Herbal medicine (or “herbalism”) is the study and use of medicinal properties of plants. The scope of herbal medicine is sometimes extended to include fungal
Socrates once said there is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance “this statement should guide us in all our actions, especially where our health is concerned. Too many of us do not have the slightest idea of how to maintain good health. When illness strikes, we rely on our doctors to cure us. What we fail to realize is that “the cure” comes from within Nature has provided us with a wondrous immune system, and all we have to do is take proper care of this inner healing force.
Does this sound too simple? Basically, it is simple our modern lifestyles have gotten us off the right track with fast foods, alcohol abuse, Drug dependencies, and high tech stress. Nature intended to fuel our inner healing force with the right natural substances to enable the body function up to its fullest potential.
The human genome project, which has been under way for several years now, represents an attempt to build a complete genetic profile of the human race. Already researchers claim to have identified the gene responsible for a number of abnormalities, from cystic fibrosis to, most recently, aggression. Should this be regarded as an exciting enterprise that deserves the support of therapists of all persuasions? Or is it an extreme expression of hubris, a hazardous undertaking with unforeseeable and possibly disastrous consequences for human health and liberty. The result of this misperception is that, inevitably, genetic mapping will lead to genetic manipulation – indeed that is the avowed aim of geneticists. Whatever the good intentions of researchers, the medical -industrial establishment a tacit alliance of doctors, drug companies, insurance and other interested parties, influenced to varying degrees by consideration of money or power – will ensure that the pressures on ‘genetic defectives’ to undergo therapy will be irresistible. This will give rise to a society where the individual will relinquish all control over his or her own health, and where virtually everyone, from gestation onward, will become a “patient” under the control of the medical – industrial complex.
What does all this have to do with Phytotherapy (Herbal Medicine)? The natural therapies-among which the phytotherapy, in global terms, is paramount-in general reflect the philosophical view that nature in totality, is the expression of a universal harmony and equilibrium, the rupture of which gives rise to numerous ill effects, among them environmental devastation in the biosphere and ill-health in the individual.
Phytotherapy, by contrast, aims not to cure disease by a technological fix, but to bring about a restoration of homoeostasis through remedies that assist, but stop short of violence to the organism’s intrinsic healing powers.
The eminent French doctor J.C Lapaz maintains that 90% of both common and serious illnesses could be treated with phytotherapy. It is therefore the lecturer believe that widening the scope of natural medicine in this way presents as worthy as a challenge to science as the human genome project, and one whose success would be crowned with immeasurably greater benefits to humanity and prevention of diseases.
Izzeldin S.Hussein is Regional consultant of Micronutrition with special training on Iodine Deficiency Disorders assessment, management and control, and secretary general for Iodized salt producers Association.He is also active Member of ICCIDD board of directors, and consultant to international agencies.
And individual countries. Previous positions include Medical representative for Orthodox medicine (Middle east north Africa –1982-1988). And scientist researcher on Herbal Materia Medica. He holds Master degree in Pharmacognosy, and MBA from U.K majoring assessment, management and control of hidden hunger (Micronutrition deficiencies) in the least developing countries. His international experience started in 1995, as short term consultant for WHO in the eastern mediteranean region,he has since been involved with Micronutrition issues with special attention to virtual elimination of IDD. He worked in close collaboration with ministies of health in the eastern mediteranean region, Middle east and north Africa, and trained the industry on fortification methodologies, quality control and assurance, as well as partnership building between the health authorities and the industry and successfully formed (Joint IDD committees) representing health , industry and different segments of the community. He presented various lecture in various countries of the region( 17 countries) focusing on social marketing , mobilization, and demand creation for fortified food for virtual elimination of Micronutrition deficiency disorders, and participated with posters and verbal communication in series of international conferences. He travels a lot in his region , and has seen the ravages of poor nutrition, health condition, as well as opportunities of educating and training people , can provide for improving people’s live.He has a number of scientific publications and has done frequent consultations for national and international organizations.
Many Herbs contain powerful ingredients, that if used correctly , can help heal the body, prevent so many diseases. The Pharmaceutical industry was originally based upon the ability to isolate these ingredients and make them in a purer form. Herbalists and the Traditional Healers , however contend that nature provides other ingredients in the same herbs to balance the more powerful ingredients, these other components, though they may be less potent, may help to act as buffers, synergists, or counterbalances working in harmony with the more powerful ingredients provided by nature. (The whole is better than part.)
