Rev. bras. farmacogn. [online]. 2013, vol.23, n.2, pp. 379-385. Epub Feb 25, 2013. ISSN 0102-695X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-695X2013005000018.
Men have been using herbal medicines for thousands of years. The advantages of this type of therapeutics include good availability, local cultural aspects, individual preferences, the increasing demand for natural and organic products, and the already validated synergistic effects of herbal medicines. However, ethically, the scope and limits of these drugs need to be established not only by ethnopharmacological evidences but also by scientific investigations, which confirm the therapeutic effects. With this study, we propose to discuss the possible advantages of using herbal medicines instead of purified compounds, the truth and myths about herbal medicines, drug discovery, and the implications for medical education and health care.
Keywords: medicinal plant; phytotherapy; standardization; synergism; herbal drug; complementary medicine.