Some people are hooked on healing brought by ancient practice such as jade rollers, meditation, yoga, and even astrology. They like going back to trying old methods of healing despite all the modern technology science brings. They are seeking wisdom in wanting to connect with nature and finding the essence of their humanity.
Even our scientists of today continue working to discover how they can combine modern technology with the ancient practice for the advancement of the medical field. That then led to the creation of a new branch of science, ethnopharmacology, which focuses on the study of traditional medicine.
In 2015, the Nobel Prize was awarded for discovering a medicine from ancient herbal recipes.
Dr. Tu Youyou, along with other Chinese scientists, discovered the anti-malarial artemisinin from wormwood. This drug has saved millions of lives around the world for 40 years.
Opium morphine, codeine, and heroin all come from the opium poppy plant. Such drugs are all used as narcotics.
Quinine drugs are used to cure malaria and babesiosis is derived from the cinchona tree.
Digoxin is found in every part of the plant foxglove – the leaves, flowers, nectar, sap, and seeds.
Aside from the drugs mentioned above that are extracted from plants, there are more that have been used since the ancient times that are widely used and have been very helpful in saving lives in our modern times.
Milkweed (also knowns as petty spurge), is used for the treatment of warts as described by an ancient herbalist and botanist, Nicolas Culpeper. Though it can cure warts, it can also cause irritation if you are not knowledgeable on how to use it.
Subsequently, in 1997, Dr. Alyward found an active component, ingenol mebutate, that he discovered was toxic to quickly duplicating human tissue. Moreover, most recently, clinical trials derived gel from milkweed sap that is said to be effective in preventing lesions from developing into skin cancer.
Leeches were popularly used and considered as a more improved method of bloodletting which has become a big business in 1830 in Europe. They were also used to treat many ailments. However, due to advances in rational science, the use of leeches as a method of bloodletting was set aside. Then with the recent modernization in the field of surgery, leeches are now back in the laboratory. Some hospitals like University College London Hospitals use leeches in draining excess blood post microsurgery. This method helps promote natural healing.
Leeches can also be used for the postoperative care of skin grafts. It generates the protein that prevents blood clotting and provides time for the small veins to knit themselves back together.
A farm located in Wales supplies tens of thousands of medicinal leeches to different hospitals all over the world, making Wales the center for leech therapy.
The Willow tree bark was used during Ancient Egypt and also by Hippocrates to relieve pain. However, it was in 1915 when Bayer, a giant pharmaceutical company, began selling it as over-the-counter aspirin, and used not only as a painkiller but also to reduce the risk of strokes and help prevent cancer.
Snowdrops are where galantamine is extracted from. Galantamine is a supplement, and the only remedy found yet that can aid dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The drug was first separated from snowdrop in the early 1950s by a Bulgarian pharmacologist and was officially approved for use as a drug in Bulgaria in 1958.
Ancient healing with the use of medicinal plants may have saved many lives in our modern times, but using it to self-medicate is not safe. It cannot work just by simply extracting the active ingredients from these plants. It can save lives when used appropriately but can also pose harm if not handled correctly by experts because it can also be poisonous.