medicinal plants

- [ edit]
NCCAM classifications [1]
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
See also
Complementary and alternative medicine
Complementary medicine
Alternative medicine
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, medicinal botany[1], medical herbalism, herbal medicine, herbology, and phytotherapy. Sometimes the scope of herbal medicine is extended to include fungi and bee products, as well as minerals, shells and certain animal parts.

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, these substances (particularly the alkaloids) serve as plant defense mechanisms against predation by microorganisms, insects, and herbivores. Many of the herbs and spices used by humans to season food yield useful medicinal compounds. [2][3]

With only a few exceptions, most herbal treatments have not been tested for safety and efficacy utilizing scientific studies or clinical trials. The scientific and medical communities state that herbal treatments may be risk the well-being or life of the patient when used in lieu of standard medical treatments.[4]

Role of herbal medicine in human society

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Mint from Project Gutenberg EBook of Culinary Herbs: Their Cultivation Harvesting Curing and Uses, by M. G. Kains
People on all continents have used hundreds to thousands of indigenous plants for treatment of ailments since prehistoric times[5]. There is evidence from the Shanidar Cave in Iraq that suggests Neanderthals living 60,000 years ago used medicinal plants. A body that was unearthed there had been buried with eight species of plants which are still widely used in ethnomedicine around the world.[6]

The first generally accepted use of plants as healing agents was depicted in the cave paintings discovered in the Lascaux caves in France, which have been radiocarbon-dated to between 13,000-25,000 BCE. Medicinal herbs were found in the personal effects of an "Ice man," whose body was frozen in the Swiss Alps for more than 5,300 years, which appear to have been used to treat the parasites found in his intestines.[7]

Anthropologists theorize that animals evolved a tendency to seek out bitter plant parts in response to illness.[8] This behavior arose because bitterness is an indicator of secondary metabolites. The risk benefit ratio favored animals and protohumans that were inclined to experiment in times of sickness. Over time, and with insight, instinct, and trial-and-error, a base of knowledge would have been acquired within early tribal communities[9]. As this knowledge base expanded over the generations, the specialized role of the herbalist emerged. The process would likely have occurred in varying manners within a wide diversity of cultures.

Indigenous healers often claim to have learned by observing that sick animals change their food preferences to nibble at bitter herbs they would normally reject[10]. Field biologists have provided corroborating evidence based on observation of diverse species, such as chimpanzees, chickens, sheep and butterflies. Lowland gorillas take 90% of their diet from the fruits of Aframomum melegueta, a relative of the ginger plant, that is a potent antimicrobial and apparently keeps shigellosis and similar infections at bay.[11]

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Basil from Project Gutenberg EBook of Culinary Herbs: Their Cultivation Harvesting Curing and Uses, by M. G. Kains
Researchers from Ohio Wesleyan University found that some birds select nesting material rich in antimicrobial agents which protect their young from harmful bacteria[12].

Sick animals tend to forage plants rich in secondary metabolites, such as tannins and alkaloids[13]. Since these phytochemicals often have antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and antihelminthic properties, a plausible case can be made for self-medication by animals in the wild.[13]

Some animals have digestive systems especially adapted to cope with certain plant toxins. For example, the koala can live on the leaves and shoots of the eucalyptus, a plant that is dangerous to most animals. [14]A plant that is harmless to a particular animal may not be safe for humans to ingest[15]. A reasonable conjecture is that these discoveries were traditionally collected by the medicine people of indigenous tribes, who then passed on safety information and cautions.

The use of herbs to treat disease is almost universal among non-industrialized societies. A number of traditions came to dominate the practice of herbal medicine at the end of the twentieth century: Many of the pharmaceuticals currently available to physicians have a long history of use as herbal remedies, including opium, aspirin, digitalis, and quinine. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80 percent of the world's population presently uses herbal medicine for some aspect of primary health care. [16]Herbal medicine is a major component in all traditional medicine systems, and a common element in Ayurvedic, homeopathic, naturopathic, traditional Chinese medicine, and Native American medicine.

