Since ancient times, humans have used plants to heal, soothe,

perfuming, seasoning, cooking. Ancient and pre-Hispanic civilizations

They inherited their knowledge and knowledge that have been passed from generation to generation.

generation, enriching popular wisdom and scientific research.

Medicinal plants are found all over the planet, their

location and development depends on factors such as soil, water, climate,

altitude, latitude, humidity, temperature, rain and wind, among others.

Tropical countries, due to their geographical location and relief, have a great

variety of medicinal plants including endemic species.

Industries: perfumery, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and food use plants

medicinal in many of its processes for its wonderful properties; that's why the

planting these plants in organic crops, well planned and cared for, is a

profitable opportunity, it is a promising industry, with a future, since it goes beyond



the production of the fresh plant for immediate consumption. The processes that

can be carried out with medicinal plants ranging from dehydration

to the production of essential oils, with interesting markets worldwide

national and international, adding an added value that makes it very profitable

its cultivation.

This guide responds to a need in the agricultural sector, takes a look at the

processes that are carried out with medicinal plants, some can be carried out

easily, without the need for complicated equipment or advanced technologies, other

They are produced exclusively by the industry, since they require a high investment and

more complex developments. There is here an invitation to consider the cultivation of plants

medicinal products as a viable agro-industrial alternative, easy to develop, with

interesting markets and a lot of future.

It is important to emphasize the advantage of the cultivation and use of

medicinal plants from the point of view of satisfying with them the needs

primary health care, thus reducing the strong costs that they represent for the

user the acquisition of certain commercial medicines and from the

synthetic chemistry. In the face of health emergencies in remote places, plants and

Natural medicinal products are a good option.

This booklet corresponds to number seven (7) of the series of agro-industrial booklets

of the Agroindustrial Productive Units for Alternative Development Project

(UPAR) of the Andrés Bello Agreement (CAB), whose main purpose is

present to the governments of the member countries of the Andrés Bello Agreement

scientific and technological alternatives for the implementation and management of systems

Integrated Agricultural Production within the framework of sustainable agriculture and

bioecological practices to be transferred and socially appropriable in the

rural social groups.

The authors




Plants make two types of chemical components: the principles

immediate and the active principles.

Immediate principles are substances that do not have pharmacological activity (do not

act as a medicine) on the animal organism, they are produced by plants

food and are essential for nutrition. Within these principles

we can name proteins and lipids, among others.

Medicinal plants are the plants that produce the active ingredients, which

have beneficial or harmful activity on the body, for example: a water

aromatic (infusion) of coca leaves is an excellent digestive tonic after

a hearty dinner, while chemically processed to obtain the

cocaine hydrochloride and inhaled produces a negative addictive effect for the


Medicinal plants serve to reduce or neutralize diseases, relieve and

restore lost health. Within the group of medicinal plants are

aromatic plants, spices and beekeeping.

Aromatic plants also produce active principles but these are

fundamentally essences; spices are plants that man has used

since ancient times for its characteristics to give color and flavor to food,

They are widely used in confectionery, liquor, culinary, in general in the industry



food; Examples of these plants are thyme, cardamom, mint, anise,

fennel, basil, mint and bay leaf; finally there are the plants

beekeeping that are those that serve for bees to make honey and other

products in the hives.

The nutrients, the type of soil, the water, the sun, the wind, among other factors, influence the

synthesis of the active principles.


The active principles give special characteristics to each plant and are

elaborated in it: the root acts as a pump that absorbs the nutrients of the



soil, the stem carries them together with the sap to the leaves that are the laboratory of the

plant, since most of the metabolism processes are carried out there; where

Compounds of different classes are synthesized. As the process of making

the immediate and active principles is carried out in the plant, it must be taken into account

account the kind of nutrients, the type of soil, the water, the amount of sun and other

variables, but above all, it is very important that the cultivation of the plants

medicinal products is natural, clean, organic, free of impurities and contaminants that

can be processed by the plant and therefore consumed by man. HE

want an organic crop because herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and

chemical fertilizers, alter the natural conditions and states of plants,

distorting and changing the useful essence of its principles and its derivatives.



