The term phytotherapy was coined by a French physician by the name of Henri Leclerc. It is derived from the Greek term “to heal with plants” and it is the use of plants or plant extracts for medicinal purposes. Leaves, dried flowers, seeds, fruit, roots of plants, plant extracts and essential oil of plant material are all plant ingredients that can be considered as phytotherapy. Plant or herbal ingredients are the most easily obtained ingredients, which makes herbal or plant preparation the world’s oldest form of therapy.
History notes that every civilization have been known to use phytotherapy. However, the use of plants for healing goes as far back as the biblical days. The Egyptians were known for using balm as a counter irritant for local pain and as an astringent for wounds. Myrrh mixed with wine was known to be used as a pain killer. The root of the mandrake fruit was often used for conception and figs were used to heal certain sicknesses. Herbal skin care preparations were also used by the early Egyptians. Myrrh, was used for embalming. Today, myrrh is used in many skin care products. Estheticians use commercial products that contain plant material and myrrh is a popular ingredient in these products used to balance the hydration of the skin and to remove toxins from the skin tissue, promoting general tissue repair. Other popular plant material that is used in commercial products are watercress for skin ailments; wheat germ for dry skin; white pond lily to moisturize; wild cabbage to fight acne and willow to exfoliate.
So as you can see, phytotherapy isn’t anything new. It’s been here for years and The possibilities are endless for skin care professionals to incorporate phytotherapy into facials, massage, body scrubs and wraps. Nature has done the easy part with providing us with an array of plants that have countless healing and soothing properties that will enhance any body treatment and make it a delight, such as phyto organic shea butter wraps, olive oil body glows, cream and sugar scrubs and the list goes on and on. So the next time you visit one of your local spas remember that PHAEDRA said “PHYTOTHERAPY makes a girl PHEEL PHABULOUS!”
By Phaedra Anderson