Probably the most straightforward definition of apoisnous plant is that given by Forsyth 1954 “One which give rise to a serious departure from normal health, one small quantity of its seed, root or vegetation is eaten by a creature which is susceptible to its effects”. However this definition still leaves much to be desired,as how are “serious departure” normal health and small quantity should be interpreted.
The major poisonous principles found among plants are organic compounds such as alkaloids, diverseness, cardia and cyanogenic glycosides, nitro-containing compounds, oxalates, resins and certain proteins and or amino acids. Some plants also accumulate inorganic elements, largely from the soil, and these too may have serious effects on man.
More than 400 glycosides have been characterized, the best known of which are found in Foxglove. The Coumarin glycosides are vitamin k antagonists and may result in abnormal bleeding. There are many other kinds of glycosides a number of which are considered to be poisonous principles,such as those which prevent the thyroid from accumulating inorganic iodine as found in cabbage, broccoli and all species of Brassica.
The glycosides yielding hydrocyanic acid are called cyanogenic, and the most distributed of these is amygdaline which is commonly found in the seeds of apples and pears and leaves of apricots. The severity of poisoning from cyanide in plants depends on how much free hydrogen cyanide exist in the plant.
Oxalic acid, the only organic acid of plants toxic under natural conditions, it causes kidney failure, can form stones and reduces the proportion of calcium in the blood. The examples of poisoning could be multiplied many times, however those given above were chosen partly to show the variety and range of poisoning and to demonstrate that there is no real way at present the toxic principles can be usefully grouped. The shelves and the Traditional practioner drawers contain Herbal medicines that affect the body very powerfully and are to be prescribed with the greatest care.
The body is complex organism that has the ability to heal itself-if only you listen to it and respond with proper nourishment and care. In spite of all the abuse our bodies endure-whether through exposure to environment toxins, poor nutrition, cigarettes, alcohols consumption or interactivity they still usually serve us well for many years before signs of illness (infections, malnutrition) may start to appear.
The human body is the greatest machine in the earth, it is composed of millions of tiny engines. Some of these engines work in unison, some work independently. All are on call twenty four hours a day. In order for the engines to work properly; they require specific fuels; if the type of fuel given is the wrong blend, the engine will not perform to its maximum capacity. The fuel comes from the things we consume, the foods we eat contain nutrients. These nutrients come in form of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, water, amino acids, carbohydrates and lipids. If we don’t give ourselves the proper nutrients, we can impaired the body’s normal functions and cause ourselves great harm.
Good nutrition is the foundation of good health. Everyone needs the four basic nutrients-water, carbohydrates, proteins and fats-as well as vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients.
The human body is two thirds water, water is involved in every function of the body, digestion, absorption, circulatory and excretory functions. It is needed for the maintenance of proper body temperature.
Like water, carbohydrates,protein, fats and enzymes required to digest them, vitamins and minerals are essential to life. They are therefore considered nutrients, and often referred to as micronutrients simply because they are needed in relatively small amounts compared with the four basic nutrients.Nature has the answer we need to maintain our health, but we need to know what nutrients to take to make sure all the pieces of the puzzle fit together.
Diets high in fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes appear to reduce the risk of number of diseases, including cancer, heart diseases, diabetes and high blood pressure. The disease preventing effects of these foods are partly due to antioxidants-specific vitamins, minerals and enzymes that help prevent cancer and other disorders by protecting cells against damage from oxidation. Phytochemicals are the biologically active substances in plants that are responsible for giving them color, flavor and natural disease resistance. To understand how Phytochemicals protect the body against cancer, it is necessary to know that cancer formation is a multiple process. Phytochemicals seem to fight cancer by blocking one or more of the steps that lead to cancer. For instance, cancer can begin when a carcinogenic molecule – from the food you eat or the air you breathe invades a cell. But if sulforaphane, a physiochemical found in broccoli, also reaches the cell, it activates a group of enzymes that whisk the carcinogen out of the cell before it can cause any harm.
Although no long-term human studies have shown that specific Phytochemicals stop cancer, research on Phytochemicals supports the more than 200 studies that link lowered cancer risk with a diet rich in grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables. Moreover , animal and in vitro studies have demonstrated how some Phytochemicals prevent carcinogens from promoting the growth of specific cancers. For instance, the photochemical phenethyl isothiocyanate (PETTIC), found in cabbage and turnips has been known to inhibit the growth of lung cancer in rats and mice. Among other things, PEITC protects the cells DNA from a potent carcinogen found in tobacco smoke.