Medicinal plants have common names by which people know them.

or identifies, many times the names change from region to region and with more reason

from country to country; In addition, each language has a name for medicinal plants,

for this reason the botanists organized them with names and surnames in a system of

classification that allows anyone to identify the plant. the vegetable kingdom

It is divided into families, genera and species, the family is established by the

similarities of the flowers between a plant and others, within the families there is a genus

that many plants can share and finally there is the species, which

difference from their relatives. Then we have that each plant belongs to a

family, genus, and species.

May plants be your food and your food your medicine



For example:

Common name Family Scientific name

Basil Labiada Basil basil

Calendula Asteraceae Calendula officinalis

Cedron Verbenaceae Aloysia triphylla

Eucalyptus Myrtaceae Eucalyptus globulus

Fennel Umbellifera Foeniculum vulgare

Lipped Marjoram Origanum majorana

Satureia brownii Pennyroyal

Rosemary Lipped Rosmarinus officinalis

Ruda Rutaceae Ruta graveolens

Lipped Thyme Thymus vulgaris

Melissa Lipped Melissa officinalis

Table No. 1 Families of some medicinal plants.

There is a different classification to botany, according to the function that the

medicinal plants play, they can be divided as relaxing plants,

digestive, circulatory, hepatic, cleansing, respiratory, for the skin, for the

rheumatic problems, for the eyes, mouth and ear, for women and to improve the

immune system. Many plants classify into two or more groups since their

Active principles serve to solve more than one discomfort or indisposition.

There are disorders that are part of the normal development of life, they do not become

pathologies but can be managed with appropriate plant treatments



medicines, however, if symptoms continue or worsen, consult

a health professional.

Relaxing plants: are those that contribute to relaxation and recovery

of balance; anxiety, tiredness, insomnia and depression are disorders

that sometimes affect people and these plants help to overcome them. They appear

Within this group, valerian, passion flower, verbena, lemon balm, hops,

poppy, lavender and oats.

Digestive plants: they are repairing plants for digestive disorders caused by

due to an unbalanced diet and the incidence of stress. are inside

this group, ginger, chamomile, gentian, anise, fennel and pennyroyal, among


Circulatory plants: they have the virtue of improving blood circulation and

various common ailments such as varicose veins. Nettle, Rosemary, Ginkgo

biloba, linden, olive and mistletoe.

Liver plants: when we eat, food follows a route that includes

to the liver and gallbladder within the digestive system; little food

adequate overload of work on these organs and generates disorders that require

careful. Nature offers milk thistle, chicory, boldo, mugwort and

turmeric to prevent or cure these ailments.

Purifying plants: they are those that act as antiseptics, diuretics and help

in problems such as fluid retention, urinary tract infections and

kidney stones. Juniper, corn silk and parsley are excellent for

help evacuate fluids.

Respiratory plants: respiratory ailments are very common, they occur

frequently and range from colds to bronchitis or asthma, the plants of



this group stimulate the elimination of toxins and contribute to the well-being of the

sick, as they often trigger a more lasting cure than that of the

drugs. Eucalyptus, plantain, elder, mallow, marshmallow, lemon, and

hyssop are excellent allies against infections, colds and coughs.

Plants for the skin are those that provide moisturizing, healing,

emollients and moisturizers for your care. Calendula, horsetail,

aloe vera, dandelion and borage are wonderful for the skin.

Plants for rheumatic problems: these medicinal plants are the basis of

many medications, relieve joint pain, back pain,

sprains and muscle pulls. They include celery, basil, cayenne, willow

white, marjoram, primrose and meadowsweet.

Plants for the eyes, mouth and ear: in these parts are located many of the

minor conditions that frequently cause oral problems, headaches,

ear and conjunctivitis can be treated with plants such as sage, mint,

myrrh, oregano and cloves.

There are plants that serve to maintain good health, help to avoid

diseases and strengthen the immune system. Ginseng, garlic and

echinacea are part of this group.


Medicinal plants have many properties, the active principles that

they constitute give them a character and definite actions. the flavors are different

and they can be sour, sweet, salty, spicy, bitter and astringent.

The following table presents brief information on the properties of

some plants.



Name Parties employed Property or action (See Final Glossary)

Agrimony Leaves and stems Astringent, diuretic, healing.

