What is Phytotherapy?
The origin of the word phytotherapy is derived from the Ancient Greek words “phyto” meaning plant and “therapy” meaning treatment. The aim of phytotherapy is to protect health, heal diseases or support treatment by using various parts of medicinal and aromatic plants, liquids such as gum, resin, extracts, essential and fixed oils, waxes, algae, fungi and lichens as raw materials.
Is Phytotherapy Reliable?
The basis of phytotherapy treatment is based on clinical studies carried out all over the world, scientific research and the common experience of humanity. It is a method approved by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health. However, Phytotherapy should be applied under the control of a specialist physician, regardless of the purpose.
Positive results can be experienced as long as the various herbal products that will be recommended by specialist doctors are used as prescribed and the treatment plan is fully followed. Otherwise, disruptions may occur in treatment process.
What Is Phytotherapy Good For? In Which Diseases Is Phytotherapy Applied?
There are many diseases in which phytotherapy treatment method is effective. The treatment method to be followed in relation to the severity and stage of the disease and the general condition of the person should be determined by specialist doctors.
Some of the diseases that phytotherapy can be applied to are listed below:
- Intestinal ailments
- stomach ailments
- Migraine and other types of headaches
- Excessive weight gain and obesity
- Gynecological diseases
- Allergic disorders
- Respiratory ailments
- Thyroid gland disorders
- skin ailments
- Psychological disorders such as panic attacks and depression
- Sleep problems
- Complications after chemotherapy
Is Phytotherapy Helpful?.
Phytotherapy, a treatment approved by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization, is a treatment method applied with natural and traditional methods. It is also a supportive treatment which can be applied together with many medical treatments. Phytotherapy applications have both therapeutic and preventive effect.
How is Phytotherapy Applied?
The content of the treatment plan with phytotherapy should be determined individually according to the body structure of the person, the type and degree of the disease. First, the general health status of the patient is evaluated. Then the type and level of the disease is determined. After all the details are carefully examined by a specialist physician, phytotherapy treatment is planned and the content of the cures prepared with various herbs is determined. The patient should be followed up by a specialist doctor during the treatment.
Things to Consider in Phytotherapy
It is vital that the phytotherapy method is applied correctly. It should not be forgotten that plants can have harms as a result of misuse as well as the benefits they provide. Every plant is not good for every disease or every person. Many details need to be considered while preparing herbal mixtures. It should be planned to be used with scientific approaches, in appropriate doses and times. Trying to treat oneself with medicinal plants without the supervision of a doctor can have extremely harmful consequences.
In addition, a plant must be collected at a suitable time and stored under appropriate conditions in order to retain its benefits. Some of the factors to consider about plants are as follows:
- Making sure the right plant is collected
- Collecting them at the right time.
- Leaves: When the plant begins to bloom
- Flowers: when it is still bud or not fully opened
- Parts under the ground: After the parts above the ground have dried
- Shells: After the leaves of the plant have fallen
- Fruit or seeds: after ripening
- Properly storing (in cool, dark, airy and damp places)
Phytotherapy in the World
Today, Phytotherapy is frequently preferred in the treatment of many common diseases, as a treatment and supportive treatment method all over the world. WHO (World Health Organization) has defined medicinal plants used in phytotherapy as “plant varieties that can be therapeutic with one or more organs, prevent diseases or be the precursors of any chemical-pharmaceutical synthesis”. ESCOP (European Scientific Cooperative for Phytotherapy) represents the herbal medicine and phytotherapy societies in Europe.
Germany has become the world leader in herbal therapy by doing very intensive studies based on laboratory research in the field of Phytotherapy in the last 30-40 years. The German Health Insurance system covers herbal medicine costs. If we examine the European ranking, France and Italy come second, England third and Belgium fourth in terms of the use of plants in medicines. Medicines approved by the chief council that gives herbal medicine license in Germany can also be prescribed in our country and in many other countries.
History of Phytotherapy
The use of plants for treatment purposes is almost as old as human history. One of the oldest sources on this subject was written by the Chinese emperor Shen-Nung in 3217 BC.
