Phytotherapy combines two words Phyto + Therapy (plant therapy).
Phyto = It's a scientific term in biology. The word came from the Greek word phyton that means plant. Plants are the base of our living as they are the only ones who provide food, spices, delicacies, remedies, and medicine to human beings.
Therapy = Therapy is the curing treatment to heal diseases and wounds.
Phytotherapy is one of the methods of curing and prevention diseases with the help of plant-derived medication. Some plants are used as natural healers in medical preparation on scientific principles.
In history, only plants and their different parts were utilized by doctors (vaids) to treat and cure diseases. Over the years, this method has been practiced in the medical field and household for treatment.
Phytotherapy is the method of treating diseases by using the plant-derived extracts that are considered medically valuable. Various plants parts are used to extract active therapeutic ingredients in an impure and pure way.
Various phytotherapeutic plants hold medicinal value in this practice of treatment. Different parts of plants hold medicinal properties and are named differently in botany.
Parts of plants named in botany
Flower = flos
Seeds = semen
Bark = cortex
Root = radix
Phytotherapy is different from herbalism or herbology as some plants and their extract are used for treatment. It is not a fully established type of Therapy to find better ways of treating diseases. It is considered a licensed practice classified under orthodox natural science-oriented medicine.
Biomedicine has convinced human beings that herbs are unscientific, but people are unsatisfied with the result of allopathy. They produce a lot of side effects on the body.
A French physician Henri Leclerc firstly introduced the tern Phytotherapy in 1913 who had published various editions of Précis de phytothérapie ("Handbook of Phytotherapy") in 1922. The definition of Phytotherapy in the English dictionary came in 1934 by Eric Frederick William Powell (an English practitioner of homeopathy and herbalism.
In 1960, a German textbook named Lehrbuch der Phytotherapie was published by Rudolf Fritz Weiss. Another version of the book named Die Pflanzenheilkunde in der Ärztlichen Praxis ("Plant-Based Curative Science in Medical Practice") was published in 1944. Both of the writers focus on evidence-based medicine.
A journal Phytotherapy Research published by British Pharmacognosist Fred Evans in 1987. Another book named Rational Phytotherapy was published by American pharmacognosist Varro Tyler.
History of the practice of Phytotherapy
Going back in the history, paleolithic age depicts the practice of herbalism. In ancient times before 5000 years, herbalism (herbs) was used to treat wounds and small ailments.
Herbalism can also be learned from animals who depend on plants for everything. Phytotherapy is a part of herbalism( learning the potentials and limitations of herbal drugs for treating human beings and practiced by physicians trained in herbalism.
In 1550 BC, medical plants were used in Egyptian papyri, where more than 700 compounds (originated from plants) are found in thousands of years old papyri. Many countries like Africa, Asia, and South American use Phytotherapy techniques to cure.
Herbalism → Modernization of herbalism → Foundation of Phytotherapy
In medical terms, Scientific models signify the efficient use of phototherapy treatment. Various herbal products have been prescribed as medicine according to scientific evidence. These are the Phytotherapy medicines:-
Safety and Protocols
Like western medicines have negative side effects, Phytotherapy medicines also have side effects if they are not consumed under the doctor's consultation. Phytotherapeutic medicines should be taken with proper precautions by registered herbalists. These packed medicines have instructions and dosage quantities already labeled. The patient should follow all the instructions given by the doctor in terms of inhaling the medicine, eating food, and timing of dose. Negligence can produce negative effects like headaches, vomiting, asthma, allergic reactions, rashes, diarrhea, etc., from mild to severe.
Phytotherapy is a study of plant chemicals used to cure and prevent diseases.