Garlic Teeth Antibiotic, expectorant, promotes perspiration,

Reduces cholesterol levels in the blood,


Basil Leaves Antidepressant, antiseptic, tonic, febrifuge,


Aloe Leaves and purgative gel, heals wounds, tonic, emollient,

Celery Seeds, stem, root, Antirheumatic, sedative, carminative.

Borage Leaves, flowers, seeds Diuretic, promotes milk production,


Calendula Flower Astringent, antiseptic, fungicidal, healing,


Cinnamon Bark Promotes sweating, digestive remedy,

antiseptic, antibacterial.

tooth of


Plant, leaves, root Diuretic, digestive tonic, hepatic, mild laxative.

Eucalyptus Leaves and essential oil Antiseptic, expectorant.

Ginger Root Circulatory stimulant, carminative,

antispasmodic, antiemetic.

Lavender Flowers and essential oil Relaxing, tonic for the nervous system, analgesic,


Chamomile Flowers Sedative, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic.

Lemon Balm Leaves. Sedative, antidepressant, relaxing, digestive, antiviral,


Mint Aerial parts Antispasmodic, analgesic, digestive tonic,

promotes sweating.



Name Parties employed Property or action (See Final Glossary)

Rosemary Aerial parts Astringent, digestive, antiseptic, carminative,

diuretic, antidepressant, circulatory stimulant.

Elder Flowers, fruits, bark Expectorant, anti-catarrhal, diuretic, stimulant


Thyme Aerial parts Expectorant antiseptic, relieves cough, astringent,

Table No. 2. Properties of some medicinal plants.


It is important for the use of medicinal plants to take into account the management that

It is done from the moment of harvesting to the medicinal preparation, since

depending on factors such as harvest time, moon phase, rainy season,

amount of light, among others, the yields and the quality of the principles vary


The collection is made from the different parts of the plants such as the

root, foliage, flowers, fruit and seeds, each has moments and times

appropriate for harvesting or harvesting, which must be taken into account.

How are the flowers collected?

Only the flowers that are well open and that are not wet are collected,

that is why it is recommended to harvest them when the dew has risen and in hours of the

noon or sunset.

Some flowers, such as marigolds, are collected by cutting them below the stem.

corolla, which is the green cup that surrounds each flower.



The collection of flowers.

Once harvested, the flowers are placed in a clean paper bag, in

enough quantity so that they are not too tight, it is closed with a thread or

cabuya to protect them from contamination with dust or other substances and

prevent insects from arriving.

The bags should be hung in a warm, ventilated place and left for a while.

necessary until the flowers become brittle.

Bags with flowers should be tightly closed and stored in a cool place.



The flowers are stored in paper bags

How are the stems and leaves collected?

The stems are collected with leaves, they are tied and once the ties are done, they are hung

down in a dry and ventilated place, away from direct sunlight.

Collection of stems and leaves.



When the leaves have dried and become brittle, they are removed and shredded.

The shredded leaves are kept in a dark colored jar tightly


The dried leaves are stored in dark, wide-mouthed, marked jars.

Leaves that are high in moisture or thick like comfrey

minor, the borage and the plantain are dried a little in the oven at a medium temperature or

lukewarm for about two hours and then crumble and store.

Like vegetables, medicinal plants are best when fresh, but

can be dried and then stored in tightly closed containers,

where it does not get direct sunlight due to the changes that it can produce in the

plant properties. Many of the herbs can be kept in this

Been for a year or a year and a half. If it is going to be used in your herbal preparations

dried, it should be remembered that the amount of them should be half that you would use if

was fresh.



How are the seeds collected?

Seed collection.

The seeds are collected to be used in remedies and to sow and replace the seeds.

harvested plants. The branch with the fruits is cut when the seeds have

formed and are drying; to collect them, the branches with fruits are hung towards

down on a cotton cloth tray or can be placed in a bag

of paper and hang them so that the seeds when detached fall into it.

How are the roots collected? After removing the root of the plant, it is soaked in cold water for an hour to

remove dirt and dirt. Once clean, the large root is cut

longitudinally. When it is dry, it is cut into small pieces and

Store in a paper bag. Bags must be kept in one place



warm and ventilated until completely dry and then put away

in a hermetically sealed jar.

