Evidence – Based Therapeutic Values of Plants: From Traditional Aspects  To Scientific Approaches


Badiaa Lyoussi


Traditional & Complementary Medicine Exhibition 2007 (TCME 2007), Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia




Data not available


Plants have formed the basis of sophisticated traditional medicine systems that have been in existence for thousands of years. Since times immemorial, the use of plants for curing human diseases has been in practice in many parts of the world. There is no actual record of when the use of plants for medicinal purposes first started, although the first generally accepted use of plants as depicted in the cave paintings discovered in the Lascaux caves in France dates back to between 13,000 BC and 25,000 BC. The first written records are from Mesopotamia dating back to about 2600 BC, which describe the use of oils from Cedrus species (cedar) and Cupressus sempevirens (cypress), and Commiphora species (myrrh), the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice), and extract of Papaver somniferum (poppy juice). All of these are still in use today for the treatment of various illnesses. The best known and the most voluminous record of ancient Egyptian medicine is the “Ebers Papyrus” dating from 1550 BC, which is a 110-page scroll listing some 700 magical formulas and remedies, including gargles, snuffs, poultices, infusions, pills and ointments, some using milk and honey as vehicles. Among the plants listed in this papyrus are Artemisia absinthium, Acacia spp., Balanites aegyptiaca, Bryonia spp., Hyoscyamus muticus, Myrtus communis, Onopordon spp., Ziziphus spp., etc. Dioscorides, a Greek physician (100 AD) famous for writing a five volume book De Materia Medica, which is an influential herbal book with accurate record of the method of collection, storage, and use of about 500 medicinal herbs. The Muslim herbalists also became experts in the field, and expanded plant medicine with their own experiences and resources. The Muslim herbalists wrote over centuries many books and treatises on medicinal plants in the Islamic World. The Arabs were the first to establish drug stores, with the name of plants given in many languages including Arabic, Amazighy (Berber), Greek, Persian, Hindi, etc. The famous Muslim Scholar, Abu Bakr Mohammed b. Zakariya ar-Razi (Rhazes; d. about 313 Hj, 925A.