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Healing Plants: Do Plants Hold the Secret to Treating COVID-19?

Healing Plants: Do Plants Hold the Secret to Treating COVID-19?

Here in the Philippines, alternative forms of medicine, such as using plants, still remains popular. In fact, in markets such as Quiapo, one can see various plants, herbs, and decoctions used to treat various illnesses. And with the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, people are looking to healing plants for a solution.

But just how effective are plants when it comes to combatting a pandemic? Are they able to replace the more traditional forms of treatment? Let’s find out more.

What are healing plants?

For thousands of years, humans have taken advantage of the healing powers of plants. Even until now, scientists are constantly discovering new chemical compounds in plants that can have the potential for use in medicine.

Medicinal, or healing plants, have saved millions of lives throughout history. These days, however, modern medicine is more focused on man-made remedies. These are medicines that are made in laboratories and are sold in pharmacies or found in hospitals1.

While these types of medication are highly effective, there are a certain number of drawbacks. First, medicines can be expensive, especially those used to treat more serious illness, such as COVID-19. Second, some of these medicines can have side effects that patients might not want. And third, not everyone can have access to these medications.

This is the reason why in the Philippines, healing plants are sometimes seen as a viable alternative to modern medicine. But are these plants really that effective?

Can these help with COVID-19?

Even at the start of the pandemic, people have tried to make use of medicinal plants2 to treat or manage COVID-19 symptoms. Because of this, various studies have cropped up in an attempt to look at how effective these forms of treatment are.

According to one study3, there is some evidence that shows that certain medicinal plants are able to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. This is especially true with plants that have reported anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting effects. While these can’t be used to solely treat the virus, some of these healing plants could be utilized as complementary therapies4.

Some of these plants include black cumin seeds, bitter leaf, and neem. However, despite their effects, there are still some hurdles when it comes to using these plants.

The main concern is that the amount of active chemicals can vary from plant to plant. This means that it can be hard to find a standard dosage for these healing plants when treating patients with severe illnesses.

One approach to address this would be to process the plants so only the active chemicals remain. However, that would also take time since plants contain numerous chemicals, and identifying and isolating the ones that can help with COVID-19 isn’t a straightforward process.

This is why for now, the best way to utilize these healing plants is through complementary therapy. This involves utilizing both medicinal plants and traditional methods for treatment.

Key Takeaways

While healing plants do offer a lot of benefits, this doesn’t mean that you can solely depend on them for treating your illnesses, especially COVID-19. Plants can help ease the symptoms of COVID, but as far as curing or even preventing it, there’s not a lot that these plants can do. At the moment, the best weapon we have against COVID-19 is the vaccine.

However, there’s nothing wrong with trying out alternative forms of medicine. So long as you do it under the guidance of your doctor, and you’re still following their recommendations, there shouldn’t be any problems with combining alternative and traditional forms of treatment.

Learn more about Coronavirus here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources
  1. The Role and Place of Medicinal Plants in the Strategies for Disease Prevention, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3847409/, Accessed November 26, 2021
  2. Use of medicinal plants for COVID-19 prevention and respiratory symptom treatment during the pandemic in Cusco, Peru: A cross-sectional survey, https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0257165, Accessed November 26, 2021
  3. Medicinal Plants in COVID-19: Potential and Limitations – PubMed, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33841143/, Accessed November 26, 2021
  4. A review of Cameroonian medicinal plants with potentials for the management of the COVID-19 pandemic – CIFOR Knowledge, https://www.cifor.org/knowledge/publication/7975, Accessed November 26, 2021
  5. Frontiers | Medicinal Plants in COVID-19: Potential and Limitations | Pharmacology, https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2021.611408/full, Accessed November 26, 2021
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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Dec 02, 2021
Fact Checked by Kristel Lagorza