Root Harvesting


The extracts are pharmaceutical preparations that, due to hygienic conditions and

preparation in its manufacture and packaging are carried out in laboratories

specialized, but at an informative level it is equivalent to preparing a juice, in which

add distilled water or another medium and medicinal plants. It is usually

they consider three types of extracts (according to Thomson);

• Fluid extracts that are those in which the volume of the liquid of the extract is equal

to the volume of the dry plant that has been used.

• The soft extracts, which are those in which the water has been partially removed.

until it has a consistency of ointment.

• The dry extracts, which are those from which all the water has been removed and

its appearance is that of a very fine powder.

This type of extracts whose process consists of drying the plant, pulverizing it and

Encapsulating it is an ideal method of managing bitter-tasting plants.



In phytotherapy different types of extracts are mixed to obtain the therapy

desired medicinal product and are usually presented in the form of elixirs, essences and



They are the extraction of the active principles of the plants by means of alcohol

ethyl, ether, a mixture of both, or liquors such as wine, vodka, brandy, pisco or

good quality gin.

Great care should be taken when purchasing alcohols and liqueurs for tinctures,

Well, if they are bought in unreliable places, that do not comply with legal regulations

may be adulterated with methyl alcohol (methanol) which causes very

serious to the human being (from blindness to death). should not be consumed

denatured ethyl alcohol, methyl alcohol, or isopropyl alcohol because they are


The preparation is done in a very simple way: by soaking or by maceration.

Preparation by soaking.

It is the technique similar to that of the aromatic liqueurs of the grandmothers, in which the parts

whole used plants, fresh or dried, are left to soak for

several weeks. You can use a ratio of 125 grams of dry herb or 300

grams of fresh herb for 600 milliliters of vodka, or half a liter of a mixture to

25% alcohol and water.

Then the plants are removed, strained and the tincture obtained is stored in bottles,

preferably amber in a dark, cool place.



Preparation of the tincture by soaking.

Preparation by maceration.

Once the plants have been chosen, the maceration is done with mortar or stone and

then it is mixed with alcohol or liquor, leaving it to rest for a while so that it


Then it is filtered and bottled in the same way as in the previous case.

A tincture in good storage conditions can last up to 2 years

without losing its properties.



Precautions with tinctures.

Special care should be observed in handling tinctures with people

diabetics, alcoholics, children and pregnant women. It is convenient the

dilution of absolute or high-grade alcohols in very pure water. The

liver conditions should not be treated with this type of application.

Except these indications, taken in moderate doses, 5 milliliters (1 teaspoon)

three times a day dissolved in water or fruit juice sweetened with honey, tinctures

They are very pleasant to the palate and it is a very effective and simple method.

to take the principles of most aromatic and medicinal plants.


It is the simplest and most common way to use medicinal herbs, it is very

used to cure ailments such as flu, indigestion or nervous breakdowns,

They are usually used after a large meal or in the hours

in the afternoon replacing tea. It can be drunk hot or cold.

The infusions are easily prepared:

Preparation of an infusion



Take a few grams of the fresh or dry plant, different parts can be used:

flowers, stems, leaves (this depends on the plant to be used, for example: mint is

they use the leaves, of the camomile the flowers or of the celery the stem and the leaves).

The plant is placed in a container and water is added almost to the point of

boiling (boiling water is not used because steam carries off much of the

volatile oils and valuable plant properties are lost).

The infusion is strained and consumed.

Let stand 5 to 10 minutes covered with a small plate or in a teapot,

strain and consume. They are generally prepared daily so that they do not lose

its active ingredients, that is, they can last 24 hours and can be consumed cold or



This is a stronger way of obtaining the active constituents of a plant, it is

done by placing a few grams (two teaspoons of dried herbs per cup of



water) of the plant (dry or fresh) in cold water and brought to a boil during the

time required for it to be reduced by one third.

Then it is strained and can be consumed hot or cold. The decoctions are very

used with roots, seeds, branches and stems, but also with leaves and flowers,

They have a 24-hour shelf life and must be prepared daily.

Preparation of a decoction

Extracts, decoctions and infusions can be used to prepare

compresses; that consist of soaking a piece of cloth (it can be linen or

cotton) in one of the previous preparations mixed with water, drain it and

apply it on the affected area (the head, an arm for example). The compress is

change once it cools down or dries out.

