What is an active ingredient?
An active ingredient is an active substance that has therapeutic properties . These are molecules which, once ingested, will have effects on our health.
They can be extracted from plants or synthesized chemically. It is not the entire plant that heals, but the active ingredients it contains.
Plants contain a multitude of them! They are generally used for one or a few active ingredients in particular. Thus, the body absorbs them all. It is only the active substance(s) for which the plant has been chosen that will allow it to have the desired effect on the body (anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, etc.).
Plant development and extraction:
The active principles are of paramount importance because without them, the plant would have no benefit for the body.
It is therefore important that the plants grow in an environment that suits them, with a soil rich in minerals and trace elements and that they are harvested at the right time. Therefore, a good development of the plant will give quality active ingredients.
The extraction of the active principle is an important step since it makes it possible to recover that of interest. There are different methods to extract it. The choice of the right method is crucial because the plant must not be altered in order to recover the active substance of interest and of good quality.
Example of active principles of some plants:
Here are some examples of plants used to heal thanks to the properties of one of their active ingredients:
- From turmeric ( curcuma longa ), curcumin is extracted which has anti-inflammatory properties. It helps relieve pain caused by inflammation such as tendinitis, osteoarthritis and rheumatism. It is also effective against intestinal inflammation.
- Feverfew ( tanacetum parthenium or chrysanthemum parthenium ) contains parthenolide: it is used to relieve migraines.
- From the bark of the white willow ( salix alba ), salicin, a derivative of aspirin, is extracted. Since antiquity, it has been known to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
- Peppermint (mentha piperita) contains menthol which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. In local application, it has an anesthetic effect .
- Ginger ( Zingiber officinale) contains -gingerol, which has antioxidant properties. It has a recognized anticancer effect on different types of cancer, such as colon or pancreatic.