Many herbal medicine raw materials and prescriptions are recorded in Assyrian tablets dating back to 3000 BC. About 700 plant, animal and mineral raw materials are recorded in the papyri dating back to 1500 BC in the city of Thebes in Egypt. Information about herbal medicines is also recorded on clay tablets from the Hittites, which are currently exhibited in the Istanbul Archeology Museum.
Many herbal medicine raw materials are recorded in the works of Hippocrates, who lived in the 5th century BC and is considered the father of medicine. The physician named Galenus of Pergamon, who lived in the 2nd century and who is considered to be the father of pharmacy because he prepared the drug schemes he used, described about 500 herbal, animal and mineral raw materials and determined their effects.
The work of Dioscorides, who was born in Anazarva, near Adana, is the oldest and most important source on Anatolian medicinal plants. He stated the morphological, pharmacological and toxicological features of around 500 medicinal plants in his 5 books in Greek. Thousands of years of research and medical traditions in China and India have been the main source for the distinction of medicinal plants.
It is known that Phytotherapy, in which medicinal plants have been used for centuries, for treatment purposes. However, since the 19th century, scientists have researched and defined substances found in plants that have an effect on the organism. Over time, these substances were isolated and converted into chemical drugs such as cortisone, aspirin, antibiotics. For this reason, the use of herbal medicines in western countries has begun to decline. In the 1970s, the undesirable properties of chemical molecules in drugs began to emerge, and thus, there was a tendency towards natural solutions again.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Herbs Have Side Effects?
Determining the suitability of herbal treatment products for the person’s body, the condition of the disease, adjusting the dose and duration of use must be under the control of a specialist doctor. Because every plant is not suitable for everyone, and some plants can have harmful side effects as well as their benefits. Some herbal products can act like drugs. They may interact with other herbs and drugs used and cause undesirable results.
On the other hand, artificial drugs, which are frequently used today, can cause some toxic, allergic and haematological side effects unlike medicinal plants, especially when taken for a long time. There are other substances in the plants used in phytotherapy treatment that prevent the active substances from harming the organism. Treatment with medicinal plants provides a greater biological compatibility comparing to the products that the pharmaceutical industry produce.
Do Experiences with Phytotherapy Only consist of Observations? Are Laboratory or Clinical Studies Conducted Like Medicine?
Phytotherapy can be classified into two different dimensions. The first is generally the applications developed with the influence of European Phytotherapy. The second is the applications developed with the influence of traditional treatment systems such as Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine used all over the world. The beginnings of both groups are of course based on experience.
Today, the use of herbal medicines for phytotherapy applications is increasing with the effect of scientific research results that have increased recently. Phytotherapy practices in the modern world are based on clinical studies, research and scientific foundations on this subject.
Who is a Phytotherapist?
The use of plants for therapeutic purposes is called Phytotherapy, and people who specialize in this field are called Phytotherapists.
Who Can Become a Phytotherapy Specialist? Should We Trust Every Phytotherapist?
it is mandatory to have training in this field in order to become a phytotherapy specialist. Pharmacy graduates can become experts in this field by completing a master’s degree. Medical school graduates can also become experts by completing their master’s degree in this field. There are also certificate programs approved by the Ministry of Health in the field of Phytotherapy. In order to avoid negative consequences, experts should definitely be consulted for herbal treatment.
What Should Be Considered While Supplying Herbal Products?
It is very important to buy herbal products from reliable sources. Plants used for medical treatment should be purchased from pharmacies. Plants should be identified by experts before preparation. Attention should be paid to the collection time, place, drying and storage. It should be ensured that it has passed the necessary certification and inspection processes.
What is Herbal Medicine?
Products prepared with raw materials obtained from various parts and extracts of medicinal plants are called Phytotherapeutic products, and herbal medicines are called Phytopharmaka. Phytopharmakas are oral products prepared in a suitable pharmaceutical form and in a certain dose, based on registered herbal drugs or standardized extracts and for a specific indication.
Does Being Herbal Mean It’s Harmless?