An action similar to that of the compress is that of the poultices, the

difference is that in these the grass extends directly over the area

affected. The fresh grass is cooked well, in such an amount that it covers the



affected, it is drained and applied hot on the affected area, to which

An oil has previously been applied so that the grass does not stick. To set

the poultice can be used a cotton bandage or gauze.


Preparation of syrups.

They are a way of preserving infusions and decoctions, honey or

sugar (possibly unrefined). Usually the same amount of

infusion or decoction and honey or sugar, shake with a wooden paddle, dissolve

well to the consistency of syrup, let cool and store in dark jars.

The most widely applied syrups are those prepared for coughing, they are very easy to

take and it is an easy way to give it to children.




Lotions are a water-based mixture that is applied to the skin as

remedy to refresh or soothe inflammations or irritations. Some lotions are

they add tinctures or essential oils to intensify their cooling effect.

The preparation varies according to the mixture to be made, but a lotion

It could include rose water, tincture of arnica, and lavender essential oil.


They are a way of taking advantage of the healing properties of some plants in the

skin, to treat wounds, burns, bruises and spills. The basis of the

ointments is Vaseline or beeswax, contrary to cream, they are not

absorbed by the skin, they form a protective layer on it. They are very well known

Arnica ointments for muscle aches and calendula ointments for


The preparation is very simple: the vaseline is heated in a container in a

pot over low heat, add the herbs, mix well with a spoon of

wood and keep on low heat for about two hours or until the herbs

they are crunchy.

Using rubber gloves as the mixture is hot, it is filtered and packed in

perfectly clean dark jars.

For any of these preparations the highest hygiene should be observed.

possible and choose the appropriate containers, preferring enameled, glass

refractory, stainless steel and avoiding iron, aluminum and alloys that

can cause health problems.



You can use 500 grams of Vaseline and 60 grams of dried plant.

Preparation of ointments.


Unlike ointments, creams seek rapid absorption of the

properties of plants as a whole of base oils and essential oils

that make it up Creams usually treat some problems

dermatological such as dermatitis, fungi, cellulite problems, varicose veins among others.

The preparation is a little more complex than that of ointments because it is a

mixture of water with fats or oils, however one way of preparing a

natural cream consists of:



Melt the wax, which can be from bees, and mix with water in a container at

water bath, add the herbs (for example calendula petals) and

heat for about three hours over low heat.

Then it is filtered and constantly stirred until it cools down, to finally

pack it with the help of a small spatula in preferably dark jars.

Preparation of the creams.


Plant active ingredients can be extracted into oil for use

in massages, creams and ointments. They can be prepared hot and cold and

They have a shelf life of one year.

Cold infused oils.

The procedure consists of filling a bottle tightly packed with the flowers and leaves.

large with a screw cap, and then a good quality oil is poured such as

garlic, grapes, olives or wheat germ until covered.



The bottle is left at rest, shaking daily for a period of not less than one month.

in a cool and dark place. It is then filtered by thoroughly squeezing the vegetable matter and

It is stored in a sterilized jar.

Cold infusion oil preparation.

This process is repeated using new plant matter and the already infused oil.


Hot infusion oils.

This method is similar to the previous one but more suitable for working with

moist, fleshy or juicy herbs such as borage.

To make an oil by hot infusion, it is placed over low heat, in a bath

of Maria vegetable oil with dry herbs. It is then strained through

a bag or household filter and store in a cool, dark place. Can

be kept for a year. The proportion is 500 ml. of oil (can be

sunflower) per 250 grams of dry vegetable matter or 750 grams if it is fresh.



Next, find a table with some of the ways to prepare

medicinal herbs.

Common name Forms of preparation

Agrimonia Infusion, tincture, decoction, compresses.

Garlic Extract in capsules, maceration of cloves, juice.

Basil Infusion, tincture, syrup, inhalations, essential oil

Celery Infusion, essential oil, tincture.

Borage Infusion, tincture, lotion, syrup.

Calendula Infusion, tincture, infusion oil, compresses and


Cinnamon Decoction, tincture, compresses, essential oil.

Cayenne Infusion, tincture, compresses, infusion oil.

Horsetail Decoction, poultice, rinse.

Dandelion Fresh leaves, tincture, infusion, decoction.

Echinacea Decoction, tincture, capsules.

