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    According to the Hellenic Society of Ethnopharmacology*, 25% of all medicines used today for therapeutic treatment purposes are derived from plants, many of which had been identified, recorded and included in the preventative and curative treatment of individuals even prior to the systematic recording of historical events.

    *A non-profit scientific society including pharmacists, doctors and agronomists, whose aim is to record, study, develop and disseminate information regarding traditional medicine and its treatments.

    Natural or herbal medicine refers to the use of the seeds, nuts, roots, leaves, peels or flowers of a given plant for therapeutic purposes, and this tradition has a rich history dating back to long before the advent of traditional medicine. Today, the increasingly widespread use of herbs is due mainly to a number of key factors, including their improved quality, thorough analysis and quality control as well as clinical research that reinforce the effectiveness of the use of herbs in both preventing and treating illnesses as well as in maintaining optimal physical and mental health.

    Properties – Characteristics

    Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) view product

    THE MOST POPULAR AMONG HERBS

    Daisy-like, with white petals encircling a yellow center growing at the end of a long green stem, chamomile is an annual herb of approximately 20 to 60 cm in height that grows wild during spring in Europe, North America and in certain parts of Asia. It has two main species: the German chamomile and the Roman chamomile, both of which have similar therapeutic properties hidden within their white and yellow buds.

    Daisy-like, with white petals encircling a yellow center growing at the end of a long green stem, chamomile is an annual herb of approximately 20 to 60 cm in height that grows wild during spring in Europe, North America and in certain parts of Asia. It has two main species: the German chamomile and the Roman chamomile, both of which have similar therapeutic properties hidden within their white and yellow buds.

    Infusions, oils, creams and lotions: all possess common properties, primarily calming and soothing, while chamomile is perhaps the best-known and the most widely-consumed herb in the western world.

    A RICH BREATH OF RELAXATION AND PROTECTION

    For hundreds of years, chamomile has been used to calm the nerves, while being a therapeutic aid to stomach disorders, soothing muscle spasms and healing dermatological problems and mild infections. Its use is traced back to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans for dozens of mild or moderate health problems, including colds, sore throat, gum disease, anxiety, insomnia, psoriasis, acne, eczema, minor burns, stomach ulcers, chicken pox, infant colic and diaper rash.

    Today, enumeration of all ailments for which it is used has yet to be completed, nor have all of its properties been scientifically verified. Tests on animals have shown that its use decreases muscle spasms and helps, as a mild sedative to sleep problems, while laboratory research has proven chamomile’s effectiveness in killing bacteria, fungus and viruses. The majority of people taking chamomile do so to combat insomnia and anxiety.

    Although its use is considered generally safe, it should be consumed with caution by people suffering from asthma as it has been shown to aggravate the condition, as well as by pregnant women, as it may increase the risk of miscarriage. Moreover, chamomile can act like an estrogen and for this reason women with hormone-sensitive cancers (such as breast or uterine cancer) should consult their doctors before use. Finally, ingesting large quantities of chamomile can cause vomiting.

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    History

    Herbs were being used for therapeutic purposes
    from time immemorial.
    herbs-history
    Ancient Chinese and Egyptian papyruses dating back to 3000 BC describe the therapeutic uses of a variety of plants. Indigenous civilizations, including Africans and Native Americans, used herbs as part of therapeutic rituals, while other people around the globe developed systematic medical traditions, such as Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, in which herbs played a dominant role.
    Greek mythology includes numerous references of the art of healing through the use of herbal remedies, distinguishing figures whose names would later be inextricably linked to the science of medicine, such as Asclepius, the son of god Apollo. Throughout ancient Greek history, numerous references attest the extensive use of herbs by the greatest doctor-philosophers of that era. Hippocrates (460 BC – 377 BC), the “father of medicine”, rejected the theory that gods were responsible for diseases. Instead he focused on man’s mental and physical state, in an attempt to pinpoint what affects human health and what improves it. Being fully convinced of nature’s healing powers, he used plants and herbs in the prevention and treatment of illnesses. He catalogued 256 plants that he used for medicinal purposes, many of which constitute basic ingredients for modern pharmaceuticals even today. Centuries later, in 65 AD, Dioscorides authored the encyclopedic “De Materia Medica”, which included detailed information on more than 600 therapeutic plants, including their properties, illustrations and references on their recommended use. This work formed the basis of herbal medicine, which was practiced for more than 1500 years. During the Middle Ages, certain plants and herbs mentioned in those texts were used exclusively for specific illnesses and disorders, while others were considered to have a wider-reaching range of therapeutic properties. In many cases, drops were made using the essence of various herbs, while no monastery garden was considered complete without a range of therapeutic plants and herbs. In fact, it was to monasteries that the sick of the time would go to obtain such herbs, or alternatively to “local witches” or early pharmacies that produced herbal extracts.
    In the early 19th century, when chemistry and chemical analysis had gained a strong scientific foothold, scientists began extracting and modifying the active components of plants. Later, chemists began producing their own versions of plant compositions, and in time, the use of natural remedies gave way to pharmaceuticals. Approximately a quarter of modern medicines come from herbs.