Any food or product does not mean they are absolutely harmless just because they are herbal. For this reason, they should be used under the approval and control of experts.
Hippocrates, who lived in 500 BC and is accepted as the father of medicine, made definitions about the use of medicinal plants in his work called Corpus Hippocraticum. He said the famous word “First do no harm” (Primum non nocere) because of the poison of the plant called Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger). He drew attention to the potentially harmful effects of plants.
Do Herbal Products Change the Effects of Some Medications Used?
The active ingredients in herbal products can change the effects of some drugs used.
What is Pharmacognosy? What is the Difference Between Phytotherapy and Pharmacognosy?
Phytotherapy is a herbal treatment method. Pharmacognosy is one of the basic disciplines of pharmacy which studies drugs of natural origin. It is a cultural and scientific study of substances of biological origin obtained from various natural sources and used for therapeutic (therapeutic) or preventive (prophylactic) purposes. Pharmaceutical raw materials of biological origin covers all raw materials such as hormones, enzymes, proteins, vitamins, antibiotics, vaccines, antitoxins, blood products and antiallergens in addition to animal and herbal drugs.
Is There Phytotherapy Application for Cancer?
The use of plants in the treatment of cancer is a subject that has been abused many times. Phytotherapy should be applied to support medical treatment and after approval by the person’s doctor for important diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart diseases and high blood pressure. Phytotherapy can be used to support the treatment of cancer patients or in the treatment of discomforts experienced after chemotherapy.
What is Phytotherapeutic?
Phytotherapy treatment is done with Phytotherapy. Phytotherapeutic products are obtained from various parts of plants or mixtures prepared from them in order to prevent, protect or cure diseases, lighten and help treatment.
What is Aromatherapy? What is its Relationship with Phytotherapy?
Aromatherapy is the use of oils obtained by distillation from the leaves, flowers or root parts of plants for healing. In the “Traditional and Complementary Medicine Regulation” published by the Ministry of Health in October 2014, aromatherapy, which has its origins in ancient centuries, is included along with phytotherapy.
It is not necessary to have a very prominent ailment to benefit from aromatherapy applications. Aromatherapy treatment can also be used to get rid of the negative effects of a stressful life style and to have a positive mood, a healthy body and mind.
Is Phytotherapy Suitable for Children?
Internal and external Phytotherapy treatments, which are applied with plants with scientifically proven medical effects, are also used successfully by experienced specialist doctors for children. The application of Phytotherapy requires more attention and care since children have not yet completed their physical and functional development.
How Long Does Phytotherapy Benefit?
Phytotherapy treatments can be applied in a wide range of diseases. The treatment process for each disease is different and it is planned individually. The duration of treatment varies depending on different factors such as the acute or chronic nature of the disease, its level, the person’s structure and general health status.
What does complementary medicine mean?
According to the World Health Organization, the definition of traditional medicine is as follows; knowledge, skills and practices based on beliefs and experiences of different cultures, which are used to prevent, diagnose, heal or treat physical and mental disorders, as well as to maintain the state of being healthy. They are also supportive and complementary methods of modern medicine.
In order to prevent illegal and unauthorized practices in this field, the regulation prepared by the Ministry of Health on these methods was published in the Official Gazette on October 27, 2014. According to this regulation, only doctors and dentists, on the condition that they practice only in their own field, are authorized by the Ministry of Health.
Physicians and dentists (only in their own fields) will be able to apply these treatment methods if they get a certificate with the training programs they will receive.
It should be checked that a center that will apply any of the traditional and complementary medicine methods has a permit issued by the ministry and the person applying the treatment is a Phytotherapy certified doctor.
What is T&CM
T&CM stands for “Traditional and Complementary Medicine Practices”. According to the regulation published by the Ministry of Health, T&CM can only be done in ministry-approved places and by physicians who have training certificates. The fields of T&CM, for which training was started to be given to physicians within the scope of this regulation, are as follows;
- Phytotherapy (Treatment with Herbs)
- Cupping Therapy
- Leech Therapy
- Ozone Therapy
- Music Therapy
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