According to the WHO, 74% of 119 modern plant-derived pharmaceutical medicines are used in ways that are similar to their traditional uses. Major pharmaceutical companies are currently conducting extensive research on plant materials gathered from the rainforests and other places for possible new pharmaceuticals.[17]

The use of, and search for, drugs and dietary supplements derived from plants have accelerated in recent years. Pharmacologists, microbiologists, botanists, and natural-products chemists are combing the Earth for phytochemicals and leads that could be developed for treatment of various diseases. In fact, approximately 25% of modern drugs used in the United States have been derived from plants.
  • Three quarters of plants that provide active ingredients for prescription drugs came to the attention of researchers because of their use in traditional medicine.
  • Among the 120 active compounds currently isolated from the higher plants and widely used in modern medicine today, 75 percent show a positive correlation between their modern therapeutic use and the traditional use of the plants from which they are derived.
  • More than two thirds of the world's plant species - at least 35,000 of which are estimated to have medicinal value - come from the developing countries.
  • At least 7,000 medical compounds in the modern pharmacopoeia are derived from plants[18]

Herbs in history

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Borage from Project Gutenberg EBook of Culinary Herbs: Their Cultivation Harvesting Curing and Uses, by M. G. Kains
In the written record, the study of herbs dates back over 5,000 years to the Sumerians, who described well-established medicinal uses for such plants as laurel, caraway, and thyme. The first known Chinese herb book (or herbal), dating from about 2700 B.C., lists 365 medicinal plants and their uses - including ma-Huang, the shrub that introduced the drug ephedrine to modern medicine. The Egyptians of 1000 B.C. are known to have used garlic, opium, castor oil, coriander, mint, indigo, and other herbs for medicine and the Old Testament also mentions herb use and cultivation, including mandrake, vetch, caraway, wheat, barley, and rye.

Like their predecessors, the ancient Greeks and Romans made medicinal use of plants. Greek and Roman medicinal practices, as preserved in the writings of Hippocrates and - especially - Galen, provided the patterns for later western medicine. Hippocrates advocated the use of a few simple herbal drugs - along with fresh air, rest, and proper diet. Galen, on the other had, recommended large doses of more or less complicated drug mixtures - including plant, animal, and mineral ingredients. The Greek physician compiled the first European treatise on the properties and uses of medicinal plants, De Materia Medica. In the first century AD, Dioscorides wrote a compendium of more that 500 plants that remained an authoritative reference into the seventeenth century. Similarly important for herbalists and botanists of later centuries was the Greek book that founded the science of botany, Theophrastus’ Historia Plantarum, written in the fourth century B.C.

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Thyme from Project Gutenberg EBook of Culinary Herbs: Their Cultivation Harvesting Curing and Uses, by M. G. Kains
The uses of plants for medicine and other purposes changed little during the Middle Ages. The early Christian church discouraged the formal practice of medicine, preferring faith healing; but many Greek and Roman writings on medicine, as on other subjects, were preserved by diligent hand copying of manuscripts in monasteries. The monasteries thus tended to become local centers of medical knowledge, and their herb gardens provided the raw materials for simple treatment of common disorders. At the same time, folk medicine in the home and village continues uninterrupted, supporting numerous wandering and settled herbalists. Among these were the “wise-women,” who prescribed herbal remedies often along with spells and enchantments. It was not until the later Middle Ages that women who were knowledgeable in herb lore became the targets of the witch hysteria. One of the most famous women in the herbal tradition was Hildegard of Bingen. A twelfth century Benedictine nun, she wrote a medical text called Causes and Cures.

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Marjoram from Project Gutenberg EBook of Culinary Herbs: Their Cultivation Harvesting Curing and Uses, by M. G. Kains
Medical schools began to return in the eleventh century, teaching Galen’s system. At the time, the Arabic world was more advanced in science than Europe. As a trading culture, the Arabs had access to plant material from distant places such as China and India. Herbals, medical texts and translations of the classics of antiquity filtered in from east to west.[19] Alongside the university system, folk medicine continued to thrive. Plants were burdened with a mass of both pagan and Christian superstition that often was more important than their actual properties. The continuing importance of herbs for the centuries following the Middle Ages is indicated by the hundreds of herbals published after the invention of printing in the fifteenth century. Theophrastus’ Historia Plantarum was one of the first books to be printed, and Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica was not far behind.

The fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries were the great age of herbals, many of them available for the first time in English and other languages rather than Latin or Greek. The first herbal to be published in English was the anonymous Grete Herball of 1526. The two best-known herbals in English wereThe Herball or General History of Plants (1597) by John Gerard and The English Physician Enlarged (1653) by Nicholas Culpeper. Gerard’s text was basically a pirated translation of a book by the Belgian herbalist Dodoens and his illustrations came from a German botanical work. The original edition contained many errors due to faulty matching of the two parts. Culpeper’s blend of traditional medicine with astrology, magic, and folklore was ridiculed by the physicians of his day yet his book - like Gerard’s and other herbals - enjoyed phenomenal popularity. The Age of Exploration and the Columian Exchange introduced new medicinal plants to Europe. The Badianus Manuscript was an illustrated Aztec herbal translated into Latin in the 16th century.

But the seventeenth century also saw the beginning of a slow erosion of the pre-eminent position held by plants as sources of therapeutic effects. The introduction by the physician. Paracelsus of active chemical drugs (like arsenic, copper sulfate, iron, mercury, and sulfur), followed by the rapid development of chemistry and the other physical sciences in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, led increasingly to the dominance of chemotherapy - chemical medicine - as the orthodox system of the twentieth century.

Biological background

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The anthocyanins in sweet violet produce deep red, violet and blue shades.
All plants produce chemical compounds as part of their normal metabolic activities. These include primary metabolites, such as sugars and fats, found in all plants, and secondary metabolites found in a smaller range of plants, some useful ones found only in a particular genus or species. Pigments harvest light, protect the organism from radiation and display colors to attract pollinators.

The functions of secondary metabolites are varied. For example, some secondary metabolites are toxins used to deter predation, and others are pheremones used to attract insects for pollination. Phytoalexins protect against bacterial and fungal attacks. Allelochemicals inhibit rival plants that are competing for soil and light.

Plants upregulate and downregulate their biochemical paths in response to the local mix of herbivores, pollinators and microorganisms.[20] The chemical profile of a single plant may vary over time as it reacts to changing conditions. It is the secondary metabolites and pigments that can have therapeutic actions in humans and which can be refined to produce drugs.

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The carotenoids in primrose produce bright red, yellow and orange shades.
Plants synthesize a bewildering variety of phytochemicals but most are derivatives of a few biochemical motifs.
  • Alkaloids contain a ring with nitrogen. Many alkaloids have dramatic effects on the central nervous system. Caffeine is an alkaloid that provides a mild lift but the alkaloids in datura cause severe intoxication and even death.
  • Phenolics contain phenol rings. The anthocyanins that give grapes their purple color, the isoflavones, the phytoestrogens from soy and the tannins that give tea its astringency are phenolics.
  • Turpenoids are built up from terpene building blocks. Each terpene consists of two paired isoprenes. The names monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, diterpenes and triterpenes are based on the number of isoprene units. The fragrance of rose and lavender is due to monoterpenes. The carotenoids produce the reds, yellows and oranges of pumpkin, corn and tomatoes.
  • Glycosides consist of a glucose moiety attached to an aglycone. The aglycone is a molecule that is bioactive in its free form but inert until the glycoside bond is broken by water or enzymes. This mechanism allows the plant to defer the availability of the molecule to an appropriate time, similar to a safety lock on a gun. An example is the cyanoglycosides in cherry pits that release toxins only when bitten by a herbivore.
The word drug itself comes from the Swedish word "druug", which means 'dried plant'. Some examples are inulin from the roots of dahlias, quinine from the cinchona, morphine and codeine from the poppy, and digoxin from the foxglove.

The active ingredient in willow bark, once prescribed by Hippocrates, is salicin, or salicylic acid. The discovery of salicylic acid lead to the development of "aspirin", also known as "acetylsalicylic acid". "Aspirin" was originally a brand name, and is still a protected trademark in some countries. This medication was patented by Bayer AG.


A survey released in May 2004 by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine focused on who used (CAM), what was used, and why it was used. The survey was limited to adults, aged 18 years and over during 2002, living in the United States.

According to this survey, herbal therapy, or use of natural products other than vitamins and minerals, was the most commonly used CAM therapy (18.9%) when all use of prayer was excluded.[21][22]

Herbal remedies are very common in Europe. In Germany, herbal medications are dispensed by apothecaries (e.g., Apotheke). Prescription drugs are sold alongside essential oils, herbal extracts, or herbal teas. Herbal remedies are seen by some as a treatment to be preferred to chemical medications which have been industrially produced[23].

In the United Kingdom, the training of medical herbalists is done by state funded Universities. For example, Bachelor of Science degrees in herbal medicine are offered at Universities such as University of East London, Middlesex University, University of Central Lancashire, University of Westminster, University of Lincoln and Napier University in Edinburgh at the present.