    Relatively recently, the WHO (World Health Organization) estimated that 80% of the world’s population rely on herbs for healthcare purposes, especially in the field of prevention. In Germany, 600 to 700 plants with therapeutic properties are available to and prescribed by 70% of German doctors. In the USA, public discontent regarding the high cost of prescription medicines in combination with an increased interest towards a return to natural or organic therapies, has led to an increased use of herbs and herbal treatments.

    Effectiveness & Safety

    Herb effectiveness varies from person to person. We recommend you to consult your doctor before the consumption and in any case inform him about the simultaneous use of herbs or other medicaments.
    herb-efficiency
    There is no doubt that herbs can be extremely effective in the treatment of health problems. This is reinforced by the fact that herbs were used to a great extent in the production of medicines up to the 1970s. Many of the herbal remedies used today by a large proportion of the population around the world have been tested for their effectiveness using the double-blind placebo controlled clinical trial method.

    However, even those herbs, whose effectiveness has been proved and certified through research, are known to a lesser extent for their therapeutic properties and efficacy when compared to the majority of conventional medicines. That is explained by the simple reason that herbs cannot be patented, as one crop of herbs can never be exactly the same or even have exactly the same therapeutic effectiveness as another or as those used in clinical trials.

    Each plant that has become part of the “drogi-organic herb” family is produced in strict adherence to the rules and regulations ruling organic cultivation, while special emphasis is placed on the maintenance of all nutritional components.

    Nonetheless, it is impossible for “drogi” to precisely determine the herb effectiveness concerning the treatment of a medical condition, without having conducted clinical trials on each and every one of our herbs. At “drogi”, we feel a deep sense of responsibility for our products and we can guarantee that they maintain all components that have been recorded as a result of relevant scientific research, as well as properties that have been attributed to the herb in question, through the consumption and the subsequent oral dissemination of their properties. We do, however, believe that herb effectiveness differs from person to person, just as illnesses differ from patient to patient.

    SAFETY CONCERNS

    It is a commonly-held belief that herbs are, by nature, safer and milder than conventional medicines. However, there is no logical justification to uphold that conviction. In reality, herbs are plants which contain one or more “medicines” and can produce side effects just like any other medication, especially if taken in high or repeated doses.
    Nonetheless, the majority of the most popular therapeutic herbs are quite safe. The greatest “concern” arising from their use is the potential interference with other medication being taken simultaneously. It is well known that many herbs react with other medicines and as research in that field advances, such reactions are being discovered more frequently.

    HERB CONSUMPTION DURING PREGNANCY

    There are no herbs that have been proven absolutely safe to use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Even herbs that are widely used in everyday cooking and are considered completely harmless could potentially be detrimental if consumed in highly concentrated doses. For example, it is unlikely that garlic would be harmful to a pregnant woman; however, garlic supplements contain certain potent and potentially toxic ingredients also found in raw garlic, though it would be impossible to consume it in such a quantity that would result toxic or harmful.

    Preparations & Uses

    herb-uses

    Herbal essences and their beneficial properties are extracted using various techniques which vary according the herb in question as well as the active ingredients which we wish to use.

    HOW TO PREPARE A DROGI HERBAL INFUSION

    Boil a cup of water. Remove from heat and follow the steps below:
    1) Fill one of the single-use immersion filters contained in the package with 1 to 2 grams of herbal leaves or flowers.
    2) Squeeze the filter containing the leaves or flowers in your hand so as to “crush” the herbs.
    3) Breathe in the scent of the crushed herbs…
    4) Affix the filter to the inside of the cup.
    5) Add water to the cup by slowly pouring it over the herb.
    6) Cover the cup for 3 to 5 minutes so as to allow the active ingredients sealed within the herb to permeate the water as well as to let the water reach the desired drinking temperature.
    7) Remove the filter bag from the cup, close your eyes and enjoy a drogi infusion, letting it activate your senses of taste and smell.
    Tip! For larger quantities, use a larger pot and increase the amount of water and herb accordingly.

