Herbal medicine is one of the oldest medical therapies that can be found on all continents and in all cultures. The knowledge about plants is the basis of herbal medicine.
In addition, herbal medicine largely intersects with pharmacology and toxicology. As a result, herbal medicine can be associated with the term referring to pharmaceutical biology. Herbal medicine aims to explore medical plants and their ingredients with respect to their therapeutic effects.
Not only whole plants or their parts (flowers, leaves, seeds, bark, roots), but also isolated individual substances are used in herbal medicine. These pharmaceutical drugs called precursors can be used fresh or conserved: tea, juice, tincture, extract, powder, essential oil, etc. As parts of mixtures, medicinal plants can have variously pronounced effects and thus be used in various clinical cases. The active ingredients of the medicinal plants are subject to natural fluctuations, caused by climate, location, and time the plant was harvested. Preparations from medicinal plants can continue to be affected by storage and manufacturing process in their content of ingredients. The standardization of source materials and methods for the manufacture of medicinal products is therefore very important. Herbal medicinal products contain defined amounts of active ingredients and have consistent quality and effectiveness.
The herbal medicine is based in part on traditional medicine. Empirical values, traditional knowledge, and traditions play an important role. Many effects by medicinal plants are not scientifically proven. However, the modern herbal medicine follows the principles of scientifically justified medical approach.
Herbal medicine usually implies complex mixtures and is not about isolated individual substances (organic drugs) application. The use of a single substance, which are due to insulation or are synthetically derived, is carried out with the aim to improve to reduce the efficiency and to reduce side effects.
Many modern herbal preparations or isolated substances have a long history of use as a drug. The most known are opium, aspirin, digitalis, quinine, and others. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that currently 80% of the world population uses the herbal medicine for some areas of basic medical care. For a large part of the world’s population, with the daily income less than two (equivalent) USD, commercial drugs are very expensive. In the herbal medicine, you can rely on products of nature, costing less, or nothing at all.
In preparing herbal drug, time plays a special role, because accumulating of certain substances depends on time. Preparing infusion and decoction also depends on whether the plants are cocked with closed lid, as this is usually therapeutically particularly effective with essential oils, which are particularly volatile, and would otherwise be lost. The preparation and dosage appropriate preparations require expert knowledge because of the risk of fatal poisoning.
The way of preparation depends on the content or active ingredients, which you would like to extract from the parts of plants. The way of preparation can have decisive influence on the effectiveness of one and the same species.
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