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Herbs Medicines

Herbalism is traditional medicinal or the folk medicine procatice that is based on use of plants and their extracts. It is known as a botanical medicine, medical herbalism, herbology, phytotherapy, medicinal botany and herbal medicine. Its scope is extended to fungi and the bee products and also shells, minerals and also certain animal parts.

There are many synthesized substances of plants that are very useful in maintaining good health of humans and animals. Such substance includes aromatic substances of which most are phenols or are oxygen substituted derivates like tannins. At least 12000 secondary metabolites have been isolated which is roughly 10% less than the total. These substances are found to work as a plant defense mechanism protecting them against herbivores, insects and microorganisms. Many herbs and spices consumed by humans in their food are used for the production of medicinal compounds in their body.

People from almost every continent have used thousands of herbs from plants for the treatment of the ailments since the prehistoric time. There is evidence in the Shanidar cave, Iraq which suggest that an unearthed body was buried 8 species of different plants which are now still widely in use in the ethnomedicine.

The first accepted plant as a healing agent was depicted in cave painting discovered in Lascaux caves, France which is calculated by radiocarbon dating to be Between 13000 – 25000 BC. Medicinal herbs are also found in personal effects of Ice Man found frozen in Swiss Alps more than 5300 years ago and is appeared to be treated for parasites that are found in that Ice Man’s intestines.

The use of the herbs for the treatment of disease is universal among non industrialized societies. There are number if traditions that came to dominate practice of the herbal medicines at end of the 20th century:-

  1. Shamanic Herbalism
  2. The herbal medicine system, based on Greek and Roman sources
  3. Chinese herbal medicine also known as Chinese herbology
  4. The Ayurvedic medicine from India
  5. Unani Tibb medicine

Many pharmaceuticals that are currently in availability to the physicians have long history of the use of herbal remedies that includes quinine, aspirin, opium and digitalis. The World Health Organization estimates that over 80% of world’s population is presently using herbal medicines for some primary health care.

According to WHO, seventy four percent of 119 modern plant derived pharmaceutical medicine are used in a similar way as in traditional system. Many pharmaceutical companies are conducting an extensive research on such plant derived materials from rainforests and some other places for new medicines. The use of dietary supplements and drugs derived from plants has been accelerated in recent few years with their research work. Now more than 25% of the 0modern drugs used in United States of America are derived from plants. In India system of Ayurvedic medicines it is said that herbs have the power to control and cure some un-curable diseases. There is assumed to be a large reserve of unique herbs in the Himalayan Region in India with great potential to treat many deadliest diseases.

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