What is Phytotherapy?

Phytotherapy or plant therapy is the effect of plants on the various ailments of the system. Natural extracts helps in promotion of health. It is a part of alternative medicine.

The plants used in phytotherapy are those that are not a part of the daily diet. Plant based medicines prove beneficial on humans, as they are devoid of side effects.The medicinal products are derived from plants and they are referred to as phyto medicines or herbal remedies.

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Arrays of herbs are used for a number of complaints. Some of them are listed below:

  1. Pods and leaves of Senna (Cassia sp) provide relief from constipation
  2. The leaves of the plant Ginkgo biloba, helps in problems associated with the mental or cognitive development, especially in senescence. It also helps in individuals with impairment of memory and anxiety
  3. The leaves of St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) are helpful in recovery from mild or moderate bouts of depression
  4. Chamomile flowers are anti inflammatory in nature. They also provide relief from digestive complaints. Its botanical name is Chamomilla recutita

Certain other plant products are chemically similar are available as medicines with license. They are identical to the natural product, though produced artificially or synthetically. They are synthesised from plants.

A list of them is given below:

  • Digitalis glycosides and digoxin from Digitalis sp. are used in the treatment of heart failure
  • Caffeine aids as a stimulant and is derived from the coffee shrub (Coffea arabica)
  • Morphine is used as a pain killer and is derived from opium poppy or Papaver somniferum
  • Quinine helps in malaria treatment and is taken from Cinchona bark
  • Taxol is an effective treatment for cancer and is from the plant Taxus brevifolia or Pacific yew

Few plants used in phytotherapy and possess therapeutic effects are available. These are functional foods or neutraceuticals.

  • Anthocyanin is present in cocoa, red wine and bilberries
  • Many veggies, such as carrots, tomatoes and others are rich in carotenoids
  • Anti inflammatory agents are turmeric, ginger, garlic and so on

Phytotherapy is of great use in animals. Dandelion, nettles and garlic are of great important and prove beneficial for dogs and cats. The overall health and well being of the pets are enhanced. Phytotherapy is safe and is devoid of any side effects. It is effective as a mode of treatment for various disorders, both in humans and animals.

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