Herbal medicine refers to medicine based on plant extracts and natural active ingredients.
It can be distinguished into three types of practice:
1 / A traditional practice aimed explicitly therapeutic, sometimes very old based on the use of plants according to the virtues discovered empirically.
2 / A practice based on scientific research on active plant extracts. The identified active extracts are standardized. This practice leads, as the case may be, to the manufacture of pharmaceutical drugs or phytomedicines.
3 / A practice of prophylaxis without a goal currently perceived as therapeutic, already existing in Antiquity. This is the case of traditional cooking associations, conservation techniques, or consumption of products such as teas or infusions. Although the interactions between products usually combined are investigated, only the case of products consumed separately are currently linked to herbal medicine.
Phytotherapy and modern medicine are actually close, except in the case of synthetic chemical preparations or genetic engineering, but the majority of current medicines are concentrated copies of original plant remedies which means that a drug can Be used later than its natural preparation and will have faster and better controlled results. It is the main danger of phytotherapy, to believe that it treats “everything” (no more than drugs), but above all to ignore its first principle, namely that it is a medicine of the present. The low concentration of curative elements in the plants requires treatment at the first symptoms and it is advisable to go to the doctor within 48 hours if the natural remedy does not seem to improve the situation: Is not suitable or not effective enough. The essential advantage of herbal medicine is to avoid side effects due to low concentrations and because the elements are neither dissociated nor purified.