Medicinal plants: a health aid that is resurfacing

Since primitive times, medicinal or herbal plants have been used by people in traditional health systems. The advent of current allopathic medicine has led to a dramatic decline in the use of traditional medicine (including the use of herbal medicines).

By Aarzoo Ashraf, Muhammad Sohail Sajid

Nevertheless, these plants possess tremendous economic value and remain the most imperative source of health care for the vast majority of people around the world. According to WHO reports, it has been predicted that 80% of people residing in developing countries depend on indigenous therapeutic plants for their basic health care, due to the lack and inadequacy of modern health services. . Annual sales of herbal therapeutic drugs range between US$7.5 billion, while US$108 billion is spent on synthetic drugs. Therefore, a world population of around 3.5 to 4 billion depends on therapeutic plants. Amazingly, the global trade in herbal medicine has been predicted to reach $5 trillion (US) by 2050..

A medicinal plant is any plant which, in one or more of its organs, contains substances that can be used for therapeutic purposes or which are precursors for the synthesis of useful drugs. In Pakistan, for basic health care, more than 80% of the total population trusts therapeutic plants. The use of these herbs is exclusively common in areas where modern health care facilities are inadequate or people cannot avail of them due to economic crisis. Treatment with herbal medicines is considered very safe as there are few or no side effects. These remedies are in tune with nature, which is the biggest advantage. The golden fact is that the use of herbal treatments is independent of any age and gender group.

Importance of medicinal plants

Medicinal plants are plants with medicinal characteristics, having a positive pharmacological impact on the human or animal body. Aloe, tulsi, neem, turmeric, and ginger are herbal remedies that can help with various illnesses. In many parts of the country, they are considered home remedies. Herbal medicines are defined by the World Health Organization as herbal materials, herbs and finished herbal products containing active components of plants also known as bioactives having potencies of healing. The value of medicinal plants and their preparations is well illustrated by the saying of Hippocrates: “Let medicine be your food and food your medicine.”

Therapeutic effect of medicinal plants

Wounds are treated using herbs such as black pepper, cinnamon, myrrh, aloe, sandalwood, ginseng, red clover, burdock, blueberry, basil, fennel , chives, coriander, apple mint, thyme, golden oregano, variegated lemon balm, turmeric and rosemary. . Purifies the blood by removing metabolic poisons, boosts immunity, lowers fever and contains antibacterial qualities. They are all effective in preventing the spread of germs, dangerous microorganisms and bacteria. Cardamom and coriander, for example, are well known for their flavor. Other fragrant herbs, such as peppermint, cloves, and turmeric, give foods a pleasant aroma and enhance flavor. Some cough syrups and antiseptics contain ginger and cloves. They are recognized for their purgative properties, which help thin mucus and expel it from the lungs, trachea and bronchi.

Expectorants include eucalyptus, cardamom, wild cherry, and cloves. Herbs like chamomile, calamus, ajwain, basil, cardamom, chrysanthemum, coriander, fennel, peppermint and spearmint, cinnamon, ginger and turmeric, as well as cinnamon, ginger and turmeric, can help improve blood circulation. Accordingly, they are used to stimulate the heart. Some therapeutic plants contain disinfectant properties, which kill disease-causing bacteria. Pathogenic bacteria that cause communicable diseases are also inhibited by them. Calming herbs, which have a calming effect on the body, are recommended by experts in herbal medicine. Sedatives are frequently used with them. Pathogens in the blood are reduced by the bitter taste of these plants. They are also beneficial in fighting infections. A new cut and wound can be properly treated with honey, turmeric, marshmallow and licorice. They are called vulnerary herbs.

Preventive strategies

Disease prevention, chronic disease management and health promotion are proactive approaches to health care that emphasize prevention at various stages of the health care continuum. The goal of health promotion and disease prevention techniques is to keep people healthy and prevent disease. Primary preventive actions are the name given to these techniques. There are three stages of prevention.

Primary prevention negatively limits the number of new cases of disease. Protective measures and health promotion knowledge are central concerns. Secondary prevention aims to reduce the number of people who have ever been diagnosed with a condition or disease (prevalence). This level mainly includes methods for early detection (such as screening) and rapid treatment. Tertiary prevention aims to reduce the level of impairment caused by a pre-existing condition. This level focuses on the limitation and rehabilitation of people with disabilities.

Secondary and tertiary prevention efforts aim to keep people with chronic conditions healthy, slow the progression of their disease, and prevent illness. The emphasis of preventive medicine should be on techniques that reduce the risk of disease, identify risk factors, or diagnose disease in its earliest and most curable stages. Baby checkups, vaccinations, vitamin D supplements to prevent osteoporosis, blood pressure and cholesterol screening tests at annual checkups, and monitoring for diseases such as heart cancer, throat, colorectal and prostate are all examples of preventative measures.

Conclusion

Large numbers of people die every day in underdeveloped countries around the world from preventable or curable diseases due to a lack of even basic health care. Malnutrition is often linked to diseases in these countries. As a result, those who survive often never fully recover from the consequences. Herbs are natural products with no adverse effects, are relatively safe, environmentally friendly, readily available and necessary to promote in order to preserve human lives. These herbal products are today the symbol of safety unlike synthetic drugs, which are considered dangerous for human beings and the environment. However, the blind addiction to synthetics is over and people are going back to naturals with the hope of safety.

Authors:

1. Aarzoo Ashraf, M.Phil. Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.

2. Muhammad Sohail Sajid, Associate Professor of Parasitology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.

Alvin J. Chase