Probably the first person to see the bacteria under the microscope was Antoni Leuwenhoek of Delft, Holland , 1683. But the credit for the discovery of the relationship of bacteria to disease was given to Louis Pasteur, and known as the founder of what came to be known as Germ Theory of Disease. The following are the chief points upon which the Germ Theory was founded.
Micro-organisms enter the body in number of ways-via nose and mouth (e.g diphtheria); by drinking water or milk (e.g typhoid fever); by infected food (e.g choleras); through the skin (e.g tetanus), by insects (e.g Malaria) and so on.
Bacteria create disease by producing toxins (poisons).
Specific diseases are caused by specific microorganism: e.g pneumococus bacterium has an affinity to lung tissue and believed to be cause of pneumonia, the polio myelitis virus tend to infect the particular cells of the spinal cord and so causes paralysis. On the other hand certain bacteria was regarded as non-specific, such as streptococci (rheumatic fever). While staphylococci were responsible of septicaemia and other conditions.
The Germ theory has to include a theory of immunity’ in fact without this the whole theory of bacterial infection would be quite untenable. Pasteur stated that disease is a germ and a germ is a disease and having also stated that germs are universally present, unless animals, including man, possessed some form of immunity, the whole of animal life would have been wiped out thousands of years ago.
Natural immunity is an inherited resistance to infection. For example dogs are immune to anthrax, rats for diphtheria, animals are immune to syphilis, even in the same species there are relative degrees of natural immunity e.g tropical natives are much less liable to malaria than white visitors.
This germ Theory of disease was hailed as answer to most of the medical problems of the time. They considered it solved the problem of how disease starts and how it may be spread, at the same time, it suggested to them how disease may be avoided and how it may be cured .
- Preventive measures (prophylaxes) were aimed at the destruction of pathogenic bacteria and at preventing these from spreading from centers of infection to individual and public in generally. These measures included such public health works as efficient removal of sewage, supply of clear water and food, isolation of infected. It also included such measures as vaccination (smallpox) immunization (Diphtheria whooping cough, typhoid, etc). Other simple methods (washing of hands before food and after defaecation).
- Therapeutic measures suggested by the Germ Theory are: the use of asepsis, antisepsis, and disinfection.The inhibition of microorganisms by the use of chemotherapy and antibiotics. The use of sera such as diphtheria antitoxin and removal of organs or tissues which are”foci of infection” (Tonsils).
- further measures included destruction of sources of infection , and the destruction of rats ,mice and other animal vectors which spread infection.
- The specifity of a micro organism is conclusively demonstrated when Koch postulates are fulfilled:
(a) – the microorganism is found in each and every case of the disease;
(b) – it is found with any other disease;
(c) – it must be obtained in pure culture from the person suffering the disease (d) – it must be possible to produce the same disease again by inoculation.
Taking all these into consideration we will proceed further to explain how Herbal materia medica be used to prevent diseases as a low cost medication available for all people.
To focus on Herbal materia medica we have to note that, a large and increasing number of patients in all over the world use medicinal herbs or seek the advice of their physician (Developed world) or Traditional Healers and Hakim’s (least developing world), yet patients and(physicians) often lack accurate information about the safety and efficacy of herbal remedies.
Popular use of medicinal herbs makes it necessary for physicians to became aware of their health benefits, risks, and uncertainties so that they can educate their patients and the public in general.
Plants have been used medicinally through out the history, you can not ignore this fact specially if you are located in one of the least developing countries, where uses of plants are intensified in proportion with the increase of certain diseases such as AIDS. Even in the most developed countries , many herbs were considered conventional medicines and as such were included in medical curricula (e.g British Pharmacopoeia and the United States). Also a pharmaceutical industry capable of mass production of purified herbs were developed, but unlike the purified herbs in the developed countries, medicinal herbs are not required to demonstrate either safety or efficacy prior to prescription by the traditional healers in the least developed countries, nor are their preparation, time of harvesting and storage condition be identified.
It is worth to recognize that more than about 25 % of modern pharmaceutical drugs have botanical origins, such as digoxin from foxgloves, morphine from poppies, aspirin from willow bark and tomoxifen from pacific yew tree, and so on…..
