Published: 11/30/2005 - Updated: 08/08/2019
Author: Prof. Dr. Luis Ruiz-García
The plants are extremely useful. On the one hand they provide the oxygen needed to breathe. But they also provide nutrients that we eat. The use of plants for food has led to a search from the beginning of the humanity of those species that are edible and those that are not. In this quest, the man has experienced in his own body and has found that a food can be converted into a deadly poison.
Throughout history civilizations have moved in around the plants, making the living that have most influenced humanity. The conservation of seeds in clay helped liberate the collection of wild plants and the invention of agriculture with the consequent gradual disappearance of the nomadic cultures. The search for species allowed the discovery of the Americas and the emergence of colonialism. Similarly, the search for medicinal species, narcotics or aphrodisiac properties has led men to search the most remote.
The importance of medicinal plants
The importance of medicinal plants is most evident in the present in developing countries. In Pakistan an estimated 80% of people depend on these for treatment, 40% in China. In technologically advanced countries like the United States an estimated 60% of the medicinal plants is commonly used to combat certain diseases. In Japan there is more demand for medicinal plants.
Modern medicine, through the clinical analysis, has clarified the validity of those plants that had used the traditional method based on trial and error. Many proved to be valid, others proved to be harmless, others potentially dangerous. The biochemical analysis could determine which are the main components of medicinal plants. – So-called active ingredients.
Arguments in defense of the medicinal plants
The ability of the modern chemical industry to produce these principles without the aid of the plants is not to deny the importance and suggest that these are having on the future. Among the main arguments in defense of the medicinal plants we have the following:
- A school of medicine for discovering the future: There are about half a million flowering plants, most of which has not been investigated and the principles of which could be crucial in the healing of current or future diseases.
- Medicine: It has been shown in many cases that the application of a single component has not had the desired effect, either because they did not have the same healing power that when taken in conjunction with other components, either because have proven to be toxic. The components of the plants have a synergistic effect, i.e. interacting all at once, so you can use to complement or enhance or neutralize the potential negative effects.
- Support of Medical Officer: The treatment of complex diseases in some cases may require the support of the medicinal properties of plants or derivatives that provide them.
- Preventive Medicine: Finally, we must not forget the preventive nature that plants have with respect to the onset of disease. In this sense the plants to overcome the chemical remedies that are applied mainly when the disease has appeared. It has been established as the ingestion of natural foods can prevent many diseases. It is recognized that the ingestion of plants with antioxidant properties, especially those who belong to the Brassicaceae, including cabbage, radish, etc. or some Liliaceae, such as garlic or onions.
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