    Infusion

    The recommendable preparation method when it comes to the herb’s more delicate parts, such as the leaves, flowers or stems. Herbal infusions are prepared more or less in the same way as a simple sachet tea: heat water until it just comes to a boil. Place the herb in a cup and add the hot water. Cover the cup for 3 to 5 minutes and then remove the herbs. Enjoy it hot or cold.

    Decoction

    A simmered tea using the hard parts of the herb, such as the seeds, roots, barks, stems or branches. To prepare a decoction: place the herb into the water and slowly heat the water to a simmer until the herb softens and thus permit its beneficial properties to be released into the water. It is important to keep the pot covered throughout the simmering stage so as not to loοse the herb’s precious elements to evaporation.

    Maceration

    Immersion of the herb in room-temperature water for between 2 and 12 hours. Sometimes cold infusions are used as a base in the preparation of decoctions, when the part of the herb to be used is particularly hard or large in size (i.e. the root).

    Tincture

    Prepared by immersing the herb in an alcohol-based solution, usually pure alcohol, for 4 to 6 weeks. The alcohol facilitates dissolution and absorption of the herb’s nutrients and for this reason is faster-acting and stronger than infusion or decoction. Tinctures have a prolonged shelf life and should be taken according to the instructions of an herbal specialist.

    Syrup

    Herbs in either infusion or decoction form, mixed with honey or sugar/water syrup. Herbal syrups combine the health benefits of herbs with the soothing effect of honey or the sweetness of sugar. Herbal syrups are ideal for children, who usually have distaste for anything with a bitter, sour or tart flavor.

    Essential Oil

    Derived from the distillation or extraction of the flowers, leaves or roots of an herb. Essential oils are easily absorbed, reaching the circulatory system just through spreading over the skin. Proper use includes first spreading the oil in the palms of your hands, closing your eyes while cupping your palms over your nose and inhaling deeply, and then spreading the oil on the desired facial or body area. A small quantity of essential herb oil is enough for the body to benefit from its properties. However, certain essential oils are to be avoided or even prohibited during pregnancy, breastfeeding or in cases of underlying ailments. For this reason, essential oils should be administered under the supervision of a specialist.

    Ointment

    Herbs can be used in ointment form, whose preparation is usually made using natural beeswax or petroleum jelly (Vaseline) mixed with an infusion of a particular herb or herb combination, herbal tinctures and/or essential oils. Ointments form a layer (film) on the skin, protecting and treating the affected area.

    Poultice

    Direct application of the herb to the skin can be made through the use of poultices, which are applied and then affixed using a bandage or cloth. Proper use of poultices includes moistening (for crushed herb leaves or flowers) or mixing the herbs (for those in powder form) with a small quantity of water or oil in order to facilitate spreading. Poultices can be indirectly applied to the skin between two layers of gauze if desired. Whatever the form, poultice temperatures should not surpass 122ο F, as high temperatures destroy many of the herb’s anti-inflammatory and anti-convulsive properties.

    Fresh Juice

    Fresh herbs can be used in order to make a juice, using a juicer or a blender. In some instances, fresh juices can also be used as poultices.

    Powder

    An herb is converted into powder form in three steps: drying, grinding and sieving. Powders are used in the preparation of poultices, herbal supplement capsules and body powders as well as in cooking. Although herbs in powder form can be readily found in health food stores and on supermarket shelves, it is preferable that they be prepared as close to consumption or use as possible, as the active ingredients in powders tend to lose most of their potency, flavor and aroma shortly after they have been processed.

    Herbal Bath

    In addition to their therapeutic and pain relieving action, herbal baths are also extremely relaxing. Depending on the herbs being used, herbal baths can also offer a feeling of rejuvenation and general well-being. The best way to prepare the perfect herbal bath is to add a strong herbal infusion to the bath water or affix a pouch containing herbs under the faucet so that the hot water runs through and permeates the herbs before filling the bathtub. A foot-bath is an equally beneficial alternative when you don’t have time for a bath.