Know the active principle it is important for those who want to make the most of the natural remedies offered by plants. Several plants produceactive principlesdifferent from each other, on this page we will see the main ones.
What is the active principle?
Aactive principle is that chemical substance naturally produced by the metabolism of a plant and secreted or accumulated within particular cells or organs. THEactive principlesthey are able to carry out some biological, physiological or biochemical activity on a human, plant or animal organism. In homeopathy and with natural remedies, the aim is to exploit theactive principlesplants to induce a stimulus or modifications that may produce a benefit.
The classic example is chamomile, loved by everyone for its calming, almost sedative effect. Chamomile exerts its calming effect thanks to its active principle and its particular smell is given precisely by azulene combined with a mixture of other substances (salicylic acid, oleic acid, stearic acid, alpha-bisabolol). The soothing effect exerted by chamomile for nerve problems is given by the components of the essential oil (alpha-bisabolol, guaiazulene, chamazulene and farnesene). As is clear, the "active" substances contained by plants are innumerable!
Even if "natural", the power and effect of the remedy used must never be underestimated. When it comes to plants, they never have the same amount of active principle, therefore disentangling between dosages and homemade preparations is really difficult. For descriptive purposes only, we will illustrate the active principles most used.
- The alkaloids
These substances can have an exciting or depressing effect by acting directly on the nervous system. Alkaloids must be used with extreme care. To this group belong the active principles such as: ephedrine, morphine, strychnic, scopolamine ...
- The Flavonoids
Cataphory ofactive principlespresent in many medicinal plants, of polyphenolic derivation. They are generally water-soluble and often combined into complex molecules that contain sugars. In flowers and plants, the presence of flavonoids can be found in yellow and orange colors. Several flavonoids have anti-inflammatory properties.
- The Glucosides
They are the result of a chemical reaction that leads to the formation of a molecule with an alcoholic function and a carbohydrate part. Lot of active principlesclassified as glycosides, they are poisonous to humans, others are used for cardiorespiratory diseases.
- The essential oil
Essential oils are chemically complex substances, made up of a mixture of terpenes, phenols, alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, esters and ethers. They are produced by the metabolism of an aromatic plant and can haveactive principlesdifferent. Essential oils derive from the pressing of fruits, leaves or bark, or from the distillation of these parts. The properties of these substances are manifold, so much so that they are used in various industrial sectors, from food to the cosmetic industry.
- The Tannins
Tannins are extracted from roots, fruits, leaves and seeds. They have a strong astringent power and for this reason they are used as a natural remedy for healing wounds or to enhance the healing power of the skin.