Types of herbal medicine systems

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Dioscorides’ Materia Medica, c. 1334 copy in Arabic, describes medicinal features of cumin and dill.
Use of medicinal plants can be as informal as, for example, culinary use or consumption of an herbal tea or supplement, although the sale of some herbs considered dangerous is often restricted to the public. Sometimes such herbs are provided to professional herbalists by specialist companies. Many herbalists, both professional and amateur, often grow or "wildcraft" their own herbs. Many common weeds have medicinal properties (e.g. dandelion).

In traditional Chinese medicine herbs (which may include animal and mineral parts) are divided into "Superior" (food grade), "Moderate" (to be taken for disease for a short time) and "Inferior" (toxic, short term) grades. Disease is attributed to imbalance between yin and yang energy. Yin and yang refer to polarities that may either support or undermine one another. An example would be rest and activity. Herbal formulas are based upon the organ system which is out of balance, with chief herbs addressing the main complaint, deputy herbs which reinforce the actions of the chief or address other affected organ systems, and servants which may harmonize, balance temperatures or tastes of the herbs, direct them to various parts of the body or assist penetration. Herbal formulas tend to have five to 15 herbs.

Some researchers trained in both western and Chinese medicine have attempted to deconstruct ancient medical texts in the light of modern science. One hypothesis that has emerged is that the yin-yang balance, at least with regard to herbs, corresponds to the pro-oxidant and anti-oxidant balance. This interpretation is supported by several investigations of the {ORAC ratings of various yin and yang herbs.[24][25]

Eclectic medicine came out of the vitalist tradition, similar to physiomedicalism and bridged the European and Native American traditions. Cherokee medicine tends to divide herbs into foods, medicines and toxins and to use seven plants in the treatment of disease, which is defined with both spiritual and physiological aspects, according to Cherokee herbalist David Winston.[26]

In India, Ayurvedic medicine has quite complex formulas with 30 or more ingredients, including a sizable number of ingredients that have undergone "alchemical processing", chosen to balance "Vata", "Pitta" or "Kapha."[27]

In addition there are more modern theories of herbal combination like William LeSassier's triune formula which combined Pythagorean imagery with Chinese medicine ideas and resulted in 9 herb formulas which supplemented, drained or neutrally nourished the main organ systems affected and three associated systems. His system has been taught to thousands of influential American herbalists through his own apprenticeship programs during his lifetime, the William LeSassier Archive[28] and the David Winston Center for Herbal Studies[29]

Routes of administration

There are many forms in which herbs can be administered, these include:
  • Tinctures (alcoholic extracts of herb, such as echinacea extract)
  • Tisanes (hot-water extracts of herb, such as chamomile)
  • Topical application of essential oil extracts, as in Oil of Oregano
  • Whole-herb consumption
  • Inhalation as in aromatherapy
The easiest route of administration which is common among indigenous healers is to chew the plant directly .

The roots of plants like echinacea, the fruit of the plant lycium (goji berry), the seeds of the emetic lobelia and the resins of myrrh have all been ingested directly as medicine.

Standardization and concentration can boost certain plant constituents while losing others.

