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Phytotherapy; Improving Your Health And Skin The All Natural Organic Way

Updated on September 14, 2015

Medicinal use of plants is known as phytotherapy. The Greek term means "to heal with plants" and has been practiced for hundreds of thousands of years. Anything that contains plant material can be considered phytotherapy. Some of the various materials that are considered plant material are:

  • Dried flowers
  • Leaves
  • Stems
  • Seeds
  • Bark
  • Fruit or Roots of plants
  • The extracts of plant material

A Brief History of Phytotherapy

Astoundingly, phytotherapy is the world's oldest form of therapy, but not many know what it is. It is a fact that every known civilization relied on some form of phytotherapy. The ancient Chinese used antibacterial ingredients like cinnamon, pepper and ginger to treat colds and flu. The first Egyptians relied on garlic and onion for the very same thing. They also used various herbal preparations for skin care and embalming.

In modern times, a great amount of study has been done on the healing properties of plants. Researchers have identified active components in different plants. Such discoveries have helped scientists develop drugs such as aspirin, which is based on the analgesic of the white willow; the painkiller morphine, which is based on the properties of a certain poppy.

The most recent findings of the last few years include glycolic acid, which is derived from sugar cane, and kinetin, which is a plant component that is used to treat and prevent sun damage.

How Exactly Does Phytotherapy Work?

Organic compounds with medicinal attributes, such as alkaloids and glucosides, give plants their healing powers. These chemicals are known as active ingredients. Each plant has its own active ingredient that gives it its own unique benefit. Whether used medicinally or esthetically, plant ingredients usually provide one or more of the following therapeutic qualities:

  • Stimulation
  • Moisturization
  • Astringency
  • Soothe
  • Heal
  • Have antiseptic qualities
  • Have analgesic qualities
  • Have anti-inflammatory qualities
  • Have antioxidant qualities

Phytotherapy works to prevent health concerns. Modern conventional medicine only treats symptoms, not the underlying issue. Phytotherapy works at the root of the problem and often beforehand, preventing such issues.

Phytotherapy Ingredient
Brief Description
Therapeutic Qualities
Almond Meal
increased energy, recommend breakfasting on 10 almonds
soothing; exfoliating
Apple Extract
also known as Malic Acid, one of the alpha hydroxy acids
Antiseptic; exfoliating, stimulating
Apricot
yield as an essential oil which contains Amygdalin, a powerful moisturizer
moisturizing; healing
Arnica
increasingly popular for platic surgeons in the US, they prescribe Arnica before and after surgery to reduce swelling and bruising
Anti-inflammatory; analgesic, antiseptic, stimulating
Avocado
rich in protein, vitamins A, B and C; wealth of fatty acids
moisturizing; soothing, healing
Bayberry
the root bark is what is used in topical preps
antiseptic; antimicrobial, stimulating, diuretic, astringent
Black Walnut
high in tannin and iodine
Antiseptic; antimicrobial, astringent
Butcher's Broom
common in Germany, where it is used to treat venuous conditions like varicose veins and hemorrhoids
Anti-inflammatory; astringent
Calendula
also known as Marigold; were once dried and made into a broth for treatment against depression
Anti-inflammatory; healing, soothing
Cayenne
also known as Capsicum
Analgesic; anti-inflammatory, stimulating
Castor
small annual plant; seeds were an important item of commerce in ancient Egypt
Moisturizing; healing, soothing
Cocoa Butter
comes from cocoa tree, just like chocolate
Moisturizing; healing, antioxidant
Ginkgo Biloba
prescribed to treat dementia; enhances memory
Stimulating; antioxidant, anti-inflammatory
Green Tea
drink attributed with help warding off cancer and heart disease
Antioxidant; healing
Heather
small, branched shrub, its flowering tips are the parts of the plants most commonly used
Antiseptic; diuretic, anti-inflammatory
Hops
used in brewing to prevent bacterial action; related to marijuana
Astringent; soothing
Horse Chestnut
treats various venous problems, including vericose veins, venous ulcers, hemorrhoids, and frostbite
Anti-inflammatory; stimulating, diuretic
Lady's Mantle
reduce heavy menstrual bleeding, and relieve menstrual cramps
Healing; astringent, antiseptic
Mint
in Ancient Athens it was used as a perfume; greatest power to overcome smell of tobacco
Stimulating; antiseptic
Oak
Oak's bark is what is used
Astringent; stimulating, antiseptic, exfoliating
Oregano
medicinal plant cultivated by early New England settlers
Antiseptic; antimicrobial, healing, stimulating
Parsley
Parsley is associated with Persephone, queen of the underworld
Stimulating; diuretic
Peppermint
helps to relieve nausea
Stimulating; healing, diuretic, antiseptic, analgesic
Saint John's Wort
in the Middle Ages, Saint John's Wort was ued to treat insanity; used for depression
Healing; moisturizing, soothing, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory
Shikakai
type of Acacia tree native to Burma and India
Antiseptic; astringent, stimulating
Thyme
often used to treat headaches, insomnia, and other stress related ailments
Stimulating; antimicrobial, antiseptic
Witch Hazel
Native North America people used poutices of Witch Hazel to treat tumors and inflammations; women use to take to alleviate heavy menstrual bleeding
Antiseptic; astringent
Willow
Willow Bark was used as early aspirin
Analgesic; antiseptic, exfoliating, anti-inflammatory

For some of the best organic and all natural facial masks, please click here to my other article. Enjoy!

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    • ChristinaDawnS profile image
      Author

      ChristinaDawnG 2 years ago

      Thank you Laura! And Thank You Ainya!

    • Laura Sumner profile image

      Laura 2 years ago from Bucharest

      Awesome! I like your article Christina :)

    • profile image

      Ainya 2 years ago

      Useful information! I always wondered what phytotherapy really was. Thanks Christina! Love the way you write btw! ^_^

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