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Herbal Medicine or Herbalism is the study of botany and use of plants intended for medicinal purposes or for supplementing a diet. Plants have been the basis for medical treatments through much of human history, and such traditional medicine is still widely practiced today. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80 percent of the population of some Asian and African countries presently uses herbal medicine for some aspect of primary health care. Pharmaceuticals are prohibitively expensive for most of the world's population. Herbal medicines are growing from seed or gathered from nature for little or no cost. Many of the pharmaceuticals currently available to physicians have a long history of use as herbal remedies, including opium, aspirin, digitalis, and quinine. At least 7,000 medical compounds in the modern pharmacopoeia are derived from plants. Among the 120 active compounds currently isolated from the higher plants and widely used in modern medicine today.
Alternative medicine is defined loosely as a set of products, practices, and theories that are believed or perceived by their users to have the healing effects of medicine. Biomedicine is that part of medical science that applies principles of biology, physiology, molecular biology, biophysics, and other natural sciences to clinical practice, using scientific methods to establish the effectiveness of that practice. Alternative product or practice does not originate from using scientific methods but may instead be based on hearsay, religion, tradition, superstition, and belief in supernatural energies, pseudoscience, errors in reasoning, propaganda, fraud, or other unscientific sources. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that alternative medicine is a set of health care practices that are not part of that country's own tradition and are not integrated into the dominant health care system.
Pharmacognosy is the study of drugs of natural origin. It is the study of the physical, chemical, biochemical and biological properties of drugs, drug substances or potential drugs or drug substances of natural origin as well as the search for new drugs from natural sources. Plant preparations are said to be medicinal or herbal when they are used to promote health beyond basic nutrition. The study of drugs from plants includes the subjects of botany, chemistry and pharmacology. Botany includes the identification taxonomy, genetics, and cultivation of plants. Chemical characterization of includes the isolation, identification and quantification of constituents in plant materials. Pharmacology is the study of the biological effects that the chemicals in medicinal plants have on cell cultures, animals and humans. The renaissance of herbal medicine creates a demand for studies in the field of pharmacognosy which includes quality control identity, purity, consistency, efficacy therapeutic indications, clinical studies, pharmacological investigations, and safety issues like adverse reactions, drug interactions, contraindications, precautions.
Acupuncture is believed to have originated around 100 BC in China around the time. Acupuncture is generally safe when done by an appropriately trained practitioner using clean needle technique and single-use needles. When properly delivered it has a low rate of mostly minor adverse effects. Accidents and infections are associated with infractions of sterile technique or neglect of the practitioner. The most frequently reported adverse events were pneumothorax and infections. Scientific investigation has not found any histological or physiological evidence for traditional Chinese concepts such as qi, meridians, and acupuncture points, and many modern practitioners no longer support the existence of life force energy qi flowing through meridians, which was a major part of early belief systems.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) involves the study of traditional medicine built on a foundation of more than 2,500 years of Chinese medical practice that includes various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage tui na, exercise qigong, and dietary therapy. Traditional Chinese Medicine is widely used in Greater China where it has long been the standard system of medicine, and is becoming increasingly popular and recognized worldwide where it is primarily approached as alternative medicine. One of the basic tenets of Traditional Chinese Medicine is that the body's vital energy ch'i or qi circulates through channels, called meridians that have branches connected to bodily organs and functions. Concepts of the body and of disease used in Traditional Chinese Medicine reflect its ancient origins and its emphasis on dynamic processes over material structure, similar to European humoral theory.
Holistic medicine is the art and science of healing that addresses the whole person including body, mind, and spirit. The practice of holistic medicine integrates conventional and alternative therapies to prevent and treat disease, and most importantly to promote optimal health. This condition of holistic health is defined as the unlimited and unimpeded free flow of life force energy through body, mind, and spirit. Holistic medicine encompasses all safe and appropriate modalities of diagnosis and treatment. It includes analysis of physical, nutritional, environmental, emotional, and spiritual and lifestyle elements. Holistic medicine focuses upon patient education and participation in the healing process. Holistic medicine embraces a variety of safe, effective options in the diagnosis and treatment, including complementary alternatives; and conventional drugs and surgery.
