The use of plants to promote healing dates back to the beginning of civilization.
It is also the basis of modern pharmacology. In fact, about 25% of all prescription drugs sold in North America have contained active constituents isolated from plants. Digoxin, codeine, colchine, morphine, and yohimbine are some popular examples.
In general, herbal preparations are thought to have three major advantages when compared with pharmaceutical products: lower cost, fewer side-effects, and medicinal effects which tend to normalize physiological function. When used most effectively, the mechanism of action of an herb will often correct the underlying cause of a disorder. Interestingly, research has often shown that use of the whole plant is more effective than isolated constituents.
However, it is important to note that there are many herbal products on the market which are of very poor-quality and as such, therapeutic results unlikely to be achieved. In order for herbal medicine to be effective, it is important to use high quality products of the appropriate herbs, taken in a form that can be properly absorbed by the body.
Here are some interesting facts about the medicinal value of plants:
- More than 25% of modern prescription drugs are based on or produced from natural compounds found in certain plants.
- Less than 10% of known plant species have been screened for their medicinal value.
- 25% of all plant species, an estimated 60 000 could be extinct by 2050.