Plants contain many nutrients and an innate intelligence to offer the human body. Plant-based medicine was the foundation of ancient medicas that protected and healed communities for over 7,000 years and evolved into what is known today as phytotherapy.
Phytotherapy is the grouping of active ingredients in medications which are derived from a plant-based origin (based on the definition from the National Agency of Safety for Drugs and Health Products [ANSM - French Agency]).
While “alternative medicine" is usually considered to be a supplement, they can be taken without a prescription, are relatively safe, and are used by doctors in the US as supplemental therapeutic tools. Medicinal plants, when used at the right dosage, does not interfere with the physiology of the human body, but rather supports the harmony of the various systems in the body.
Plant-based medicinal preparations need to have a minimum 10 year historical use in France and or Europe to become qualified for AMM status, (AMM, issued by ANSM in France is the official agency that authorizes the sales of all medication, including herbal preparations). Medicinal preparations that do not meet these criteria, but meet the criteria for traditional use (historical recorded use for at least 30 years and at least 15 years of use in the EU) are granted status as a traditional herbal medicine.
Home apothecary, an economical medicine
Herbal medicine now steals the spotlight during the turn of modernity. By basing modern herbal medicine off our knowledge of conventional science, we have a promising future of medicine with incredible results at a much lower cost.
In France, 40% of the population uses natural medicine and 83% of pharmacists have experienced a greater demand for natural solutions to various medical issues over the years. Most pharmacies in France have a department dedicated to natural medicine and plant-based medicinal preparations.
The Future of Medicine
Large companies are diversifying their efforts by investmenting in plant-based medical alternatives, which further helps to enable innovation and rapid growth of natural medical alternatives. Bayer HeathCare is one example - Bayer Consumer Care, the company’s division dedicated to family medicine, which includes herbal products, experienced strong growth of 4% in 2014 in a market of 0.9%. Nutrition, a sector also rich in herbal products, represents their second market. Bayer also claims to have the “number 1” in herbal medicine specialties on stress and minor sleeping disorders with Euphytosis. In less than 10 years, Bayer Consumer Care has achieved the second to top place in the world with the ambition to "become a leader in the field of self-medication."