Herbalism

Solo disponible en BuenasTareas
  • Páginas : 2 (466 palabras )
  • Descarga(s) : 0
  • Publicado : 9 de septiembre de 2012
Leer documento completo
Vista previa del texto
This is a list of plants that have been used as herbal medicine.

Plants have the ability to synthesize a wide variety of chemical compounds that are used to perform important biologicalfunctions, and to defend against attack from predators such as insects, fungi and herbivorous mammals. Many of these phytochemicals have beneficial effects on long-term health when consumed by humans, and canbe used to effectively treat human diseases. At least 12,000 such compounds have been isolated so far; a number estimated to be less than 10% of the total.[1][2] These phytochemicals are dividedinto (1) primary metabolites such as sugars and fats, which are found in all plants; and (2) secondary metabolites -- compounds which are found in a smaller range of plants, serving a more specificfunction.[3] For example, some secondary metabolites are toxins used to deter predation and others are pheromones used to attract insects for pollination. It is these secondary metabolites and pigmentsthat can have therapeutic actions in humans and which can be refined to produce drugs—examples are inulin from the roots of dahlias, quinine from the cinchona, morphine and codeine from the poppy, anddigoxin from the foxglove.[3] Chemical compounds in plants mediate their effects on the human body through processes identical to those already well understood for the chemical compounds inconventional drugs; thus herbal medicines do not differ greatly from conventional drugs in terms of how they work. This enables herbal medicines to be as effective as conventional medicines, but also givesthem the same potential to cause harmful side effects.[1][2]

Most cultures have a tradition of using plants medicinally. In Europe, apothecaries stocked herbal ingredients for their medicines. Inthe Latin names for plants created by Linnaeus, the word officinalis indicates that a plant was used in this way. For example, the marsh mallow has the classification Althaea officinalis, as it was...
tracking img