Phytotherapy – 11 Most Important Terms

Phytotherapy – 11 Most Important Terms
12/01/2015 Margarida Moreira

Phytotherapy is a therapeutic method that uses plants, more exactly, the active part of the plants.
Its origin has been know since ancient times, proven by Archaeology has revealed texts with more than 4000 years, describing properties of medicinal plants.

The most basic and most important terms in herbal medicine (phytotherapy) are:

Decoction: extraction of active principles of a vegetal substance by more or less prolonged contact with a boiling liquid (the plants are kept in boiling water).

Herbal tea: plants are put into hot water (boiled or not) in a covered container.

Maceration: the substance is left in contact with the liquid used to dissolve the active ingredient at room temperature.

Tisane: little loaded drink of active ingredients from a decoction, maceration or herbal infusion, usually with medicinal application.

Cryo-grinding: the process is to spray dry an active part of the plant to cold grinding under liquid nitrogen at -196ºC. It is obtained thereby a perfectly homogeneous and fine powder (integral powder). The cold is used because under the action of heat vitamins, enzymes, volatile substances and many active ingredients are damaged, which does not happen with the cryo-grinding

Cataplasm: prepared for external use obtained by decoction or infusion, diluted to form a smooth paste.

Contusion: the substance is placed in a mortar and pounded until it becomes a powder or paste.

Filtration: the substance is filtered through a filter paper cone.

Tincture: is alcohol or ether that result from plant substances, animal or mineral.

Torrefaction: This operation removes the water of substances and submit them to a principle of decay heat that modifies some of its properties.

Medicinal wines: preparations resulting from the solvent action of the wine on the substances.

KRAPP, K. [et al.]. Manual de medicinas complementares. Barcelona; Loures; Porto: Oceano: Crerital: Nova Variante, [2004]. [VIII], Original title: The gale encyclopedia of alternative medicine

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