Plants have been used for medicinal purposes long before recorded history. Ancient Chinese and Egyptian writings describe medicinal uses for plants as early as 3,000 BC. Many cultures, including African and Native American, have traditionally used herbs in their healing practices. Interestingly, researchers found that people in different parts of the world tended to use the same or similar plants for the same purposes.
In the early 19th century, when chemical analysis first became available, scientists began to extract and modify the active ingredients from plants. Later, chemists began making their own version of plant compounds and, over time, the use of herbal medicines declined in favor of drugs. Herbs, and other plants, are actually the precursors to many of today’s medicinal drugs. Indeed, almost one fourth of pharmaceutical drugs are derived from botanicals.
However, in today’s society there is a resurgence in people looking for alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs and a desire for more natural products. The World Health Organization estimates that 80% of people worldwide rely on herbal medicines for some part of their primary health care. In Germany, about 600 - 700 plant based medicines are available and are prescribed by some 70% of German physicians. Within the United States, public dissatisfaction with the cost and side effects often associated with prescription medications has led to an increase in herbal medicine use.
Unfortunately, in most cases, scientists are not sure how particular herbs work to treat a condition or illness. Often whole herbs contain many ingredients which may work together to produce a beneficial effect. In addition, herbal medicines are often not subjected to rigorous testing to standardize products on the market. Today’s scientists have the tools to advance this ancient medicine into a modern world. These tools can be used to characterize the medicinal activity and value of medicinal plants and provide standarized assurance of their therapeutic value.
In 2007 three renowned scientist working at the Biodesign Institute of Arizona State University discovered a plant with strong healing properties. The team experimented with that plant in conjunction with others to develop a remarkable homeopathic medicine that exhibits robust anti viral properties and rapid pain relief.
Modern Science and Ancient Medicine
The Many Healing Properties