Pharmacognosy´s topics – Medicinal plants

When man was in need of healing procedures for diseases and accidents, came to natural products as the main source to solve the problem, due to he did not know the current chemicals.
It was therefore necessary to classify medicinal plants according to the type of ailment and the objectives it was intended.
This practice was associated with early plant domestication techniques but played an important collection which even today is practiced by farmers.
Phytotherapy (herbal therapy) has its origins in the beginning of humanity and belongs to the field of medicine.
The first manifestation of its utilization was in the magic rituals as complement for the treatment of some discomfort.

Early experience with herbal treatments were reflected in ancient herbariums at the time of the Sumerians, Assyrians, Babylonians and Phoenicians. The Ebers Papyrus collected 700 plants.
The oldest of these practices is the Chinese one, with more than 10 000 years, but were the Greeks and Romans who undertook the systematic study of medicinal plants.

Let´s start this Pharmacognosy´s course by defining some necessary terms for understanding.

Url : http://www.medicinalplants-pharmacognosy.com/

The Constituents of Medicinal Plants

The field of medicine has long been divided between so-called ‘rationalist’ and ‘vitalistic’ principles. While the rationalist/scientific model has held sway (at least in the Westernised nations) for the last couple of centuries, vitalistic concepts of health and healing have made a comeback in the recent decades. A vast array of natural healing modalities—both ancient and new—have emerged, and some are even challenging orthodox medicine for part of the middle ground. Alternative medicine has become Complementary and Alternative Medicine (capitals intentional), or CAM for short; however, the question is often asked: ‘Is there any scientific evidence that proves any of these therapies work?’.

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Ethnopharmacology of Medicinal Plants Asia and the Pacific

In 1860, Oliver Wendell Holmes pointedly expressed himself to the Massachusetts Medical Society: “I firmly believe that if the whole Material Medica, as now used, could be sunk to the bottom of the sea, it would be all the better for mankind, and all the worst for the fishes.” Should one think the same about the current approach in drug discovery from plants? Probably yes. Despite the spending of billions of US dollars, and three decades of efforts, high-throughput screenings have only allowed the discovery of a couple of drugs.

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