The magical world of medicinal herbs is in danger! Nature needs help!

Estimated reading time: 5 to 6 minutes

Medicinal herbs are magic. They heal, body and mind. Unluckily humans don’t care. They ignore it and keep destroying the forests by smuggling rare plants to make easy money. Side effects are multiple, like plant extinction. Drastic measures have to be taken now. Read more and learn how you can help nature.

The healing effects of medicinal herbs are ancient known, but human greed can finish this! 

Medicinal herbs and phytotherapeutics are the same?

People usually make mistakes about the meaning of both terms. Many believe they are synonyms. Actually, phytotherapeutics is natural industrialized medicine while medicinal herbs are remedies usually taken "in natura" in many ways, such as teas, compresses, vapors, etc.

Can animals detect the right spot to take healing herbs when sick? 

A study conducted by UNESP, Brazil, showed up a pretty curious theory. When feeling sick some animals go to a specific tree in the Atlantic Forest (Cabreúva) to self-medicate. The tree's leaves have medical substances that heal their diseases. Researchers called this interesting behavior "zoopharmacognosy"., i.e. animal self-medication. For the time being, this theory is subject to further studies to be confirmed.  

A brief history of plants that heal

Plants with healing compounds began to be used for medicinal purposes in prehistoric times. This theory was proven after a Nerdenthal man was exhumed. Eight species of plants were found beside the body, which, after being tested, were shown as medicinal.   

In 3500 BC, the Egyptians recorded their knowledge of diseases and cures on temple walls. Later they recorded more than 700 medicinal formulas with herbs on a papyrus known as "Ebers".

In 2700 BC, the Chinese started using herbs after scientific verification of their healing effects, leaving aside traditional beliefs. 

Hippocrates classified more than 400 herbs given their characteristics and divided them according to their use: hot or cold, wet or dry, etc. Aristotle compiled a list of plants according to their particular healing specifications.

The first Ayurvedic texts on Indian medicine date back to 2500 B.C. The content reveals an absolute truth that remains today: most diseases are due to emotional issues. 

Medicinal herbs nowadays

Early in the 21st century, 11% of the 252 drugs considered "basic and essential" by the World Health Organization are exclusive of floral plant origin. For example, drugs such as codeine, quinine, and morphine, contain ingredients derived from plants. 

Thus, manufactured medicines are still the most consumed nowadays. Tendencies, however, show that herbal remedies soon can change these statistics.  

Herbal medicine also has side effects...

Different from what many people think, herbal medicine consumerism does have side effects on specific patients. For example, they should not be prescribed for babies, children, and pregnant women, and even less if they are breastfeeding.

 In this regard, Dr. Debra Rose Wilson, an American researcher, and professor at Austin Peay State University advises that: "The most prudent when deciding to take medicinal herbs is to consult a professional. This will protect you and avoid taking unnecessary risks. A wrong dosage different than prescribed could result in unpredictable side effects." 

Biopiracy is the new type of crime against fauna and flora! Fight it!

Biopiracy is a felony that many pharmaceutical companies trade rare plants illegally under various coverups!  

Not to mention fake patents those companies may forge to “legalize” medicinal herbs. Social and economic insecurity are the results of such felonies. Figuring out the loss, it is estimated that around 15,000 species of medicinal herbs went extinct so far due to these smugglings.

Fauna/flora illegal traffic worth around US$ 258 billion/year to the black market! It happens mostly because:

  • Lack of trained personnel.
  • Weak monitorization and laws with glitches that are easy to circumvent.
  • Corruption in many ways is still a common practice.
  • Plants trafficking "m.o." follows the same pattern as drug trafficking as it works under the small dealer to the big one’s orders.
  • Business "legalized" because of forgery of patents.

 Nonetheless, those failures can be diminished with these 5 measures:

  1. Environmental education, especially for communities corrupted by the arm of illicit trafficking activity.
  2. Cataloging of all medicinal plant species, especially those threatened with extinction.
  3. Implementation of effective public policies for legal land use, starting with permit requirements and limitations on the maximum amount for harvesting.
  4. Implementation of responsible and sustainable management practices for the commercialization of medicinal plants. 
  5. 24/7 surveillance by the forest guard and satellite monitoring. 


Before any purchase regarding medicinal herbs, do not forget to do deep research on their origins and if they were harvested with care according to the law, If you follow these requirements you are helping many fronts, such as yourself, and the people who live with this job. Furthermore, you are helping Mother Nature!  

By Marco Veado - THINK GREEN