Medicinal herbs, medicinal plants

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In general, medicinal plants are all those plants that can relieve symptoms and diseases with their active ingredients. From the medicinal herbs and medicinal plants serve various ingredients such as flowers, leaves, sprouts, fruits and berries or roots as phytopharmaceuticals, so as herbal medicines.

Short history of medicinal plants

Already with the Egyptians one finds indications that they used medicinal plants and medicinal herbs. Thus, the Quendel, the field thyme, described as an important medicinal plant. Also in the Bible are mentioned a number of medicinal herbs. In ancient Greece, the priest physician Hippocrates (460-375 BC) was considered a connoisseur of medicine.

In the early Middle Ages Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) was mentioned, who reported in various writings on the cause and cure of diseases with medicinal plants. For Paracelsus (1493-1541) St. John's wort was one of the most important herbal remedies and was administered against mental upheaval and even against "insanity".

Active ingredients of medicinal plants and medicinal herbs

The composition of ingredients such as essential oils, tannins and bitter substances and minerals makes the effectiveness of herbs and plant parts. In the 18th century, chemical substances were first extracted from the plants and isolated. Since then, medicinal plants are measured on these drugs. In this way, very effective conventional medical remedies are still found today. For example, the strong painkiller morphine comes from the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). Also contained in many plants are alkaloids, which are mostly responsible for the toxicity of plants. They are found, for example, in buttercup plants and nightshade plants. Gentian, angelica and wormwood contain bitter substances that are good for regeneration.

Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum)

Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) contains a milky sap which is the basis for the analgesic opium in dried form

Flavonoids have a good effect on the vessels, as they are found in horse chestnuts, among other things. Some plants and herbs also contain a particularly large amount of minerals: nettle, dandelion and thyme contain extra iron. Plantain has a very high proportion of zinc, which generally serves for wound healing. Tea tree oil or camomile oil are important therapeutically used essential oils, which are obtained by steam distillation of flowers, leaves or stems. Birch, melissa and coltsfoot are rich in calcium, which has a positive effect on the bone structure.

Processing of medicinal herbs and medicinal plants

Medicinal herbs and medicinal plants have a wide variety of dosage forms - in addition to infusion, macerate, decoction and tinctures, roots, leaves and flowers are dried, processed into elixirs or powders and applied internally or externally. An infusion is the easiest method to use flowers and leaves of plants. For this purpose, dried or fresh parts of plants are placed in a tea strainer and doused with boiling water, covered and allowed to draw for five to ten minutes. After straining, the tea infusion can be drunk. To extract the active ingredients from berries, barks or roots, these plant parts are simmered in hot water until the liquid has reduced. Then the liquid is strained and kept cool. This decoction is also called decoction. Tinctures are obtained by extraction with alcohol and are stronger in effect than infusions. Make ointments using milking fat and dried herbs.

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