Eucalyptus Inhalations, essential oil, compresses.

Gentian Decoction, tincture.

Fennel Infusion, decoction, tincture, essential oil.

Hyssop Infusion, tincture, syrup, essential oil

Ginger Decoction, tincture, essential oil, capsules

Lavender Infusion, tincture, cream, lotion, essential oil.

Marshmallow Syrup, infusion, decoction, tincture and ointment.

Chamomile Infusion, tincture, ointment, eye bath, essential oil.



Common name Forms of preparation

Mint Infusion, tincture, essential oil, compresses.

Orange Decoction, tincture, essential oil.

Rosemary Essential oil, infusion, tincture, compresses.

Sage Decoction, tincture, infusion, compresses, rinses.

White Willow Liquid extract, tincture, decoction

Elderberry Infusion, tincture, cream, syrup.

Thyme Infusion, syrup, tincture, gargles, essential oil.

Melissa Infusion, tincture, compresses, infusion oil, oil

essential ointment

Valeriana Compresses, infusion, tincture.

Verbena Ointment, infusion, tincture

Zábila Fresh gel, ointment, tincture.

Table No. 3 Forms of preparation of some medicinal plants.


Aromatic plants are a group of medicinal plants that produce all or

partially its active principle in the form of essence. aromatic plants have

multiple applications ranging from the well-known infusion to distillation for

get the essential oils.

The essential oils of aromatic plants are a mixture of substances

aromatic concentrated in the form of tiny drops in different parts of the

plant: the leaves, the root, the flowers, the stem and the seeds. For example, when taking

a tangerine or orange peel and press it, you see a few tiny letters come out



drops that leave a delicious smell of fruit in the environment, those are the oils

essential, the same can be done with a basil or mint leaf when macerating it

between the fingers. Essential oils are like the soul of the plant, each oil

Essential oils are extracted from different parts of the plant.

it is a mixture of many compounds. Essential oils are unique, volatile,

insoluble in water and have many therapeutic properties; have great

application in aromatherapy, in the industry of cosmetics, perfumes and the area

pharmaceutical, among others.

Essential oils are highly concentrated substances, so they must be handled

With precaution. Very pure oils should be used, never adulterated, diluted in

a base oil in a percentage that can vary between 1 and 10%, depending

Remember the fact that even if a product is natural, this does not make it harmless.



of the application (for example for body massage the dilution can be maximum

at 3%), should not be ingested, should be kept in a cool, dark place, out of

out of the reach of children.

For essential oils to be effective, the plants from which they are obtained

must come from organic crops, cared for and collected with care and

attention, often in the trade are essential oils that

essentials have only the name, leaving much to be desired in terms of their efficiency and

therefore devaluing them as products with a great potential of


Depending on the application, the kind of plant and the part that is used for the

extraction of essential oils, there are several extraction techniques, being

those obtained by steam stripping the highest quality for medicinal use and

therapeutic because it does not contain residues.

Steam distillation method.

It is the simplest of the methods and resembles the obtaining of liquors in the

old stills. This method takes advantage of the property that the

water molecules in the vapor state to associate with oil molecules.

The equipment is very simple (see graph): it requires a steam generator that

it can be a simple pressure cooker or a boiler; a reactor or chamber

extraction which is an airtight container with an inlet and a steam outlet

where plant material (leaves, flowers, wood, seeds) is deposited, a

condenser, where the vapor is transformed into a liquid again and is collected in

a container called a Florentine glass which is a glass with a detachment that

facilitates the separation of water and oil.



The extraction is carried out when the pressurized steam comes into contact with the

cells of plant parts and breaks them, releasing the essence and trapping it

in the water droplets of the steam which then condenses in the still.

The oil obtained through this procedure is of high purity and only

requires a redistillation to finish eliminating some drops of water that

They can get trapped in the oil.

Steam distillation method.

The essential oils obtained with this technique are widely used in treatments

medicinal, homeopathic and aromatherapy. For example, essential oils

Anise and mint are used as flavorings and lavender in perfumery.

Pressed, screwed or expresión method.

It is the most used method to extract the essential oil found in

housed in the peel cells of all citrus fruits (orange, tangerine,

pomelo, lime).

