Turkish Herbal Medicine in the Treatment of Back Pain

Turkish Herbal Medicine in the Treatment of Back Pain

Mustafa Eray Bozyel (Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Turkey), Elif Merdamert Bozyel (Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Turkey) and Kerem Canli (Dokuz Eylül University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1320-0.ch012


The number of plants used for treatments has been steadily increasing since ancient times. There were around 250 herbal drugs used during the Mesopotamian civilization. During the time of the Greeks, 60 medicinal plants were known. During the Arab-Persian civilization, this number increased to about 4,000. At the beginning of the 19th century, the number of known medicinal plants reached 13,000. These herbal drugs are used to treat many diseases, from diabetes to cancer. Back pain and related symptoms rank as the second most common affliction of humankind. One of the proposed methods to control and treat back pain symptoms is traditional folk medicine. This chapter examines the recent ethnobotanical studies to form a compilation on medicinal plants used as Turkish herbal medicine in the treatment of back pain and their local names, parts, and usage forms.
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The therapeutic properties of many plant species have been known by humans since ancient times. On the other hand, poisons of plant origin have been known and used by people since the first ages of the history. Native African used Strophanthus hispidus and Strophanthus kombe seeds against their enemies as arrow poisons. In addition, the ancient Greeks used Conium maculatum was used as an official poison substance. Researchers know that the wild and domestic animals benefit from the healing effects of plants and do not eat the harmful plants.

The ancient people, who have no real and scientific knowledge on diseases and treatments, tried to find solutions to health problems through the opportunities they had and the theories they could produce. As the archaeological findings come to light, medical tools of the Roman period, votive materials in the temples, drug recipes, wall paintings, and others reveal a more specific picture of this period’s medicine.

Plants are the most important source of traditional folk medicine. People living in various parts of the world have benefited from the plants grown in their environment for this purpose. In these drugs, individuals used the whole plant, various plant organs (roots, leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, etc.), or plant-derived substances (milk, terebinth, resin, balsam, etc.). Individuals use plants directly or in various forms (pills, powder, infusion, decoction, ointment, cataplasm). In Turkey, the most commonly used traditional medicine preparation forms are infusions and decoctions.

In folk medicine, plants are often used alone or with each other. Individuals create special prescriptions in the preparation of these drugs, and they adjuste the amounts accordingly. The effect of a plant can be increased when used with other plants (Sağında, 2014).

In a report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) published in 2000, authors state that 50% of people in Europe, Australia, and North America reported using one of the alternative supportive treatment methods in addition to the drug for the treatment of diseases. Herbal supplements were the most frequently used among these methods (Ersöz, 2012).

In today's world, medicinal plants have become an area of interest in contemporary scientific medicine in addition to being the main treatment tool of alternative medicine. The interest for the use of these plants on the way to preventing diseases or living healthier is becoming more and more widespread. Due to this increase in interest, the production, processing, and sales of medicinal plants are emerging as a growing sector (Kıran, 2006).

It is of great importance to recognize and use the plants that are still used today and that are the basis of many of synthetic drugs. In the last quarter of the 20th century, researhcers found that synthetic drugs have many side effects and potential for damage in addition to their benefits. Due to this finding, there has been a return to herbal medicine in the treatment of many diseases. In the Green Stream, called “Return to Nature”, herbal medicines became the first choice in the treatment of simple daily diseases (Kızılarslan, 2008).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Lower Back: The lower back starts at the bottom of the rib cage and is called the lumbar region.

Turkey: The Republic of Turkey is a Eurasian country that connects Asia and Europe with the Bosphorus bridges.

Medicinal Plants: Medicinal plants are known to be therapeutic due to the various molecules and compounds they contain, and they are used by the public to treat many diseases.

Decoction: Decoction is a method of extraction by boiling plant material to dissolve the chemicals of the material, which may include stems, roots, bark, and rhizomes.

WHO: World Health Organization (WHO) is an organization of the United Nations that conducts international studies on public health.

Infusion: Infusion is the process of extracting chemical compounds or flavors from plant material in a solvent such as water, oil, or alcohol, by allowing the material to remain suspended in the solvent over time.

Herbal Medicine: Finished, labelled medicinal products that contain active ingredients that includeaerial or underground parts of plants, other plant material, or combinations thereof, whether in the crude state or as plant preparations.

Upper Back: The upper back is the area between the base of the neck and the bottom of the rib cage.

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