The term only appeared in our vocabulary recently, in the 1970s, and comes from the Greek words phytos, meaning plants, and therapeia, meaning treatment.
In every part of the world, knowledge of medicinal plants has been handed down through the generations. However, just like any other type of medicine, phytotherapy has its limits, and this led to it being sidelined for a while in favour of faster-acting synthetic drugs whose dose and therapeutic effects were easier to control.
The therapeutic effect of a medicinal plant depends on the quality of the raw material, i.e., the plant itself, where it’s from, the season of harvest, the type of extract used (fresh plant or dried plant, for example) and the extraction method.
All these factors will determine the quality of the plant’s active ingredients.
Today’s scientific knowledge and technological progress mean that these contingencies, which are the shortcomings of traditional herbal medicines, can now be controlled.