The term phytotherapy, used by French physician Henri Lenclerc (1870-1953) for the first time in the medical journal La Presce, is consisted of two main words: phyton = plant, therapia = to treat. Therefore it means “treatment with plants”.
Phytotherapy is one of the oldest known natural treatment methods in the history of mankind. In all continents and cultures, people used medicinal plants to treat their diseases. The biggest difference between the phytotherapy applications in the past and the present is that, in the past whole plant was used but now only beneficial parts of these plants are used. For example in the past to get benefits of the essence of a plant, an infusion was prepared, whereas in the present essential oil is extracted from the plant for the same purpose. This makes it possible to avoid the useless parts of the plant, which may also have side effects on the patient.
World Health Organization (WHO) accredited phytotherapy as a treatment method in 1980.
Studies conducted by National Cancer Institute of America shows that people believe in phytotherapy according to these data:
- 37,500 of the 53,000 substances investigated in the last 10 years are plants
- 40% of the drugs defined has herbal origin
- %50 of the drugs prescribed in US are herbal drugs
- The 7th best-seller prescribed drug in Germany is a licensed Hypericum perforatum preparation