From Hildegard von Bingen to Evidence-Based Phytotherapy: Insight into Herbal Remedies for Infectious DiseasesJournal: Acta Microbiologica Bulgarica (Vol.34, No. 4)
Publication Date: 2018-12-01
Plants represent the oldest source of pharmacotherapy used by mankind. The medical use of plants strongly evolved over time, being integrated in cultural, philosophical, astrological or mystical systems. Several studies have shown correlations between modern herbal use and the claims provided by ancient European authors like the medieval abbess Hildegard von Bingen or the notorious English herbalist Nicholas Culpeper or by traditional systems (Arabic, Indian, Chinese). About 80% of the population living in the developing countries uses nowadays herbal medicine for treatment. In the developed countries, the current “bio” trend of replacing synthetic drugs with phytotherapy has led to a constant rise of the sales figures of herbal medicines. So far, only a few controlled clinical trials of antibacterial herbal medicines have been published, most of them being methodologically weak. Opening new horizons for the exploration of natural healing sources should be done from the perspectives of safety and efficacy. There is an obvious need for standardization of materials, methods and measures for preparation, preservation and administration of herbal drugs. It is time for the fundamental principles and approaches of the traditional systems to acquire a solid scientific validation. The development of evidence-based phytotherapy will be of much help in the process of evolving from an ideological overestimation of the power of nature to a scientifically proved option for the treatment of many disorders, including infectious diseases.
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