Herbalism: Medicine Practice Based on the Use of Plants and Plant Extracts

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Herbalism is a traditional medicinal or folk medicine practice based on the use of plants and plant extracts. Herbalism is also known as botanical medicine, medical herbalism, herbal medicine, herbology, andphytotherapy. The scope of herbal medicine is sometimes extended to include fungal and bee products, as well as minerals, shells and certain animal parts.[1] Pharmacognosy is the study of medicines derived from natural sources.

Traditional use of medicines is recognized as a way to learn about potential future medicines. In 2001, researchers identified 122 compounds used in mainstream medicine which were derived from "ethnomedical" plant sources; 80% of these compounds were used in the same or related manner as the traditional ethnomedical use.[2]

Many plants synthesize substances that are useful to the maintenance of health in humans and other animals. These include aromatic substances, most of which are phenols or their oxygen-substituted derivatives such as tannins. Many are secondary metabolites, of which at least 12,000 have been isolated — a number estimated to be less than 10% of the total. In many cases, substances such as alkaloids serve as plant defense mechanisms against predation by microorganisms, insects, and herbivores. Many of the herbsand spices used by humans to season food yield useful medicinal compounds.[3][4]

Similarly to prescription drugs, a number of herbs are thought to be likely to cause adverse effects[5]. Furthermore, "adulteration, inappropriate formulation, or lack of understanding of plant and drug interactions have led to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening or lethal.[6].

[pic] Rosemary


The anthocyanins in sweet violetsproduce deep red, violet and blue shades



The carotenoids in primrose produce bright red, yellow and orange shades.


Thai chili peppers contain capsaicin

Examples of plants used as medicine

1) Aloe vera

|[pic] |
|Aloe vera plant with flower detail inset. |
|Scientific classification |
|Kingdom: |Plantae |
|Order: |Asparagales |
|Family: |Asphodelaceae |
|Genus: |Aloe |
|Species: |Aloe vera |
|Binomial name |
|Aloe vera |
|(L.) Burm.f. |

Aloe vera, also known as the true or medicinal aloe, is a species of succulent plant that probably originated in the southern half of the Arabian peninsula, Northern Africa, the Canary islands and Cape Verde. Aloe vera grows in arid climates and is widely distributed in Africa, India and other arid areas. The species is frequently cited as being used in herbal medicine. Many scientific studies of the use of aloe vera have been undertaken, some of them conflicting.[1][2][3][4]Despite these limitations, there is some preliminary evidence that Aloe vera extracts may be useful in the treatment of wound and burn healing, minor skin infections, Sebaceous cyst,diabetes and elevated blood lipids in humans.[3] These positive effects are thought to be due to the presence of compounds such as polysaccharides, mannans, anthraquinones andlectins.[3][5][6]


Aloe vera is a stemless or very short-stemmed succulent plant growing to 60–100 cm (24–39 in) tall, spreading by offsets. The leaves are thick and fleshy, green to grey-green, with some varieties showing white flecks on the upper and lower stem surfaces.[7] The margin of the leaf is serrated and has small white teeth. The flowers are produced in summer on a spike up to 90 cm (35 in) tall, each flower pendulous, with a yellow tubular corolla 2–3 cm (0.8–1.2 in) long.[7][8] Like...
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