Cynthia Hering Rinnert (1) / Luciano Soares (2) / Luiz Paulo de Lemos Wiese (3) / Karine Kohl (4) / Isabel Cristina Zattar (5) / Janine Lucia Rosa (6) / Camila Luiz Lohmann (7)

Reasonable use of medicinal plants

People often use medicinal plants based on the empirical knowledge, passing it orally generation to generation. However, due to the lack of scientific backing respecting its use, many plants may result in the short or long term health problems or prevalence of intoxication.
The objective of the workshop is to disseminate phytotherapy based on the traditional knowledge as a safe therapy alternative as long as it is used with caution and appropriate scientific knowledge.
The difficulty in identifying the correct species and the replacement of conventional pharmacotherapy for medicinal plants can harm the effectiveness and safety of the therapy, causing problems to public health. To use medicinal plants we shall worry to guarantee that the correct species are applied. There are many confusions related to the botanic identification: plants of different species are known by the same popular name (Melissa officinalis and Lippia alba - lemon grass), different species present morphological similarities (Cymbopogon citratus and Cymbopogon nardus) or even the same species is known by several popular names (Vernonia condensata - boldo, brasilian boldo, figatil, Indian's bitter), which vary according to the country's region.
In addition to correctly identify the plant, one must also use the right part of the plant to obtain the tea, because in certain plants the active substances focus on a specific organ (Chamomilla recutita - flowers; Anethum graveolens - fruit; Mentha spp. - leaves). The medicinal teas have different ways of preparation, determined by the plant and the result to which they are intended.
There are three main ways to prepare tea: maceration, infusion and decoction. In maceration the plant is put in contact with solvent (usually water) and it is filtered up after a settled time. In infusion the hot water is added to the broken plant, leaving for a few minutes in a closed container. In decoction the plant is put in the heating water until boiling.
Each tea must be prepared considering the correct amount of the plant, the means of preparation and the dosage of using. Enough amount for immediate consumption must be prepared thus storing the prepared tea may jeopardize preservation, and consequently, its safety and effects. The tea mustn't replace the medical treatment prescribed by the doctor and neither it is recommended to use it for long periods. The use of a tea to treat any problem should be accompanied by the following care: be sure that the problem is simple and that the tea is the best treatment available; evaluate if the tea is working as intended, if it's not them the doctor must be immediately sought; evaluate if the symptom of something much more serious is not being treated, take care not to mask the symptom and delay an appropriate treatment; certify the botanic identity of the specie employed, due to the fact that the incorrect use of a plant might cause important damage to the body; obtain secure information on how to prepare the tea and be very careful colleting and cleaning the plants before using them; be aware of the appearance of adverse reaction, due to the fact that plants cause these effects just as medication does; in case you're on a treatment with a medicine prescribed by a doctor, alert him about the intention of starting the use of medicinal tea, because there are many drug interactions involving medicinal plants.
The use of medicinal teas might be an effective alternative and a much less aggressive one to treat some health problems, but as other pharmacologic resources, it might cause adverse reactions and toxicity, damaging the health of the user, or even causing serious diseases.

(1)Professora do departamento de Farmácia da Univille.
(2) Professor do departamento de Farmácia da Univille

(3) Professor do departamento de Farmácia da Univille
(4) Graduanda do curso de Farmácia da Univille
(5) Graduanda do curso de Farmácia da Univille
(6) Graduanda do curso de Farmácia da Univille
(7) Graduanda do curso de Farmácia da Univille