibiotic properties. Turmeric is useful in inhibiting the growth of germs, harmful microbes and bacteria. Turmeric is widely used as a home remedy to heal cut and wounds.
  • To reduce fever and the production of heat caused by the condition, certain antipyretic herbs such as Chirayta, black pepper, sandal wood and safflower are recommended by traditional Indian medicine practitioners.
  • Sandalwood and Cinnamon are great astringents apart from being aromatic. Sandalwood is especially used in arresting the discharge of blood, mucus etc.
  • Some herbs are used to neutralize the acid produced by the stomach. Herbs such as marshmallow root and leaf. They serve as antacids. The healthy gastric acid needed for proper digestion is retained by such herbs.
  • Indian sages were known to have remedies from plants which act against poisons from animals and snake bites.
  • Herbs like Cardamom and Coriander are renowned for their appetizing qualities. Other aromatic herbs such as peppermint, cloves and turmeric add a pleasant aroma to the food, thereby increasing the taste of the meal.
  • Some herbs like aloe, sandalwood, turmeric, sheetraj hindi and khare khasak are commonly used as antiseptic and are very high in their medicinal values.
  • Ginger and cloves are used in certain cough syrups. They are known for their expectorant property, which promotes the thinning and ejection of mucus from the lungs, trachea and bronchi. Eucalyptus, Cardamom, Wild cherry and cloves are also expectorants.
  • Herbs such as Chamomile, Calamus, Ajwain, Basil, Cardamom, Chrysanthemum, Coriander, Fennel, Peppermint and Spearmint, Cinnamon, Ginger and Turmeric are helpful in promoting good blood circulation. Therefore, they are used as cardiac stimulants.
  • Certain medicinal herbs have disinfectant property, which destroys disease causing germs. They also inhibit the growth of pathogenic microbes that cause communicable diseases.
  • Herbal medicine practitioners recommend calmative herbs, which provide a soothing effect to the body. They are often used as sedatives.
  • Certain aromatic plants such as Aloe, Golden seal, Barberry and Chirayata are used as mild tonics. The bitter taste of such plants reduces toxins in blood. They are helpful in destroying infection as well.
  • Certain herbs are used as stimulants to increase the activity of a system or an organ, for example herbs like Cayenne (Lal Mirch, Myrrh, Camphor and Guggul.
  •  A wide variety of herbs including Giloe, Golden seal, Aloe and Barberry are used as tonics. They can also be nutritive and rejuvenate a healthy as well as diseased individual.
  • Honey, turmeric, marshmallow and liquorice can effectively treat a fresh cut and wound. They are termed as vulnerary herbs.

Conclusion

As our lifestyle is now getting techno-savvy, we are moving away from nature. While we cannot escape from nature because we are part of nature. As herbs are natural products they are free from side effects, they are comparatively safe, eco-friendly and locally available. Traditionally there are lot of herbs used for the ailments related to different seasons. There is a need to promote them to save the human lives.

These herbal products are today are the symbol of safety in contrast to the synthetic drugs, that are regarded as unsafe to human being and environment. Although herbs had been priced for their medicinal, flavouring and aromatic qualities for centuries, the synthetic products of the modern age surpassed their importance, for a while. However, the blind dependence on synthetics is over and people are returning to the naturals with hope of safety and security. It’s time to promote them globally.

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www.nhp.gov.in/unani_mty

www.ccrum.net/about/dossier/

ayurveda.iloveindia.com/herbology/medicinal-value-of-herbs.html

reelsaltlife.blogspot.in/2012/02/role-of-herbs-in-human-life.html

www.drugs.com/forum/alternative-medicine/importance-herbal-medicines-58521.html

 

 

  • PUBLISHED DATE : May 20, 2016
  • PUBLISHED BY : Zahid
  • CREATED / VALIDATED BY : Dr. Mahtab Alam Khan
  • LAST UPDATED ON : May 20, 2016

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