Imagine the following are patients in your primary health care practice or in the remote area health care unit were you been assigned to treat:
- The first patient who has the human immunodeficiency virus, has an increasing viral load. He expresses fear of “medicine” but request information on Allium Sativum (garlic) or information about St John’s Wort (SJW) in hopes of “naturally” curing his immunodeficiency virus and depression?
- What if your spouse has high cholesterol, and wonder if any herbal remedies might benefit her.
- As we noted earlier, traditional use has revealed sometimes serious toxic effects associated with some common medicinal herbs, on the other hand the traditional use categorized some herbs as generally safe for consumption based on long term and or widespread traditional use without significant side effects. In the remaining part of this lecture we will review some medicinal herbs, their safety and efficacy.
Antibiotics have an important place in modern drug medicine and prevention of various aliments. The philosophy behind their use in the treatment of infections is simple; they kill the invading organism without harming the host tissue. The development of antiviral drugs along similar lines has not lived up to early expectations. This is largely because a virus does not show all the qualities of a living organism until it invades the host cell . This means that:
- Viruses are difficult to inactivate chemically and usually require highly toxic agents to do so.
- Once a cell is infected it is difficult selectively to inhibit the virus without harming the cell.
Also viruses can exhibit rapid rates of mutation which make immunity difficult to sustain. It is even possible that viruses, through natural selection, are becoming better equipped at infecting host cells and evading immune destruction.
The world least developing Countries are currently facing the prospects of two major chronic viral epidemics among other prevailing infectious diseases, those are AIDS and Hepatitis B, and due to the poverty and lack of health care facilities, uses of medicinal herbs has consequently intensified , and have much to offer in this area. Plants are subject to viral infections too and it is possible that they have evolved effective and nontoxic antiviral metabolites. Even if this is not the case, the diversity of chemical compounds found in plants far exceeds the human imagination, and it is likely that potent non-toxic antiviral agents already exist, however it is unfortunate that medicinal plants which can contribute to the prevention of so many infectious diseases are underscored only by the traditional healers, waiting recognition and new developments in research to take place by professional investigators from and outside of this least developed world. We will now proceed to review some commonly used herbs (Materia Medica).
Thymol, the main ingredient of the volatile oil of thyme, has been shown to be twenty times more powerful an antiseptic than the standard phenol, yet, unlike phenol, it does not erode or even irritate mucosa or skin exposed to it: it can thus be safely taken internally . Thyme is active against a wide variety of intestinal worms as Necator americanus and species of Ascarides and Oxyuris, there is a general ability to significantly change the bacterial population of the gut. Thymol disinfect also the bronchial and pulmonary passages and the urinary tubules, it is also used locally against fungal growths. Considering all above properties of Thymus it is used extensively by local healers, however it is always difficult to judge when the poisoning of the host’s body commences; therefore it is recommended that no one short of expert at the task should take it on, and this may call upon professionals and medical school students to intervene for further research and training of local healers.
The anti-pathogenic effects of garlic against infections have for long been known by traditional healers, Garlic is used as general and anti-septic by local healers in many parts of the least developing world (Poorer Penicillin). The odorous component is the main ant microbial agent, garlic is thus a specific for bronchial and lung infection, and also for gut infections such as Dysentery, Typhoid and cholera, and in many cases of food poisoning.
Garlic (Allium) has also so many effects on blood circulation attested by modern experimental and clinical research. It lowers the level of the blood cholesterol with obvious implications for those suffering from arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure.
Garlic is also used as digestive stimulant and excellent expectorant, the local healers also predict that garlic is anti-tumor too, however this has to be dealt with cautiously and it is worth to be researched by students and other professionals.
The mechanism of SJW’s antidepressant effects is only partially known. Some in vitro studies demonstrated monoamine oxidase inhibition , but only at concentrations unattainable in vivo. Furthermore SJW is used extensively (66 million doses in 1994 in Germany) without reported side effects. Other reported application include: Tissue healer and anti inflammatory, the red oil of St John’s Wort has appreciable benefit for the local treatment of wounds and burns. The herb although it has been seen as Anti –depressive, but the combination of actions has many applications to individual case. Menopausal depressions, headaches the type accompanying overwork or pressure perhaps at the end of the day or even, when the tension is suddenly let up at weekends. The plant has several useful applications to conditions of digestive system, the combination of relaxant, astringent, analgesic, antiseptic and healing properties makes it a good remedy taken orally for inflammatory events of the gut wall and the visceral spasm and pain that often accompanies them. Gastritis, enteritis (and accompanying diarrhoea), peptic ulceration are all indications.
