What is Phytotherapy?
It entered our vocabulary with the combination of the Greek words “phytos” (plant) and “therapeia” (treatment). Phytotherapy is the use of plants in pharmaceutical forms such as tea, syrup or tablets to maintain health and for therapeutic purposes. Phytotherapy is not an alternative method of treatment. It is a complementary medicine application that aims to protect and treat health. Phytotherapy is a rational and evidence-based method of treatment. It has been concretely proven which active ingredient or group of substances is responsible for biological effects in phytotherapy.
It differs from traditional herbal healing by pharmacological studies and biomedical research. The concept of phytotherapy Dr. It was first used by Henri Leclerc in 1913. Dr. For the first time Leclerc published a book called “Manual of Phytotherapy” in 1922. Phytotherapy as a term was introduced into English in 1934 by the British Herbalist and Homeopathic Specialist Eric Frederick William Powell, but this concept was adopted much later in English and began to be widely used. in 1960, the German Plant Scientist Dr. Rudolf Fritz Weiss has published a book about phytotherapy. the journal “Phytotherapy Research”, published by pharmacognosy specialist Fred Evans in 1987, has gone down in history as an important step in this field. Later publications multiplied.
Phytotherapy in the World
We can say that the application of phytotherapy varies all over the world. In the US, herbal products are classified as dietary supplements. In some countries, such as South Korea and Japan, proven phytotherapy products are covered by health insurance. In highly populated countries such as China, India and Nepal, herbal medicine products have been more widely covered by insurance. However, in many countries, these types of products are not included in health insurance programs. The situation varies in the countries of the European Union. The products used in phytotherapy are produced industrially within the framework of certain routine procedures. Certain standards are followed.
Is Phytotherapy Safe?
There are hundreds of components in each plant. Of these components, primary metabolites proteins, carbohydrates and fats support our health with their nutritional properties, while components called secondary metabolites play a supporting role in health protection and treatment. Therefore, plants are considered important for our health. The effectiveness of herbal products is based on scientific evidence. However, risky situations may occur. Risks can arise because plants can interact with nutrients and medicines. Be sure to consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking herbal supplements.
What Kind of Diseases Can Phytotherapy Be Preferred For?
Problems such as coughing, relieving sore throat, expectorant, pain relief, healing insect bites, have been treated naturally with phytotherapy applications for hundreds of years.
Especially with stomach and intestinal complaints, headache and migraine, respiratory diseases, skin problems, blood pressure, nervous system disorders, gynecological and urinary system diseases, cancers and diabetes fitoterapik applications can provide significant benefits. In addition to disease treatment, phytotherapy is October applied to prevent diseases. There are many herbal ingredients with numerous benefits that are responsible for strengthening the immune system, reducing the tendency to infections, preventing cancer.
How is Phytotherapy Applied?
Phytotherapy methods differ for each individual. Since the person's general health status, blood parameters, age, presence of a chronic disease, medication use status, body structure and degree of disease may be different, a personalized treatment plan is drawn up. As a matter of fact, it should not be forgotten that phytotherapy, which means treatment with plants, is an advanced specialty of pharmacy. Therefore, it is essential that people who practice phytotherapy have received a scientific education in this field. In the methods used in phytotherapy application, the plant can be applied topically as a cream, lotion, ointment. It can be taken orally in the form of medicines or extracts, it can be consumed by making tea. The resulting oil can be applied superficially by massage, consumed directly in the form of a nutrient.
“How is phytotherapy applied?" aside from the question, let's take a look at the plants whose extracts are often used in phytotherapy…
The arnica plant has a strong anti-inflammatory effect. It is not recommended to use it internally due to side effects. However, it is applied externally as an ointment by massaging against sprains, bruises and swelling. It has been proven that it visibly reduces complaints such as pain and swelling when used externally in people who have calcification (osteoarthritis) problems in the joints.
The calendula plant, known as the oxeye flower, is preferred as a supporter in the healing of burns, sunburn and wounds. Ointments containing calendula flowers have both analgesic and antiseptic properties and shorten the healing time.
Anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antispasmodic, chamomile is a versatile herb. The most important thing is to choose a reliable type of chamomile. It is important that the chamomile mentioned here is the German chamomile (Matricaria recutita). Chamomile tea; It is effective not only against colds, gastrointestinal contractions, stomach ulcers, gastritis and heartburn, but also on gingivitis and tonsils. Chamomile tea can also be supportive in the treatment of burns, abrasions and pimples apart from. However, to benefit from the effect of chamomile tea, it should not be boiled. It is necessary to put a bag in a cup or teapot with a lid, add boiled hot drinking water to it and brew for 10 minutes, then drink.
Chicory leaves are liver-friendly and have a protective effect against liver damage. The dandelion plant, which creates a detoxifying effect, is an expectorant of bile, stimulates digestion and improves diuresis. It is useful to use it in the form of tea to facilitate digestion after fatty meals.
Lavender, which is used in many different industries for its fragrance, is considered a powerful medicinal plant. The linalool and linalyl acetate components in it give the lavender flower and essential oil that beautiful smell. These two components have effects that facilitate falling asleep, soothe and reduce anxiety. In aromatherapy applications, its use is common both by massage and by breathing (nebulizer, for example). Lavender is a cultivated plant for tension headaches, migraine pains.
Melissa, which has a calming property in tension situations, is also known as oğulotu. Although it is often confused with lemongrass, they are two very different plants. If you drink melissa, which is a very effective and reliable plant for the elimination of mild and moderate nervous system problems, before going to bed in the evening, you will get rid of the stress of the day and go to a comfortable sleep. In addition, melissa tea will also help to remove the harmful effects of radiation that we are unwittingly exposed to during the day from our body.
Consumption of rosemary flowers relieves stomach problems and colds. It is also effective in strengthening memory and increasing concentration. It can also help against rheumatic diseases. It has been observed that its essential oil (fragrant components) change perception and behavior. It has been proven that the amount of rosemary leaves that we dry and use as a spice significantly increases the “speed of thinking” in people.
It is supportive in indigestion complaints and loss of appetite. Reduces sweating seizures in colds. Sage tea is a plant that is known to be effective in mouth and throat inflammations (bacteria, fungi, viruses ) thanks to the volatile components it contains. Mouthwash prepared with sage tea, prepared in the form of tea, is very effective in the treatment of diseases such as pharyngitis, gingivitis (gingivitis).
St. John's Wort
It is used in our country especially for its effect in the treatment of ulcers and wounds. When we say injuries, scars and burns, St. John's wort immediately comes to mind. St. John's wort, whose oil is often used in Turkey, visibly heals and eliminates scars, in particular. However, its use, which is popular in the world, is the treatment of depression. St. John's wort is effective in treating mild and some moderate depression. However, due to the interaction of St. John's wort with some medications (heart medications, depression medications and cyclosporine, drugs with anticoagulant active ingredients), an expert opinion should definitely be obtained. Especially organ transplant patients are definitely not recommended to drink St. John's wort.
Thyme not only gives flavor to dishes, but is also extremely important for health. One of the largest exporting countries in the world is Turkey. Thyme should not be confused with other herbs that have the same smell. Oregano essential oil and tea of oregano type of oregano type have been investigated to prevent the oxidation of bad cholesterol (LDL). With this oxidation, the risk of arteriosclerosis increases. In other words, it may be useful for people with high cholesterol to brew thyme tea and drink it. However, the essential oil in thyme tea has a blood pressure-raising effect. Therefore, thyme tea is not recommended for high blood pressure patients.