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Phytotherapy: what it is, it really works and which active ingredients to use to lose weight or treat anxiety. Definition and meaning of this ancient practice.
Does herbal medicine really work?
The studies on the subject are clear, there are many benefits of some plant species so much that we talk aboutmedical plants.In addition, many pharmaceutical products are made from active ingredients extracted from plants and herbs, even the very famous Aspirin was born like this!
It is not possible to generalize about such a broad practice as thephytotherapy, therefore it is not possible to answer the opening question. Therephytotherapyit works for certain ailments but can be completely ineffective (or even harmful) for others. In addition, it all depends on the plant extract in question!
As the term itself implies, thephytotherapyit is that therapeutic method that uses fresh or dried plants or their natural extracts to improve or cure a non-physiological condition. Therephytotherapy, for many, it represents a valid alternative remedy to common synthetic drugs.
The debate on the effectiveness ofphytotherapyit is thick and full of pitfalls. With certainty it can be said that nowadays we tend to underestimate small ailments and that thepathologymore serious is our food neglect, our listlessness and the imbalances that characterize the rhythm of daily life. At this point, a purifying herbal tea can certainly only benefit our body.
Industry experts themselves claim that thephytotherapyas a miraculous practice and easy to implement, indeed, on the contrary, if it phytotherapyif applied superficially it can cause numerous side effects.
The samemedical plantsthey should be used under close observation by a specialist and as with over-the-counter medications, self-prescribing is also not recommended. There"Phytotherapydo it yourself ”can only be useful in case of those slight ailments such as menstrual pains or a common winter cold.
Therephytotherapyexploits some "active principles"contained in plants. When we talk about plant active ingredients, we are referring to substances such as glucosides, alkaloids, essential oils, tannins, polysaccharides…. and other organic compounds produced directly by the metabolism of the plant species. All compounds are accumulated in the plant cell and extracted by different techniques.
To mention the use of particular active ingredients, we point out, for external use, the tannins that are used to fight hemorrhoids, wounds, swelling and inflammation. On the contrary, saponins are dangerous poisons for the blood, so, by ingesting an infusion based on horse chestnut, they could cause considerable damage to the body.
Herbal medicine can be defined as thea practice that uses plant extracts, herbs and plants for therapeutic purposes.
Homeopathy and Phytotherapy
Phytotherapy differs fromhomopathybecause in the latter practice, bioactive substances of synthetic origin are also used, the famous "homeopathic preparations".
Limits of phytotherapy
A strong limitation of thephytotherapyconsists in the difficulty ofstandardizethe concentrations of active ingredient contained in a root, a leaf or the entire plant.
Therequalityof plants and therefore the content ofactive principlesin a given tree species, it can change depending on an uncontrollable number of factors. It starts with the different cultivars, the growing conditions, the type of soil, the sun, climatic factors, harvesting times, post-harvest treatments (type of drying) and storage conditions.
To try toto measurethe amount of active ingredients and thequality of preparations, themodern phytotherapyit uses techniques such as high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), spectrophotometry (UV / VIS) or atomic absorption spectroscopy (AA).
These tools are used to measure any contamination and evaluate the potential effects of the species.
DIY herbal medicine
Theredo it yourself herbal medicineit is absolutely not recommended. Many plants can contain active ingredients that are dangerous to human health or even fatal.
An inadequate formulation could have many negative effects on our body. In addition, there are few studies that highlight drug interactions.
The scientific community seems to agree that thephytotherapycan be "very powerful" when it comes to misuse. However, he is reticent to claim that theherbal medicine worksreally to cure certain pathologies.
The truth is that the active ingredients contained in a single plant are very many and in depth studies, however, there are few.
Therephytotherapyit undoubtedly has great potential but which man today cannot exploit: research has highlighted many active ingredients but often, even the most common plants include unknown bioactive substances.
Herbal medicine for weight loss
There are many plants that are able to stimulate the metabolism and assist the natural actionfat burningof our body. To mention the most controversial but also the most effective active ingredient, we point out Ephedrine.
The vegetable preparation Ephedrais famous for its many side effects (severe skin reactions, irritability, nervousness, dizziness, tremors, headaches, insomnia, sweating, itching, vomiting, hyperthermia, irregular heartbeat, convulsions, heart attacks, strokes ...). This preparation, inphytotherapyit was used forlose weight but currently its use has been very limited in order not to endanger public health. If your purpose is to use thephytotherapy for weight loss, start reading our guide onhow to speed up the metabolism.
Herbal medicine and anxiety
Therephytotherapyit is widely used to relieve stress and anxiety. For this purpose, we can recommend the dedicated articleherbs for anxiety.