Phytotherapy is a method of healing different ailments with the help of herbal medicines that can come in form of plants, their parts, plant extracts or more complex plant preparations.
Healing with herbs has been in use for centuries. The most ancient proves are the evidences found during archeological excavations in Sumer (the historical region of southern Mesopotamia situated in modern-day southern Iraq). The doctors of Sumer knew at that time already that many plants possess healing characteristics. They used them to prepare different tinctures and powders that they would mix with plant products and add beer and wine to the mixture on top of that. The terms phytotherapy and phytopharmaceuticals were first suggested by the French doctor Henri Leclair as early as at the beginning of the 20th century.
From the onsets of the human history herbs have not only formed part of essential diet but also served the purposes of treatment for various kinds of diseases. This treatment method is regaining popularity today in many different world countries as more and more people are rediscovering for themselves the benefits of healing with natural substances.
Nevertheless phytotherapy is still being underrated in many cases because it is seen as pseudo therapy which does not deserve the recognition by official medicine. This assumption proves to be false. Healing with herbs has the same scientific basis as the treatment with synthetic medicines. In today’s world phytotherapy is used in many areas of medicine, including the traditional academic one.
New research is being conducted on a regular basis. Up to this point there is already a great bulk of scientific evidence to back up the legitimacy of herbal medicines. The science that focuses on the study of herbs, their chemical structure and its effects on the body is known as pharmacognosy and is taught at the medical universities around the world.
At the present moment the World Health Organisation (WHO) is running the programme called Traditional Medicine Strategy that has been planned for the years span from 2014 to 2023. This programme seeks to integrate traditional and non-tradional medicine approaches improving the quality and safety of traditional medical treatments. This programme is supposed to allow non-traditional medical approaches contribute to the modern medicine enriching it with the knowledge accumulated by peoples of the world for centuries. All the more countries around the world are gradually coming to the realization of the enormous potential that non-traditional medicine is able to offer for human health and wellbeing adding wholeness and complexity to the traditional medical approach.
According to the data of the WHO 1% of people dies anually from the complications caused by traditional treatments with synthetic medicine. Healing with herbs is by contrast less toxic, the substances do not get accumulated in the body and less complications can be observed during and after treatment. Another advantage of the phytotherapy is its so called polytherapeutic quality which means the plant contains a number of substances that affect different body organs and systems. This advantage however is not un-problematic. The multi-sided influence that herbal medicines enact on the human body make the possibility of calculating its exact effects on each individual human organism more difficult. This is also a negative factor when it comes to evaluating the consequences of the interaction of herbal remedies with other synthetic medicines. That is why herbal treatment should always take place under the supervision of the practicing doctor and the recommendations of the official specialist are better not to be taken lightly.