Plants have been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. Today, many plants are still highly valued because of their healing properties, and here are some examples of plants that have benefited human health a great deal.
In Victorian times, morphine became a popular way of offering patients pain relief. Coming from the opium poppy, morphine itself was one of the early examples of isolating an active ingredient in a plant, which was then used medicinally. Used for treating acute and chronic pain, morphine can be administered in a wide variety of ways. It is now typically given to people who have had a heart attack and to women in labor.
White Willow Tree
The white willow tree is the source of the Aspirin, which is used in the treatment of numerous health issues. As well as being administered to prevent heart attacks and strokes, Aspirins are used to treat less serious health problems. There are also continued studies into whether or not Aspirin can help to combat cancer. The beneficial health properties of the white willow tree, notably its bark, have been known about since the time of the Ancient Greeks. One great Greek physician, Hippocrates, even used the bark of the tree to help cure headaches. In modern times, Aspirin is used to treat fever and inflammation too, and is used in a general way to alleviate pain.
Root and shoot extracts of the Madagascar periwinkle are used in India to tackle some diseases. While, in China, plant extracts are used on people affected by malaria or diabetes. Modern medicine has also benefited greatly from substances extracted from the Madagascar periwinkle. For instance, both vinblastine and vincristine are considered helpful when treating people affected by leukaemia and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Though the Madagascar periwinkle is a poisonous plant, experiments over the centuries have resulted in the successful extraction of aspects and ingredients of the plant that have benefited human health.
The common thyme is a valuable plant regarding health, because it can contain a high percentage of thymol. Treating respiratory problems are an example of what thymol can be used for, and thymol is also important because of its antiseptic qualities. These qualities could prove to be very helpful in the future, as some research has shown that this herb is very effective when it comes to dealing with acne. The common thyme can be used too in tea, which can be given to people to fight bronchitis or a cough.
Though considered a weed, the humble dandelion has been used for centuries to treat various conditions. In Canada, the root of the dandelion is registered as a drug, and is mainly considered a diuretic. The flower has long been thought of as useful, when treating problems of the digestive system. While its use in herbal medicine also includes helping to improve a person’s appetite, acting as a mild laxative, tackling bile and liver problems, plus being used for treating infections.