Herbology: How Do Plants Work
Back to the Herbal Menu
- The Inner Workings Of A Plant
- Plants work in many different ways chemically. Our bodies
are also made of many different chemicals. As with the nature
of science, if you mix a couple of chemicals together, you're
bound to get a reaction. The trick is, figuring out which plant
chemcials work best with which animal/human chemicals. That's
basically what pharmaceutical companies do in their research
labs. But you don't have to be a Harvard scientist to learn some
of the basics.
- Plants contain alkaloids, glycosides, antibiotic substance,
oils, fats, resins and many other compounds in their inner tissues.
Understanding how these compounds work is the beginning process
for learning about herbology. Now don't give up before you've
even read this part. It's not as hard as you might think.
- Alkaloids are one of our most valued compounds in plants.
Basically an alkaloid is a compound that is rich in nitrogen
bases. Some of the most common pain killers utilize these, such
as morphine, cocain, nicotine and many others.
- Glycosides are sugary type compounds, but not all of them
are bad to eat or make you fat. Actually without some sugar compounds,
your body wouldn't have any energy. But before you go out and
buy a case of this stuff, you might want to think about some
of the other uses. Glycosides are also used as solvents, antifreezes
and in making dynomite. Not to mention liquid soap, lubricants,
sweetners and even some oral contraceptives. You can't take these
glycosides for granted though, Digitalis which is one of the
most widely perscribed plant drues for cardiac patents owes a
good part of it's affectiveness to these little glyco guys.
- Antibiotics are the most commonly recognized compounds. And
they have become very important over the 50-60 years. Since their
discovery in pinicilin in the 1930's scientists have found many
others from the plant kingdom. Mostly from fungi, lichens and
bacteria plants. What antibiotics actually do is inhibit the
growth or even destory microorganisims. There is some evidence
however that the early Egyptians already know about the value
of antibiotics. As well as, the medieval England cultures, which
used natural growths of fungi to treat sores and ulcers.
- Oils, Resins and gums compounds play less of a role in perscription
Remedies, but that does not limit their value.
- Essential oils are just as important to a healthy skin as
vitamine E or C. But these compunds don't typically have a single
component to their make-up, but are often paired with alcohols,
aldehydes, phenols, ketones, nitrogena and sulphurs. They are
also wonderful germ killers, but when mixed with water they are
too insoluble to make beneficial antiseptics. Still, you're likely
to find these in cough drops, mouthwashes, and healing ointments.
- Gums are often made of various sugar components, guess that's
why they make such good chewing gum.
- Resins are oxygenated compounds. They make wonderful ointments,
because oxygen is a key ingrediant to healing an open wound or
- Fatty oils and lipids are at the bottom of the list. They
are often used as purgatives, which are Remedies that help clear
the bowels. They can also be used as emulsions. Now this part
is a bit distasteful, but an emulsion is a coating that at first
does not mix with other components. Such as milk cells in milk
or even silver grains in thin gelatin on photgraphic film.
- Well that's the scientific side of how plants work. But this
is an important side. To understand how the flowers, herbs and
roots in your neighborhood forest can help next time you have
cold, you need to understand the basic components of a plant.
Not only will it aid you in creating a wonderful concoction,
but it may also save your life.
- Never, Ever, ingest an herbal remedy if you're not
sure of it's basic compounds and how it will interact with the
chemicals in your own body.
Source: 1, h1,