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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

Rootstalks= rhizoma

Root = radix

Fruit= Fructus

Leaf= folium

Herb= herba

Wood= lignum

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:-

  • Quinine - Used in the making of various medicines
  • Aspirin - It's a kind of drug used in many conditions like toothaches, muscles aches, common cold, headaches, reduced pain, swelling in arthritis, fever, etc.
  • Ginseng - Ginseng plant roots are used as a medicine, mainly in Chinese medicines that help reduce inflammation, brain function, energy levels and boost immunity.
  • Echinacea - The plant's roots and aerial parts treat the common cold and respiratory issues.
  • Ginkgo Biloba - The Extract of ginkgo treats nervous system disorders and mild cognitive functions.
  • Elderberry - This ancient medicine is made from the cooked fruit of the Sambucus Nigra plant used to cure nerve pain, headache, colds, viral infections, constipation, and toothaches.
  • John's Wort - work like medicine in treating moderated depression problems in human beings.
  • Turmeric - Scientific name of turmeric is Curcuma Long that belongs to the ginger family. It has been used in cooking and medicine for thousands of years due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It helps cure pain, metabolic syndrome, chronic inflammation, and anxiety.
  • Ginger - Ginger is a rhizome plant that grows underground. Which stem and roots are used in natural and dried form. Provide relief in the following problems:-
    Nausea, heart diseases, pregnancy, chemotherapy, operations, stomach problems, reduce risk of blood clot, cancer, and many more. It can be used daily.
  • Valerian plant roots are consumed (dried) in capsule form to treat headaches, heart problems, restlessness, tremors, insomnia, and anxiety.
  • Chamomile - Flower of chamomile is used in making tea and medical extracts. Used in curing diarrhea, stomach pain, infectious wounds, nausea, constipation, and respiratory infections.

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.

  • A scientific approach to understanding how herbal medicines work.
  • Over the hundreds of years, the herbalist has been using herbs to treat illness in human beings.
  • It is used to study the chemical structure of the herbs used by herbalists.
  • It tells how herbal medicine works.
  • It tells which chemical structure works to cure a certain kind of illness. For example, Hypericin is a chemical that controls mood in depressed people, and it is found in St. John's Wort ( it work the same as anti-depression pills do for humans). The "Tulsi plant" is used as a remedial plant for many diseases (tulsi leaves) in India.
  • It predicts that "Nature has provided with it's own pharmacy".
  • We heal faster when we are in harmony with nature.
  • It helps humans to understand that herbs facilitate us to heal and nudge toward balance.
  • It doesn't have any negative side effects on the body.
  • It is scientific and evidence-based.
  • It transformed herbal remedies into the scientific-based herbal medicines available in the market (in packed form).

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