Physiotherapy is one of the allied health professions that by using mechanical force and movements, bio-mechanics or kinesiology, manual therapy, exercise therapy, and electrotherapy, remediates impairments and promotes mobility and function. Physical therapy is used to improve a patient's quality of life through examination, diagnosis, prognosis, physical intervention, and patient education. In addition to clinical practice, other activities encompassed in the physical therapy profession include research, education, consultation and administration. Physiotherapy services may be provided as primary care treatment or alongside, or in conjunction with, other medical services. Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. There is a broad variety of yoga schools, practices, and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Among the most well-known types of yoga are Hatha yoga and Raja yoga. Many studies have tried to determine the effectiveness of yoga as a complementary intervention for cancer, schizophrenia, asthma, and heart disease. The results of these studies have been mixed and inconclusive. On December 1, 2016, yoga was listed by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage.
Traditional Systems of medicinal Disciplines always played important role in meeting the global health care needs. They are continuing to do so at present and shall play major role in future also. The system of medicines which are considered to be Indian in origin or the systems of medicine which have come to India from outside and got assimilated into Indian culture play an important role in maintaining the good health of people across the world such as ayurveda, siddha, unani and yoga, naturopathy and homoeopathy. Apart from these systems there are large number of healers in the folklore stream who have not been organized under any category.
Phytochemistry of Traditional Medicines deals with phytotherapeuticals and dietary supplements which are based on quality, safety, efficacy, and consistency (QSEC). Evidence relating to each of those facets of a plant-based medicine is being hampered by a certain myths. While these myths are both powerful and persistent, they must be debunked for significant progress to be made in enhancing integrated global health care. The research will examine these myths and the roles that phytochemistry should play in this process. Some examples of the use of the new strategies will be presented from the contemporary literature together with a brief summary of a clinical trial of a traditional medicine treatment for obesity, and a summary of activities in the European Union to address issues related to the approval and marketing of traditional medicines.
Homeopathy is said to be not a plausible system of treatment as its dogmas about how drugs, illness, the human body, liquids and solutions operate are contradicted by a wide range of discoveries across biology, psychology, physics and chemistry made during the last two centuries since its invention. Although some clinical trials produce positive results multiple systematic reviews have indicated that this is because of chance, flawed research methods, and reporting bias. Homeopathic practice has been criticized as unethical because it discourages the use of effective treatments with the World Health Organization warning against using homeopathy to try to treat severe diseases such as HIV and malaria. The continued practice of homeopathy, despite a lack of evidence of efficacy has led to it being characterized within the scientific and medical communities as nonsense, quackery, and a sham. Yet Homeopathy has gained popularity with the masses around the world.
Indigenous and Tribal Medicines have their own place in the history of medicine despite lacking scientific efficacy. In some Asian and African countries up to 80% of the population relies on traditional medicine for their primary health care needs. When adopted outside its traditional culture, traditional medicine is often considered a form of alternative medicine. Practices known as traditional medicines include Traditional European Medicine (TEM), Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Traditional Korean Medicine (TKM), Traditional African Medicine, (TAM), Ayurveda, Siddha medicine, Unani, ancient Iranian medicine, Iranian (Persian), Islamic medicine, Muti, and Ifá. Scientific disciplines which study traditional medicine include herbalism, ethnomedicine, ethnobotany, and medical anthropology. During various field surveys in forest areas and adjoining villages, villagers were consulted about their primary method of treatment during illness. Practitioner of herbal medicines who are experts in treating in general different ailments and who are also expert in different methods of treatment were consulted for getting some firsthand data. The herbalists consulted were convinced about the importance of documentation of ethnic knowledge about the medicinal plants used in various curative purposes.
Unani deals with the studies concerning Unani medicine, management of any disease depends upon the diagnosis of disease. In the diagnosis, clinical features such as signs, symptoms, laboratory features and mizaj or temperament are important. Any cause or factor is countered by Quwwat-e-Mudabbira-e-Badan or the power of body responsible to maintain health, the failing of which may lead to quantitatively or qualitatively derangement of the normal equilibrium of akhlat or humors of body which constitute the tissues and organs. This abnormal humor leads to pathological changes in the tissues anatomically and physiologically at the affected site and exhibits the clinical manifestations. After diagnosing the disease, Usoole Ilaj or principle of management of disease is determined on the basis of etiology in the following pattern such as Izalae Sabab or elimination of cause, Tadeele Akhlat or normalization of humors or Tadeele Aza or normalization of tissues/organs.
