Plants are definitely major contributors in preventing illness and maintaining a healthy body. They are the sources of vitamins and minerals essential to the proper functioning and well-being of the body. Be it olden days or modern days, people have learned to heal themselves with plants too.
There are lots of medicinal plants that can heal and harm as well. Drug like quinine for treating malaria is based on the substance quinine that was earlier found in the barks of cinchona tree. Pain relieving drugs are based on the substance called salicin found in the barks of willow tree. Though many medicines are based on products from the plant kingdom, they may prove harmful when taken as such. For example, castor oil in proper doses does no harm but swallowing just two castor beans (which is squeezed to get castor oil) can kill a person. Today most of the antibiotics are made from molds. Sometimes plant substances used in direct healing may act as a depressant or stimulant to the nervous and circulatory systems of the body.
Herbs are very well known for their medicinal properties and for their flavor in food as well. Both herbs and spices are valued mainly for their taste and scent. Herbs are basically non woody flowering plants (except trees and shrubs). They have their aromatic properties in their leaves. Spices are products from tropical regions especially islands while herbs are native of Mediterranean Europe. They have anti microbial properties and are believed to relieve common aches and pains. Spices including cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric garlic and many more are widely used in cooking. Basil, rosemary, coriander are some of the leafy herbs of health.
Although not many chemists work on stem, leaves, flowers and roots, most of today’s medicine still have a direct plant origins. Many other medicines are synthetics that replicate the plant products chemically. These are made in the laboratories at a lower cost than it would take to get natural ones from the plants.