SJW’s has the reputation of opening obstructions and dissolving tumours.
Vervain has a very mixed tradition so that by some authorities it is completely ignored whilst others praise it most highly. It has been used widely as relaxant and antispasmodic with a variety of application such as asthma, and migraine, insomnia, convulsion, and nervous coughing. These traditions are supported by the observation that verbenalin, one of the constituents, has a direct action on smooth muscle tissue, and has potential blood pressure – lowering effect. There is the indication that the aforesaid component acts directly on the nerves of the autonomic system.
Incidentally, vervain is an excellent dental remedy, it has been used for treating infected gums and tooth decay very widely, as also for bad breath and sore throats, this tradition has been supported by the experimental finding that verbenin, a natural product of vervain, has a direct effect on glandular secretions, suggesting an effect on the production of saliva.
From all these tradition it is possible to extract a useful working concept by which to use vervain, one that is backed up by clinical experience recently, in brief, one would suggest its use as a relaxant. Some syndromes that include such a combination of circumstances are migraine and other head aches, spastic colon, eczema, gallstones, intermittent fevers, urinary infections and stones, neuralgic conditions, and a large number of infective conditions leading to fever, this list could be extended if medical , pharmacology , and the science students around the world would have taken further investigations and research on this useful remedy.
Juniper Berries have many traditional uses that are supported by modern practice, but it is as a urinary antiseptic suitable for cystitis and urethritis. Unfortunately, like many many of the others urinary antiseptics in the herbal Materia Medica Juniperus is not universally desirable and long term use is to be avoided. This is usually quite convenient as far as urinary infections are concerned, as satisfaction can often be achieved within six weeks that is the maximum recommended treatment. The problem with Juniperus is that it is irritating on several tissues: if the turpentine – like oil is inhaled it can cause cramps. In particular, it stimulates the uterine muscle; this leads to it use in bringing on a period but it also means that it is an abortifacient and must not be used in pregnancy. In reality, juniper is consumed by thousands daily in their gin and tonics.
The recommended dose, for internal use is 10 g of berries to half liter of water, infuse in the usual way and take wineglassful doses 3 times per day before meals. Juniperus may be used externally in the form of oil , as part of a liniment for neuralgeia , arthritis and mayalgia.
The Antiviral action of Astragalus is most likely due to increased immunity and interferon production. It protects mice against Para influenza virus infection and augments interferon response to viral infection. Astragalus which is a Chinese herb known as Huang QI, has also shown to protect against Coxsackie B virus infection of myocardial cells both in vitro and vivo.
In clinical studies a prophylactic effect on the common cold was found with a decreased incidence and shortened duration of infection.
Astragalus is useful in the prevention of viral infections because of its immunostimulant properties. It is particularly indicated for the treatment of chronic viral infections, especially if debility and spontaneous sweating are also present.
– Eleutherococcus senticosus
Recent research on the effect of Eleutherococcus on the immune system was performed using 36 healthy volunteers. In a placebo controlled double blind study subjects took about 6g of Eleutherococcus per day for four weeks. With the herbal treatment there was a highly significant increase in all lymphocyte compartments, which was specially pronounced for the helper T-lymphocytes. A general enhancement of the activation state of T-lymphocytes was also observed. There were no significant alterations in granulocyte or monocyte numbers as quoted by the authors. This might speculate about positive effect of Eleutherococcus in very early stages of HIV infection by preventing or retarding the spread of the virus.
The medical, Pharmacognosy, and Phytotherapy students are encouraged to effect more research on Eleutherococcus.
Astringent – Antiseptic – Anti inflammatory , Gynaecological remedy , cholinergic , diaphoretic .
Firstly , calendula is a prime wound healer, not having the sheer repairing power of symphytum, but having strong antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties, it has been shown to prevent secondary infections in wounds and certainly helps to staunch bleeding therefore. Moreover, its anti –inflammatory properties commend it for the treatment of skin diseases, and other infective or suppurating conditions. It makes an excellent mouth wash for affection of the gums, mucous memberens and throat. It also makes one of the best vagainal douches for thrush or trichomoniasis or any source of discharge.
