MEDICINAL PLANTS AND HEALTH IN HUMAN HISTORY: FROM EMPIRICAL USE TO MODERN PHYTOTHERAPY
Phytotherapy is the science that deals with the treatment and prevention of diseases through medicinal plants and herbal products. The use of herbs as medicine is the oldest form of healthcare known to humanity and has been used in all cultures throughout history. It is known that even today over 80% of the world population depends on herbal medicines. The quality of herbal medicines is believed to be directly related to its active principles, but herbal medicines can be variable in their composition. Therefore, it is necessary to use an extract that is well defined in its chemical composition and in the quantity of specific active principles; and actually, to obtain constant efficacy and safety, standardized medicinal plant extracts are being used. Clinically confirmed efficacy and best tolerability and safety of standardized or quantified medicinal plant extracts are the key for a successful phytotherapic approach.
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