Examples of plants used as medicine

Few herbal remedies have conclusively demonstrated any positive effect on humans. Many of the studies cited refer to animal model investigations or in-vitro assays and therefore cannot provide more than weak supportive evidence..
  • Artichoke and several other plants may reduce total serum cholesterol levels in preliminary studies. [30][31]
    • Black cohosh and other plants that contain phytoestrogens (plant molecules with estrogen activity) have some benefits for treatment of symptoms resulting from menopause.[32]
    • Echinacea extracts can limit the length and severity of rhinovirus colds; however, the appropriate dosage levels, which might be higher than is available over-the-counter, require further research. [33][34]
    • Elderberry may speed the recovery from type A and B influenza.[35] However it is possibly risky in the case of avian influenza because the immunostimulatory effects may aggravate the cytokine cascade. [36]
    • Garlic can lower total cholesterol levels[37]
    • Purified extracts of the seeds of Hibiscus sabdariffa may have some anti-microbial effect, but may also have some toxicity to mammalian testes.[38]
    • Nigella sativa (Black cumin) is a general medicinal plant can be used for diverse ailments such as cough, pulmonary infections, asthma, influenza, allergy, hypertension and stomach ache. [39][40][41]
    • Oregano may be effective against multi-drug resistant bacteria. [42]
    • Pawpaw can be used for insecticidal purposes (killing lice, worms).
    • Phytolacca or Pokeweed is used as a homeopathic remedy to treat many ailments. It can be applied topically or taken internally. Topical treatments have been used for acne and other ailments. Internal treatments include tonsilitis, swollen glands and weight loss.
    • Peppermint oil may have benefits for individuals with irritable bowel syndrome.[43][44]
    • Rauvolfia Serpentina, high risk of toxicity if improperly used, used extensively in India for sleeplessness, anxiety, and high blood pressure. The first proven allopathic medicine for high blood pressure was extracted from this herb.
    • Salvia lavandulaefolia may improve memory [45]
    • St. John's wort, has yielded positive results, proving more effective than a placebo for the treatment of mild to moderate depression in some clinical trials: however, safety and efficacy profiles (that is, amount of drug needed for a clinical effect) have not been shown.[46]
    • Valerian root can be used to treat insomnia. Clinical studies show mixed results[47][48] A valerian/hops combination has shown efficacy [49]
    • Feverfew can be used to treat migraine headaches.[50]However, many reviews of these studies show no efficacy [51] and dangerous side effects.[52][53]
    • Saw Palmetto can be used for BPH. Supported in some studies [54], failed to confirm in otherrs. [55]
    • Lemon juice or apple cider vinegar can be used to treat acne.
    • Green tea components may inhibit growth of breast cancer cells[56] and may heal scars faster. [57]
    • Lemon grass can lower cholesterol.
    • Honey may reduce cholesterol.[58] May be useful in wound healing. [59]


    A common misconception about herbalism and the use of "natural" products in general, is that "natural" equals safe. However many plants have chemical defense mechanisms against predators that can have adverse or lethal effects on humans, for example poison hemlock and nightshade, which can be deadly, although they are not sold as herbs. Herbs can also have undesirable side-effects just as pharmaceutical products can. These problems are exacerbated by different controls over purity and inconsistent information on dosage due to the status of herbs in the United States as dietary supplements which are technically not supposed to have medicinal functions. Standardization of purity and dosage is not mandated in the United States but even products made to the same specification may differ as a result of biochemical variations within a species of plant.[60] Furthermore, if given in conjunction with drugs, there is danger of 'summation', where the herb and the drug have similar actions and add together to cause an 'overdose' or reduction in the effects, particularly with the Cytochrome P450.

    There is a danger that herbal remedies will be used in place of other medical treatments which have been scientifically tested for safety and efficacy, resulting in the development or worsening of a medical condition which could have been better prevented or treated. There is also a danger that an herbal remedy may itself cause harm which is unanticipated due to a lack of a full understanding of its composition and biochemical effects.


    The gold standard for pharmaceutical testing is repeated, large-scale, randomized, double-blind tests. Some plant products or pharmaceutical drugs derived from them are incorporated into mainstream medicine. To recoup the considerable costs of testing to the regulatory standards, the substances are patented by pharmaceutical companies and sold at a substantial profit[61].

    Most herbal traditions have accumulated knowledge without modern scientific controls to distinguish between the placebo effect, the body's natural ability to heal itself, and the actual benefits of the herbs themselves. Many herbs have shown positive results in in-vitro, animal model or small-scale clinical tests.[62] The few randomized, double-blind tests that receive attention in mainstream medical publications are often questioned on methodological grounds or interpretation. Likewise, studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals such as Journal of the American Medical Association receive more consideration than those published in specialized herbal journals.

    Herbalists tend to use parts of plants, such as the roots or leaves but not isolate particular phytochemicals[63]. They argue that the synergy of the combined substances enhances the efficacy and dilutes toxicity[64]. Unfortunately, this assertion is difficult to prove. Pharmaceutical medicine on the other hand prefers single ingredients on the grounds that dosage can be more easily quantified.

    Dosage is in general an outstanding issue for herbal treatments: while most conventional medicines are heavily tested to determine the most effective and safest dosages (especially in relation to things like body weight, drug interactions, etc.), there are few established dosage standards for various herbal treatments on the market. Furthermore, herbal medicines taken in whole form cannot generally guarantee a consistent dosage or drug quality (since certain samples may contain more or less of a given active ingredient.

