Medicinal Plants: A Re-Emerging Health Aid

Since primitive times, medicinal or herbal plants have been employed by people in traditional healthcare systems. The advent of current allopathic medicine led to a considerable decline in the use of traditional medicine (including of the use of medicinal plants).

By   Aarzoo Ashraf,Muhammad Sohail Sajid

Nevertheless, these plants possess tremendous economic value and are still the most imperative source of healthcare for the massive majority of the people around the globe. Conferring to the reports of WHO, it has been predicted that 80% of people residing in developing countries are dependent upon the indigenous therapeutic plants for their basic healthcare, owing to the lack and insufficiency of modern healthcare services. Yearly sales of plant based therapeutic medicines vary between 7.5 billion US$, whereas, 108 billion US$ are spent on synthetic medicines. Consequently, a global population of around 3.5 to 4 billion depends upon therapeutic plants. Astonishingly, it has been predicted that global therapeutic plant business will spike upto dollars 5 trillion (US) by year 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 healthcare, more than 80% of total population places their reliance on therapeutic plants. Use of these plants is exclusively common in areas where modern healthcare facilities are inadequate or people cannot avail them as a result of economic crisis. Treatment with medicinal plants is considered very safe as there is no or minimal side effects. These remedies are in sync with nature, which is the biggest advantage. The golden fact is that, use of herbal treatments is independent of any age groups and the sexes.

Importance of medicinal plants

Medicinal plants are plants with medicinal characteristics, having positive pharmacological impact on human or animal body. Aloe, Tulsi, Neem, Turmeric, and Ginger are medicinal plants that can help with a variety of diseases. In many regions of the country, they are considered home cures. Herbal medication is defined by the World Health Organization as herbal materials, herbs, and finished herbal products that include active components from plants also known as bioactives having healing powers. The value of medicinal plants and their preparations is aptly shown by Hippocrates’ saying, “Let medicine be your food and food your medicine.

Therapeutic effect of medicinal plants

Wounds are treated using herbs such black pepper, cinnamon, myrrh, aloe, sandalwood, ginseng, red clover, burdock, bayberry, Basil, Fennel, Chives, Cilantro, 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’re 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 the food a pleasing scent and enhance the flavor. Certain cough syrups and antiseptics contain ginger and cloves. They’re recognized for their purgative properties, which help mucus thin and expel 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 assist to improve blood circulation. As a result, they’re employed to stimulate the heart. Certain therapeutic plants contain disinfection properties, which kill bacteria that cause sickness. Pathogenic bacteria that cause communicable illnesses are also inhibited by them. Calmative herbs, which have a calming effect on the body, are recommended by herbal medicine experts. Sedatives are frequently used with them. Pathogens in the blood are reduced by the bitter taste of such plants. They are also beneficial in the fight against infection. A new cut and wound can be properly treated with honey, turmeric, marshmallow, and licorice. They are called as vulnerary herbs.

Preventive strategies

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

Primary prevention is limiting the negative the number of new cases of sickness. Protective measures and knowledge about Health promotion is main focus. Secondary prevention aims to reduce the number of people who have already been diagnosed with a condition or sickness (prevalence). This level primarily consists of methods that enable 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 limiting and rehabilitating people with disabilities.

The secondary and tertiary preventive efforts are aimed at keeping people with chronic illnesses well, slowing the advancement of their illnesses, and prevent disease.The emphasis of preventive medicine should be on techniques that lower disease risk, identify risk factors, or diagnose illness in its earliest, most curable stages. Well-baby examinations, vaccines, vitamin – D supplements to prevent osteoporosis, blood pressure and cholesterol screenings during yearly health examinations, and monitoring for diseases including heart, throat, colorectal, and prostate cancer are all examples of disease preventive measures.

Conclusion

Large numbers of people die every day in underdeveloped nations across the world from avoidable or curable diseases due to a lack of even basic health care. Malnutrition is frequently linked to diseases in these nations. As a result, those who do survive frequently 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 are the symbol of safety in contrast to the synthetic drugs, that are regarded as unsafe to human being and environment. However, the blind dependence on synthetics is over and people are returning to the naturals with hope of safety and security.

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.

 

 

Aarzoo Ashraf

Well ,its Aarzoo Ashraf here (Nutritionist). Currently, I'm a student of M.Phil Epidemiology and Public Health from the University of agriculture Faisalabad.

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