The usual dose of 30 gm of dried flowers to half liter of water is quite adequate for most purposes. Such is the lightness of the flower. One cupful is taken three times a day.
Hops are very useful remedy that could easily been considered with relaxant nervous remedies in month 4. The aromatic odour has been shown to relax by direct action at olfactory centers. It relaxes the smooth muscles function at least as much as central nervous activity (good for visceral tension in the body). Hops is most useful for prevention of nervous dyspepsia, nervous colitis, palpitations, Asthma. To conclude it may be said that Hops are superbly suited to reducing higher nervous interference in the affairs of the enteric nervous system and digestion as whole. There are cautions to be observed in the use of hops, notably the rule never to use hops in depression. If one is picking hops, one must remember the problem of toxicity that are found in some hop pickers exposed to massive doses of the aromatic oils:these include fever, excitability, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting.
Chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as ME(myalgic encephalomyelitis), post viral syndrome or “yuppie flu” is a recently identified syndrome for which there is no accepted orthodox treatment. Typically the symptoms arise after a case of what seems like a prolonged flu, with fatigue as the most prominent symptom of the flu. Recent clinical observations of the use of the root of Lematium dissectum suggest that this herb may be valuable for the treatment of CFS and other viral infections. The mechanism of action is not known. Lomatium contains flavonoids, coumarins and tetronic acids. During the influenza epidemic of 1917, a doctor named Ernest Kerbbs noticed the use of lomatium by the Indians, and applied it with success in his own clinical practice.
The leaves of the Phyllanthus contain Lignans are used in India for the treatment of jaundice. As well as hepatoprotective effects phyllanthus inhibits endogenous DNA polymerase of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and binds to the surface antigen of hepatitis B in vitro. The hepatitis B required DNA polymerase for its replication and the action of phyllanthus in inhibiting this enzyme appears to be quite specific to HBV –like viruses.
Considerable interest was generated in 1988 after the publication of study which demonstrated that hypericin and pseudohypericin have noted activity against retroviruses. Retroviruses were relatively obscure group of animal viruses until the discovery last decade that the retrovirus HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) was responsible for causing AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Several pharmacological studies have since been published and clinical trials using hypericin or herb Hypericum have begun.
The salient points of the studies published to date are as follows:
- Hypericin has significantly stronger antiretroviral activity than pseudohypericin.
- Their mode of action on retroviruses is not understood: but it appears they inactivate mouse and human retroviruses, including HIV3.
- They interfere with the assembly or processing of viral components by an infected cell, significantly decreasing the production of mature viral particles, but without directly inhibiting viral proteins.
Such combination of activities appears to be unique and contrasts with currently used antiviretroviral agents such as AZT (azidothymidine) with directly inhibit viral proteins.
- Their antiretroviral activity was superior to AZT in an animal model, because the toxicity of AZT limited the dosage which could be used.
- Their antiretroviral activity was synergistic with AZT in an animal model.
- They prolonged the survival of animals infected with retrovirus if adminstered with or after infection.
- In slow retroviral animal models administration of hypericin or pseudohypericin 2 weeks or more after virus inoculation significantly ameliorated the resultant infection.
- Both compounds appear to have very low in vitro or in vivo toxicity.
- Hypericin and pseudohypericin specifically inhibited PKC (protein kinase C) with hypericin having stronger activity. This suggest that inhibition of PKC, which plays an important role in signal transduction in the cell, may be related to the antiviral effect.
In the safeguarding and development of herbal medicine the voice of the practitioner must be heard. Authorities around the world need to acknowledge the training and skills of traditional healers and of the herbal practitioners since in many instance the practice of herbal medicine offers a low cost and highly effective alternative to orthodox drug treatment. People now firmly believe that ( the whole is better than part) this will call upon physicians , medical , pharmacology, and the science students specially in the least developing countries to know about medicinal herbs because many patients use them and are often guided by misconception or inaccurate information. Whether or not physicians intend to prescribe herbal therapies, it is important that they understand the potential associated health consequences so that they can help patients make informed decision about their use.
In this lecture we tried to review some of commonly used herbs for prevention of diseases, as well as to indicate areas in need of further research, popular interest in herbal therapies is stimulating research that will help clarify issues such as constituents, indications, effective dosage and safety of medicinal uses. Students all over the world are encouraged to carry as much as possible researches on common herbs used in their communities and report the findings to share with professional and medical practitioners.