    The issue of regulation is an area of continuing controversy in the EU and USA. At one end of the spectrum, some herbalists maintain that traditional remedies have a long history of use, and do not require the level of safety testing as xenobiotics or single ingredients in an artificially concentrated form. On the other hand, others are in favor of legally enforced quality standards, safety testing and prescription by a qualified practitioner. Some professional herbalist organizations have made statements calling for a category of regulation for herbal products[65]. Yet others agree with the need for more quality testing but believe it can be managed through reputation without government intervention. [66]

    Evidence-based herbal medicine

    In 2004 the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health began funding clinical trials into the effectiveness of herbal medicine.[67]

    Surveys of a scientific approach to herbal medicine can be found in the books Evidence-based herbal medicine,[68] and Herbal and traditional medicine: molecular aspects of health.[69]

    Name confusion

    The common names of herbs (folk taxonomy) may not reflect differences in scientific taxonomy, and the same (or a very similar) common name might group together different plant species with different effects. For example, in 1993 in Belgium, a formula created by medical doctors including some Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) herbs for weight loss, one herb (Stephania tetrandra) was swapped for another (Aristolochia fangchi) whose name in Chinese was extremely similar but which contained higher levels of a renal toxin, aristolochic acid; this quid pro quo resulted in 105 cases of kidney damage. Note that neither herb used in a TCM context would be used for weight loss or given for long periods of time.

    In Chinese medicine these herbs are used for certain forms of acute arthritis and edema.[70][71][72]

    Standards and quality control

    The legal status of herbal ingredients varies by country.

    In the United States, most herbal remedies are regulated as dietary supplements by the Food and Drug Administration. Manufacturers of products falling into this category are not required to prove the safety or efficacy of their product, though the FDA may withdraw a product from sale should it prove harmful.[73][74]

    The National Nutritional Foods Association, the industry's largest trade association, has run a program since 2002, examining the products and factory conditions of member companies, giving them the right to display the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) seal of approval on their products.[75]

    In the UK, herbal remedies that are bought over the counter are regulated as supplements, as in the US. However, herbal remedies prescribed and dispensed by a qualified "Medical Herbalist", after a personal consultation, are regulated as medicines.

    A Medical Herbalist can prescribe some herbs which are not available over the counter, covered by Schedule III of the Medicines Act. Forthcoming changes to laws regulating herbal products in the UK, are intended to ensure the quality of herbal products used.

    Some herbs, such as cannabis, however, are outright banned in most countries for various reasons. Since 2004, the sales of ephedra as an herbal supplement is prohibited in the United States by the FDA.[76]

    Drug interactions

    In consultation with a physician, usage of herbal remedies should be clarified, as some herbal remedies have the potential to cause adverse drug interactions when used in combination with various prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.

    Dangerously low blood pressure may result from the combination of an herbal remedy that lowers blood pressure together with prescription medicine that has the same effect. In particular, many herbs should be avoided during pregnancy.[77]

