Phitotherapy, or the use of herbal medicine, is found worldwide, and thanks to advanced technological applications its use is now becoming more widespread among the medical community. Plant-based medicines must employ a standardized extraction process, and be recognized for their efficacy, risk of use, reproducibility, and consistent quality. In particular, efficacy and safety must be proven through ethnopharmacological studies and technoscientific data generated by conducting solid research whose findings are published in internationally recognized journals.
Herbal medicines are derived from the stem, leaves and roots of a plant. These drugs, when used correctly, can deliver a range of health benefits. With herbal medicines, the active ingredient is not used in isolation, but works in tandem with several other substances in the plant. This set of elements is called a phytocomplex, and its components, when working together, create the therapeutic effect and safety profile (such as reduction of side effects) for each herbal medicine.
Like all medical products, herbal medicines can be harmful if used incorrectly, particularly when self-administered. In the case of herbal medicines, caution is required due to the common belief that all types of plant-based medicines are always safe to use. Some herbal medicines are toxic, and can be harmful to your health when ingested.
Herbal products must be manufactured under the same rigorous standards and controls applied to any other medicine. Some well-known and widely used herbal medicines may be sold over the counter, while others should only be used under medical supervision. As a rule, however, all medications should be taken under medical supervision.
The treatment of diseases using herbal remedies can employ several approaches, as these medicines come in many forms, including tinctures, ointments, gels, tablets, and teas. For the treatment to have the desired effect, however, the doctor must know which herbal remedy should be used, its origin, and the most suitable dosage and form in order to have the best result. The preparation of an extract and the entire manufacturing process of an herbal medicine depend on highly specific technical processes, whose knowledge is proprietary to each manufacturer. With herbal remedies, it is impossible to determine bioequivalence parameters for products of different origins, which is why there are no generic herbal medicines.
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