Botanical medicine can be described as the implementation of plants as nostrum, due to its comparable medicinal properties to pharmaceutical drugs. Humans have been using plants as medicine throughout history to either cure or lessen symptoms from an illness. A pharmaceutical drug however, is a type of drug that is produced in a laboratory to help cure an illness.
Plants have been used for medicinal purposes long before prehistoric period. Ancient Unani manuscripts, Egyptian papyrus and Chinese writings frequently described the use of herbs. Evidence exist that Unani Hakims, Indian Vaids and European cultures were using herbs for over 4000 years as medicine. Indigenous cultures found in Rome, Iran, Africa and the Americas, customarily used herbs in their healing rituals. nhp.gov
“The Egyptian science of healing constituted from the very beginning a system several thousand years in advance of the rest of human society.” -Ebers Papyrus. One of the most important papyrus (early Egyptian official documents), the Ebers Papyrus, written in the early XVIIIth Dynasty, ca 1550 B.C, contains a long list of of prescriptions for numerous named ailments, their doses and mode of administration.
Evidently considerable progress had been made, especially in clinical examination, diagnosis and therapeutics. It is in the realms of diagnosis and therapeutics that the most astounding advance had been made, indicating a real interest in disease. Knowledge was admittedly empiric, but the accumulated experience of remedies employed during many centuries had borne rich fruit. At least 15 distinct disease of the abdomen, 11 of the bladder, 10 of the rectum and anus, 29 of the eyes, 6 of the ears, 18 of the skin were diagnosed and treated on definite principles. From the symptoms described in the papyri, about 250 different kinds of disease were differentiated.
Additionally, the Edwin Smith Papyrus reveal that a large number of the drugs used several millennia ago, still figure in modern Pharmacopoeias. The flora of Egypt was rich in medicinal herbs, as Homer points out, evidently their therapeutic properties were carefully studied and utilized. Amongst vegetable products frequently mentioned are castor oil, aloes, coriander, turpentine, myrrh, linseed and peppermint. On the other hand, iron, soda, lime, sulphate of copper and magnesia were certainly amongst the mineral products that were also used. -Imhotep: The Egyptian God of Medicine, by Jamieson B. Hurry.
Medicinal plants are often used for cosmetics, pest control, food and perfume. In many countries, different kinds of medicinal plants or herbs are used to keep ants, flies, mice and flee away from homes and offices. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 80% of people worldwide rely on herbal medicines for some aspect of their primary health care needs. According to WHO, around 21,000 plant species have the potential for being used as medicinal plants.
For example, the Lapacho Colorado Tree, or Red Lapacho – named because of its scarlet flowers; grows in the warmer parts of South America. The tree, with its vibrant trumpet-shaped carnivorous flowers, has a powerful active ingredient in its bark, known as Lapacho.
Lapacho is commonly applied as an alternative method for the treatment of cancer, Candida Albicans and many other diseases of the immune system. More impressively, Lapacho has been confirmed by multiple scientific trails, of possessing antibiotic chemical agents, capable of destroying both bacteria and virus.
Beside its powerful healing properties, Lapacho is also a robust tonic and blood builder, increasing the hemoglobin content and the number of red corpuscles found in the bloodstream. -Timeless Secrets of Health and Rejuvenation, by Andreas Mortiz.