    See also


    1. ^ (a neologism coined by Dr. K. Seshagirirao, University of Hyderabad, India)
    2. ^ Lai PK (Jun 2004). "Antimicrobial and chemopreventive properties of herbs and spices.". Curr Med Chem: 1451-60. PMID 15180577. 
    3. ^ Tapsell LC (Aug 2006). "Health benefits of herbs and spices: the past, the present, the future.". Med J Aust. PMID 17022438. 
    4. ^ (2006) "Essays in public health and preventive medicine. A call to Pharms: the need for tighter FDA regulation of the neutraceutical industry". Mt. Sinai Journal of Medicine 73 (2): 565-566. PMID 16685816. 
    5. ^ History of Plants in Medicine.
    6. ^ Medicinal plants in a Middle Paleolithic grave Shanidar IV?, Lietava J., J Ethnopharmacol. 1992 Jan;35(3):263-6., PMID 1548898
    7. ^ 5300 years ago, the Ice Man used natural laxatives and antibiotics, Capasso L., Lancet. 1998;352:1864, PMID 9851424.
    8. ^ The evolution of herbal medicine: behavioral perspectives.
    9. ^ [ Medicinal Plants].
    10. ^ Huffman MA (May 2003). "Animal self-medication and ethno-medicine: exploration and exploitation of the medicinal properties of plants.". Proc Nutr Soc 62 (2): 371-81. PMID 14506884. 
    11. ^ Wild Health: How Animals Keep Themselves Well and What We Can Learn From Them, Cindy Engel, Houghton Mifflin, 2002
    12. ^ Jan Ichida, Proceedings of the 104th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. reported in Birds use herbs to protect their nests, BJS, Science Blog, Wed, 2004-05-26
    13. ^ Hutchings MR, Athanasiadou S, Kyriazakis I, Gordon IJ (May 2003). "Can animals use foraging behavior to combat parasites?". Proc Nutr Soc. 62 (2): 361. PMID 14506883. 
    14. ^ Phascolarctos cinereus.
    15. ^ Take Time to Identify Toxic Plants to Keep Your Family and Pets Safe.
    16. ^ Traditional medicine.
    17. ^ Introduction, Herbal Medicine,
    18. ^ Learning from Indigenous People, Faezah Ismael, ASEAN Review of Biodiversity & Environmental Conservation, MacArthur Foundation, Wednesday, March 14, 2001
    19. ^ Pharmaceutics and Alchemy.
    20. ^ Unraveling the Function of Secondary Metabolites.
    21. ^ Barnes, P M; Powell-Griner E, McFann K, Nahin R L (2004-05-27). Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults: United States, 2002 (PDF). Advance data from vital and health statistics; no 343 20. National Center for Health Statistics. 2004. Retrieved on September 16, 2006. (See table 1 on page 8).
    22. ^ More Than One-Third of U.S. Adults Use Complementary and Alternative Medicine Press release, May 27, 2004. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
    23. ^ James A. Duke (:23,24,.). "Returning to our Medicinal Roots". Mother Earth News: 26-33. 
    24. ^ Antioxidant activity of 45 Chinese herbs and the relationship with their TCM characteristics.
    25. ^ BOXIN OU, DEJIAN HUANG1, MAUREEN HAMPSCH-WOODILL and JUDITH A. FLANAGAN (2003). "When east meets west: the relationship between yin-yang and antioxidation-oxidation". The FASEB Journal 17: 127-129. 
    26. ^ Safety & Regulation--Who's Watching the Herbal Store?, Tillotson Institute of Natural Health
    27. ^ [2]
    28. ^ William LeSassier Archive website
    29. ^ David Winston Center for Herbal Studies website
    30. ^ Gebhardt, R (1998). "Inhibition of Cholesterol Biosynthesis in Primary Cultured Rat Hepatocytes by Artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) Extracts". J Pharmacol Exp Ther 286 (3): 1122-1128. PMID 9732368. 

31. ^ Artichoke. Retrieved on 2007-07-24.
32. ^ Bai W (2007). "Efficacy and tolerability of a medicinal product containing an isopropanolic black cohosh extract in Chinese women with menopausal symptoms: A randomized, double blind, parallel-controlled study versus tibolone.". Maturitas In print. PMID 17587516. 
33. ^ Shah SA, Sander S, White CM, Rinaldi M, & Coleman CI (Jul 2007). "Evaluation of echinacea for the prevention and treatment of the common cold: a meta-analysis.". Lancet Infect Dis.. PMID 17597571. 
34. ^ Schoop, R, Klein, P, Suter, A, & Johnston, SL (2006). "Echinacea in the prevention of induced rhinovirus colds: a meta-analysis". Clinical Therapeutics 28 (2): 174-83. PMID 16678640. 
35. ^ (2004 Mar-Apr) "Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections.". J Int Med Res. 32 (2): 132-40. PMID: 15080016. 
36. ^ (2001 Apr-Jun;) "The effect of Sambucol, a black elderberry-based, natural product, on the production of human cytokines: I. Inflammatory cytokines.". Eur Cytokine Netw. 12 (2): 290-6. PMID: 11399518. 
37. ^ (2001) "Garlic shows promise for improve some cardiovascular risk factors". Archives of Internal Medicine 161: 913-824. 
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42. ^ Oregano Oil May Protect Against Drug-Resistant Bacteria, Georgetown Researcher Finds.
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Ayurveda (Devanagari: आयुर्वेद) or Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient system of health care that is native to the Indian subcontinent.
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Chiropractic (from Greek chiros and praktikos meaning "done by hand") is a health care profession whose purpose is to diagnose and treat mechanical disorders of the spine and musculoskeletal system with the intention of affecting the nervous system and improving
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Homeopathy (also homœopathy or homoeopathy; from the Greek, ὅμοιος, hómoios, "similar" + πάθος, páthos
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This article is part of the branches of CAM series.
CAM Classifications
NCCAM: Alternative Medical System
Modality: Professionalized
Knowledge: Doctorate

