Essential medicines from plants are natural substances that help to treat illnesses. These compounds are found in various plants and their therapeutic actions are explored in this article.
What Compounds are Found in plants?
Compounds found in plants have been used throughout history as medicines. In fact, more than 100 medications have their roots in plants. These compounds can be isolated and synthesised through several methods, including plant cell culture. In addition, many of these substances are found in dietary supplements.
Plants contain thousands of compounds called phytochemicals, which have pharmacological properties. They play several important roles in plant growth, including attracting beneficial insects and protecting the plant against ultraviolet radiation.
They also provide colours and flavour to the food we eat. Phytochemicals are natural compounds that are unique to plants. They act on a variety of receptors and can disrupt the progression of disease or pathogenic life cycles. Some of these compounds can even be used to fight various body disorders.
Phytochemicals, or natural plant chemicals, play important roles in human health. These compounds are classified into four main categories: polyphenols, terpenoids, alkaloids, and phytosterols. Of these, polyphenols are the most studied and recognized phytochemicals. They contain a wide variety of anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial activities. Furthermore, they are powerful antioxidants.
The use of plants as medicines has a long history. They provide the inspiration for many modern medicines. Some of the most commonly used medicines are derived from plants, including antibiotics, anti-inflammatory agents, and analgesics. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a Model List of Essential Medicines that includes medicinal plants. However, this list does not include all plants that are known to have medicinal properties. (1)
What Therapeutic Actions do Plants have?
Essential medicines from plants have a wide variety of therapeutic actions and have been used by humans for centuries. Many of these plants contain compounds called alkaloids, which are derived from lysergic acid. Some fungi, such as fungi found in the earth, also contain alkaloids. Pteridophytes contain numerous alkaloids, such as lycopodium and ephedra. Gynosperms also contain alkaloids, such as Taxus.
Plants are integral to global healthcare systems as sources of traditional medicines and pharmaceuticals. They also have cultural and social significance. However, the global demand for these natural products is now threatening the survival of many species and contributing to biodiversity loss. As a result, it is important to conserve plant biodiversity.
Researchers have discovered that medicinal plants contain a wide range of compounds. Molecular characterization of these compounds is crucial for understanding how they exert their therapeutic effects. (2)
The vast majority of plant-derived natural products have been isolated, but the molecular mechanisms underlying their therapeutic effects have not yet been elucidated. Despite these advances, more research is needed to understand the molecular basis of herbal medicine.
The use of herbs as medicines is based on the science of plant chemistry. The more we learn about the chemical makeup of plants, the more we can learn about the properties of the plants themselves. Modern chemistry has identified the primary metabolites of plants and the roles they play in basic life processes. These compounds include proteins, nucleic acids, and polysaccharides.
How Does Plant Based Therapy Fall into Modern medicine?
Many people who suffer from mild to moderate illnesses or multiple conditions will turn to plant-based medicine as a first-choice therapy. (3)
Numerous surveys have shown a strong correlation between the use of herbal medicines and factors like age, sex and education as well as socio-economic status and unsuccessful conventional therapies. Plant-based therapies have become more popular in naturalistic circles due to their adaptogenic properties and lack of harmful side effects. Plant-based medicine has been increasing in popularity over the years. (4)
In the present day, it is vital to improve the availability of essential medicines from plants. In developing countries, the availability of medicines is often low. It is estimated that about 60% of the global population depends on medicinal plants for health care. A primary reason for this practice is that many of the plants used in traditional medicine are readily available and inexpensive.
The use of medicinal plants for human health has increased in recent years. Scientists are now studying the phytochemicals found in these plants and developing drugs that will treat common ailments. The researchers in this study evaluated electronic databases and reviewed the literature on medicinal plants. The results revealed that 46 species of plants were used for various ailments.
The use of plants for health-related purposes has a long history. People have used different parts of plants for different ailments, from pain to fever, to treat symptoms and restore health. While modern orthodox medicine considers herbal medicines as alternative medicine, most of the pharmaceutical products we take today are derived from plants. Examples include aspirin, quinine, opium, and digitalis. Modern medicines also incorporate active compounds isolated from plants, and there is a strong correlation between the use of these compounds and their traditional uses.
What is Cannabis Sativa?
Cannabis Sativa a plant, is also known as hemp or “weed” and has many uses in medicine, food, agriculture, and cosmetics. Cannabinoid is the psychoactive and physiologically-active part of the cannabis plant. It can be found in large amounts in the flowers but in lesser quantities in the leaves, stems and seeds. Terpenes are the most abundant phytochemicals in the plant. The plants are rich in cannabinoids, which have been shown to be antioxidants, antibacterial, anticancer, and antiinflammatory agents. The compounds found in these plants are also reported to have applications in food and cosmetics industries. (5)
The flowers and leaves of the plant have a distinct aroma. Its extracts contain a variety of beneficial flavonoids and terpenes as well as other compounds which are effective insecticides and fungicides. (6). It has been found that the flower, leaves and oil of this plant are cytotoxic, antioxidants, antihypertensive and antipyretic. (7) Flower extracts with antioxidant properties have shown to have anti-aging and health-promoting properties. They are used to treat metabolic and chronic diseases such as glaucoma and pain. (8)
The Importance of Conserving our Plant Species
Medicinal plants have a central role in health care around the world. However, many species are threatened with extinction. These threats range from habitat loss to alien invasive species to over-collection. To address these issues, 60 international medicinal plant experts recently met in Toyama, Japan. (9) This city is a centre for traditional medicine and pharmaceutical production in Japan. The Toyama Prefecture and Toyama University sponsored the meeting.
