Standardization of Herbal Medicines

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Herbal medicine is the most primitive traditional approach to the treatment of diseases and ailments. It is called herbal medicine because it involves the use of plants or plant parts. There is no doubt that herbal medicines provided the first basis for therapeutics before the development or advent of orthodox medicine. Despite the fact that, over the years, chemists have synthesized a large number of chemical substances, many of which have proved useful in modern therapeutics, plants still remain potential sources of useful products. Although the medicine prescribed may contain only one single active item, it is often a mixture of many components. Thousands of herbal medicines are used by peoples from every culture and various indigenous medicines are gradually being introduced into modern therapeutics. In developing countries about 80% of the people, especially the rural population, rely on traditional medical remedies for their health care needs. In developed countries, there has been a resurgence of interest in herbal medicines due, to a large extent, on the preference of many consumers for products of natural origin. In addition, manufactured herbal medicines from their countries of origin often follow in the wake of migrants from countries where traditional medicines play an important role. It is important however, to distinguish between herbal medicine supplied by a “qualified” medical practitioner as a result of a consultation and those herbal remedies (in the form of “teas”) freely available to the public for self-medication. DEFINITION:

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), herbal medicines should be regarded as “finished, labelled medicinal products that contain as active ingredients aerial or underground parts of plants or other plant materials or combinations thereof, whether in the crude state or as plant preparations. Plant material includes juices, gums, fatty oils,...
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