Naturopathic medicine (also known as naturopathy
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Osteopathic Medicine

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) A.T. Still, M.D. (founder) Medicine US Medical education Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine AOA AACOM AAO U.S.
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Traditional Chinese medicine (also known as TCM, Simplified Chinese: 中医; Traditional Chinese: 中醫; Pinyin:
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Unaani (in Arabic, Hindustani, Persian, Pashtu, Urdu, etc) means Greek. It derives from the Greek word Ionia, the Greek name of the Asia Minor coastline, from the Arabic word for Greece, Al Yunaan.
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NCCAM classifications [1]
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
See also
Complementary and alternative medicine
Complementary medicine
Alternative medicine

The term
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Complementary medicine refers to a group of therapeutic and diagnostic disciplines that exist largely outside the institutions where conventional health care is taught and provided.
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NCCAM classifications [1]
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
See also
Complementary and alternative medicine
Complementary medicine
Alternative medicine

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Medicine is the science and "" of maintaining and/or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of patients. The term is derived from the Latin ars medicina meaning the art of healing.
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Haeckel, 1866[1]


Green algae
  • Chlorophyta
  • Charophyta
Land plants (embryophytes)
  • Non-vascular land plants (bryophytes)

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The neutrality and factual accuracy of this article are disputed.
Please see the relevant discussion on the .
Herbalism is a traditional medicinal or folk medicine practice based on the use of plants and plant extracts.
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Whittaker & Margulis, 1978
(unranked) Opisthokonta

Kingdom: Fungi
(L., 1753) R.T. Moore, 1980[1]



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BEE may refer to:
  • Black Economic Empowerment, the policy of post-apartheid affirmative action in South Africa
  • Biblical Education by Extension, a Christian program designed to instruct theology in countries with weak theological infrastructure.

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Aromaticity is a chemical property in which a conjugated ring of unsaturated bonds, lone pairs, or empty orbitals exhibit a stabilization stronger than would be expected by the stabilization of conjugation alone.
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In organic chemistry, phenols, sometimes called phenolics, are a class of chemical compounds consisting of a hydroxyl group (-O H) attached to an aromatic hydrocarbon group. The simplest of the class is phenol (C6H5OH).
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Tannins are astringent, bitter-tasting plant polyphenols that bind and precipitate proteins. The term tannin refers to the use of tannins in tanning animal hides into leather; however, the term is widely applied to any large polyphenolic compound containing sufficient hydroxyls
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Secondary metabolites are organic compounds that are not directly involved in the normal growth, development or reproduction of organisms. Unlike primary metabolites, absence of secondary metabolities results not in immediate death, but in long-term impairment of the organism's
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alkaloid is, strictly speaking, a naturally occurring amine produced by a plant, but amines produced by animals and fungi are also called alkaloids[1]. Many alkaloids have pharmacological effects on humans and other animals.
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Herbivory is a form of predation in which an organism known as an herbivore, consumes principally autotrophs[1] such as plants, algae and photosynthesizing bacteria.
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Herbs (IPA: hə(ɹ)b, or əɹb; see pronunciation differences) are seed-bearing plants without woody stems, which die down to the ground after flowering.
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SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis) is a general purpose analog circuit simulator. It is a powerful program that is used in IC and board-level design to check the integrity of circuit designs and to predict circuit behavior.
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Scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. It is based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning,[1]
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The cave site of Shanidar is located at the foothills of the Zagros Mountains in north-eastern Iraq. It was excavated between 1957-1961 by Ralph Solecki and his team from Columbia University and yielded the first adult Neandertal skeletons in Iraq, dating between 60-80,000 years BP.
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الله أكبر    (Arabic)
"Allahu Akbar"   (transliteration)
"God is the Greatest"

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H. neanderthalensis

Binomial name
Homo neanderthalensis
King, 1864

Palaeoanthropus neanderthalensis
H. s.
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Ethnomedicine is a sub-field of medical anthropology and deals with the study of traditional medicines: not only those that have relevant written sources (e.g. Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda), but especially those, whose knowledge and practices have been orally transmitted
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Lascaux is the setting of a complex of caves in southwestern France famous for its cave paintings. The original caves are located near the village of Montignac, in the Dordogne département.
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Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité
"Liberty, Equality, Fraternity"
"La Marseillaise"

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