Phytotherapy: healing power of plants!
Phytotherapy is the treatment or prevention of diseases or physical conditions and disorders with plants, parts of plants or their preparations. Phytotherapy has a very long tradition in many regions around the world.
We distinguish today between rational and traditional phytotherapeutics.
Rational phytotherapeutic medicinal products must be approved for marketing in the EU in accordance with the provisions of pharmaceutical law, before being sold. Quality, efficacy and safety must be demonstrated.
The proof of harmlessness is sufficient for traditionally used remedies, as well as for alternative phytotherapeutic agents used, in Ayurvedic medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine or as in Bach flower essences.
As for medicinal products, there are many different forms and fields of application in phytotherapy. The herbal remedies have completely different effects: laxative, anti-bacterial, calming, hypotension, relaxing, and anti-inflammatory, immune-stimulatory or pain-inhibiting – to name just a few.
In the EU many herbal medicines are available in the pharmacy without prescription. The costs for phytotherapeutics are currently not being reimbursed or only partially, by many health insurance companies. However, many supplementary health insurance companies now offer optional reimbursement for phythotherapeutics.
In general, phytotherapy is considered as a treatment form that presents no or almost no side effects. Especially in the case of chronic diseases, herbal medicinal products often have a very positive effect – either as an alternative or as a complement to school medicine. In some cases they also support the effect of synthetic medication.
However, side effects and interactions with other medicines or foods are possible with herbal medicinal products. Thus, in some situations phytotherapy is not advisable.
Specialized naturopaths have a very good knowledge of the medicinal plants, and a well-documented anamnesis is a first step towards a permanent improvement for many (chronically) ill patients.
In the case of severe or persistent complaints and serious illnesses, a doctor or pharmacist should always be consulted. This also applies when different drugs are taken or several herbal preparations are to be combined.
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