In addition, the study will address the perception of the local population regarding the conservation status of these species. This perception may be different from the actual conservation status of these species. People may use certain species only on a frequent basis, and their consumption may not pose a threat to conservation. The results of the study are expected to provide new insight into the conservation status of these plants.
Today, a variety of scientific developments have made it possible to explore the medicinal properties of plants and fungi. This new knowledge offers a renewed hope for protecting these natural products while revealing new sustainable approaches to their development and production.
Whilst plant based medicines such as Cannabis have many therapeutic applications with compounds that include antioxidants, cytotoxic substances, antibacterial, antifungal agents, anticancer and antidiarrheal properties, as well as anticancer, neuroprotective and hepatoprotective. It is necessary to undertake usage under the strictest of guidelines by your Doctor.
CannaTelehealth, specialises in providing online consultations for various healthcare needs, including assistance with alcohol addiction. Our platform is designed to facilitate the use of advanced telehealth technology by medical professionals, ensuring the security and privacy of patient information in compliance with regulations.
We have developed an online system that simplifies the process of booking appointments with qualified and experienced General Practitioners, Nurse Practitioners, who can assist patients in accessing prescriptions for Medicinal Cannabis for their medical conditions. Our telehealth system is fully supported by our clinical team, guaranteeing that all consultations are conducted by appropriately qualified healthcare professionals.
Our doctors are authorised to prescribe Medicinal Cannabis under Schedule 8 of the Therapeutic Goods Act. In the initial consultation, your nurse or doctor will collaborate with you to determine the suitability of Medicinal Cannabis for your specific symptoms and conditions. If deemed appropriate, they will then apply for TGA approval for your electronic prescription, which can be presented at your pharmacy of choice.
Medical Cannabis Doctors Online Treatment and Consults
CannaTelehealth’s doctors have extensive experience in assessing patients for medicinal cannabis. Prior to having an online consultation with our healthcare professionals it is a good idea to write down your questions before your consultation so that you don’t forget them.
Our doctors will review your medical history and confirm that you meet the criteria for a medicinal cannabis prescription under the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Special Access Scheme. We will then either prescribe medication through the Authorised Prescriber pathway or submit your application to the TGA and you should receive your product within 2 business days.
All our doctors are trained under the TGA authorised prescriber scheme and have detailed knowledge of how cannabis affects the body. Our doctors are also able to recommend the best dosage and type of cannabis for your condition. Our doctors are able to prescribe all forms of medicinal cannabis including capsules, tinctures, sprays and vape cartridges.
The cost of your medical cannabis will vary depending on your condition and the specific product that is recommended for you.
Our clinic offers bulk billing for patients who have been approved by the DVA. This is worth checking for your eligibility criteria for this discounted online consultation.
Book a consultation – Follow the simple steps to engaging with an online health professional who will assess your eligibility for alternative treatments such as medicinal cannabis and what might be the cause of your chronic pain.
To contact us at CannaTelehealth you can either go directly to the website and add your details directly to our ‘Contact Us Form’ We will contact you within 1 hour. Normally our online healthcare professionals who are pain medicine specialists will have a booking time within 1 day if suitable. Alternatively you may contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Therapeutic effects of herbal-medicine combined therapy for COVID-19: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials Tsai-Ju Chien, 1 , 2 ,* Chia-Yu Liu, 2 Yuan-I Chang, 3 Ching-Ju Fang, 4 , 5 Juo-Hsiang Pai, 1 Yu-Xuan Wu, 3 and Shuoh-Wen Chen 3 Journal List Front Pharmacol PMC9475194
- Welz AN, Emberger-Klein A, Menrad K. Why people use herbal medicine: insights from a focus-group study in Germany. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2018. March;18(1):92
- Thomson P, Jones J, Browne M, Leslie SJ. Psychosocial factors that predict why people use complementary and alternative medicine and continue with its use: a population based study. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2014. November;20(4):302–10.
- Cannabis: a multifaceted plant with endless potentials Eric Fordjour, 1 , 2 ,* Charles F. Manful, 1 Albert A. Sey, 1 Rabia Javed, 1 Thu Huong Pham, 1 Raymond Thomas, 2 and Mumtaz Cheema 1 ,*Front Pharmacol. 2023; 14: 1200269.
- Pellati F., Borgonetti V., Brighenti V., Biagi M., Benvenuti S., Corsi L. (2018). Cannabis sativa L. And nonpsychoactive cannabinoids: Their chemistry and role against oxidative stress, inflammation, and cancer. J. BioMed Res. Int. 2018, 1691428. 10.1155/2018/1691428
- Russo E. B., Marcu J. (2017). Cannabis pharmacology: The usual suspects and a few promising leads. Adv. Pharmacol. 80, 67–134. 10.1016/bs.apha.2017.03.004
- Nallathambi R., Mazuz M., Ion A., Selvaraj G., Weininger S., Fridlender M., et al. (2017). Anti-inflammatory activity in colon models is derived from δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid that interacts with additional compounds in cannabis extracts. Cannabis cannabinoid Res. 2, 167–182. 10.1089/can.2017.0027