Research Practices in Traditional Medicines has brought more popularity of these traditional medicines around the world. The research done on Traditional Medicines and difficulties encountered in researching traditional medicines, especially when an attempt is made to conform to the model for conventional medicine. The research on traditional medicines comprises experimental, quasiexperimental, reviews, descriptive, historical, interviews, case histories, and abstracts documentation etc. The research on TM is more acceptable and useful with the ultimate goal of integrating traditional medicines into mainstream healthcare with sufficient knowledge about the efficacy, safety, and mechanism of action of traditional medicines systems. Traditional Medicines are classified into three categories such as
Codified medical systems, Folk medicine, and allied forms of health knowledge. Codified medical systems include Ayurveda, Siddha, and Unani in the Indian subcontinent and traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture in China. These medical traditions have a unique understanding of physiology, pathogenesis, pharmacology, and pharmaceuticals which are different from Western biomedicine Perhaps because of this systematic approach these medical systems have been professionalized within the last millennia. According to World Health Organization some of the major policy challenges include safety, efficacy, quality, and rational use of traditional medicines.
Medicinal & Aromatic Plants (MAPs) are botanical raw materials also known as herbal drugs that are primarily used for therapeutic, aromatic and or culinary purposes as components of cosmetics, medicinal products, health foods and other natural health products. They are also the starting materials for value-added processed natural ingredients such as essential oils, dry and liquid extracts and oleoresins. There is a clear industrial demand for medicinal & aromatic plants (MAPs) thanks to the increased production of herbal health care formulations; herbal based cosmetic products and herbal nutritional supplements. Traditional health care practitioners, traditional healers and consumption at the household level have also contributed to the demand for herbal medicinal products. Finished products made from medicinal and aromatic plants are increasingly prescribed and bought over the counter.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine is a growing segment of the U.S. healthcare system. Every year 38 million Americans receive more than 300 million complementary and alternative medicines treatments. On average insurance coverage for complementary and alternative medicines treatments depends on several factors like state mandates your health insurance company, and the local licensure or certification of complementary and alternative medicines practitioners. Most plans at the moment limit coverage to specific conditions as well as the number of visits you can make to a practitioner each year. A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage should not discriminate with respect to participation under the plan or coverage against any health care provider who is acting within the scope of that provider's license or certification under applicable State Laws. This clause gets you an insurance coverage if your visits are to licensed CAM practitioners like acupuncturists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and naturopathic doctors.
Safety is a fundamental principle in the provision of herbal medicines and herbal products for health care, and a critical component of quality control. These guidelines provide practical technical guidance for monitoring the safety of herbal medicines within pharmacovigilance systems. The safety monitoring of herbal medicines is compared and contrasted with that of other medicines currently undertaken in the context of World Health Organization International Drug Monitoring Programme. While there are regulatory and cultural differences in the preparation and use of different types of medicines they are all equally important from a pharmacovigilance perspective. The guidelines were developed with the view that within current pharmacovigilance systems, monitoring of the safety of medicines should be enhanced and broadened in ways that will allow the successful monitoring of herbal medicines.
The use of traditional bonesetters to treat musculoskeletal injuries is also widespread in developing nations particularly in Africa, Asia and South America. Traditional bonesetters provide from 70-90% of the fracture care in certain areas around the world. The coexistence of traditional bonesetters and orthopedic care for fractures provides an opportunity to learn about the potential strengths and limitations of each method and to examine opportunities for cultural synthesis and collaboration. To investigate whether topical agents of herbal origin used in Traditional Chinese Medicine have real biological effects on limb swelling andissue healing, formation of an innovative formula was achieved through a literature screening of over 200 herbs. The herbs selected have been reported to be anti-inflammatory, promoting circulation and supporting tissue/bone healing. In vitro and in vivo tests were done to investigate the biological effects of the herbs.