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Phytotherapy (herbs) Explained

Herbs have always been man’s medicine. Chinese medicine going back 5,000 years and Egyptian history form 1,600 BC lists many plant, animal and inorganic remedies. For example Coriander and Fennel

For the past 50 years modern science has given us a vey deeper insight into how the body works and with more sophisticated methods of investigations available. Whereas the use of herbs in the past has been largely experimental, we are now able to identify the active components of each herb and together with the new understanding of human physiology are able to explain why and how these herbs work. Pharmaceutical companies use random screening which involves thousands of plant constituents being isolated and fed through special receptor screens designed to mimic a situation or disease process in the body until a ‘hit’ is made

There are some herbs which can qualify as a food or a medicine, or both, depending on the intent of the user. For example, garlic when used in cooking is obviously a food. When it is used to control hypertension or help lower cholesterol levels, it has to be considered a ‘plant drug’.

Classification of Different Phototherapeutic Agents

Gentle Intermediate Powerful

Heart disease: Hawthorne Lily of the valley Digitalis

Gastrointestinal: Chamomile Liquorice Belladonna

Nervous system: Valerian Hypericum Opium/morphine (St. John’s Wort)



Garlic, (ginkgo not sold in Ireland) Directly anti-atherosclerotic

Fenugreek, garlic, guggul, psyllium Cholesterol-lowering

Green tea Block oxidation of cholesterol

Garlic, ginger, ginkgo, turmeric Decrease excessive platelet stickiness

Butcher’s broom, ginkgo, rosemary Circulatory stimulant

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