The procedure consists of taking fragments of the shell and squeezing them between the

fingers against a sponge. After many peels and a lot of patience, the



sponge is saturated with the essential oil and can be squeezed into the container that is leaving

store. The quality of the oil thus obtained is good. Industrially it is used

a hydraulic press and then it is filtered and distilled, but the quality of this oil is


Method of pressing or expression.

Efleurage method.

It is an ancient technique, in which animal or vegetable fats are used for the

essence extraction. It consists of large grease-smeared trays on which

plant material is spread, which is changed regularly until the

fat is saturated. The fat thus obtained is treated with alcohol which is then distilled to

get the gist. It is a good alternative although it does not give great yields,

since it is a simple way to extract the essential oil of the flowers and of

some plants that cannot be obtained with steam stripping.



Industrial method of extraction by carbon dioxide.

It is a similar method to steam stripping but instead of water it uses carbon dioxide.

carbon to blow up the cells. The oils obtained in this way are

of very good quality but requires equipment, assembly and

large and expensive infrastructure so it is generally used by industry


Industrial solvent extraction method.

This method takes advantage of the property of the aromatic parts of the

plants to dissolve in some solvents from which they will later be separated. Of

In this way, the fragrances of some flowers and resins such as myrrh are obtained.

It requires a laboratory with technology and it is found as an inconvenience the

that the solvent cannot be totally separated, so the essential oil

obtained is not pure. The extractions obtained are used basically in the

perfume industry.


The consumption of essential oils in the industry is very varied and ranges from

aromatize soaps and shampoos to the elaboration of food and perfumes.

According to estimates by the World Health Organization, at least 80% of

the world population depends mainly on medicines and treatments

natural. Even in industrialized countries, 40% of drugs come from

Natural sources. Many medicines are made from ingredients

natural and others are synthetic copies or artificially modified varieties of

natural chemicals.

Most of the medicines have their origin in the compounds of the




In the pharmaceutical industry.

This is one of the branches of the industry that consumes essential oils, in

both allopathic and homeopathic preparations. This is how the eucalyptus is

used in syrups for respiratory conditions and rosemary and arnica for pain

rheumatic or muscular

Agro-industrially there is an unexploited potential, since it is possible to carry out

prepared with both essential oils and hydrosols to repel

pests or control damage caused by fungi or viruses, since aromatic plants use their

essential oils as a defense to protect themselves from the attack of insects and insects

diseases. Chamomile is used with great success for gout attacks in the

potato and tomato, and garlic and chili against the potato fly and the fly eaters


Pharmaceutical applications of essential oils: hydrosols, syrups and creams.



Veterinary preparations can also be made with rosemary and lemongrass to

control insects such as the nuche (horsefly) and fleas.

In the cosmetic and perfume industry.

Soaps, perfumes and scented waters are some of the products that can be made

for the cosmetic industry.

In the cleaning products industry, lemongrass and lavender are used to perfume

and disinfect. In the fine soap industry, the aroma of soaps is a mixture

of fragrances and essential oils of flowers, woods and aromatic plants. The

manufacture of shampoos uses the properties of medicinal plants and

essential oils, to offer products for each type of hair, for example

chamomile shampoo for light hair and rosemary for dark hair.

They have a wide application in cosmetic products, since they are not only used for

provide aroma, but take advantage of the aromatherapeutic properties

of some oils, such as orange for the treatment of cellulite. The

Essential oils have been the pillars of the perfume industry, until the beginning of the

In the 20th century, perfumes were obtained from animal musks, resins and oils.



essential, then thanks to modern chemistry were synthesized most of the

fragrances. However, a good essential oil of roses or jasmine will never be able to

be matched by the synthetic “copy”. This is why perfumers prefer

essential oils of natural origin.

In the food industry.

Another of the industries that requires more essential oils is the food industry, especially

all taking into account the orientation of the consumer towards foods of origin


There are products such as honey, oils and vinegars, pickles and

sausages with aromas and flavors of different plants such as basil, rosemary

and the oregano. Drinks as popular as coca cola contain essential oil of

lime and liquors such as brandy, anise essential oil. In the confectionery

They are used for flavoring and flavoring.

Applications of essential oils in the food industry: honey, oils,

vinegars, drinks and sweets.

Peppermint oil is consumed in large quantities in the tobacco industry

for the elaboration of menthol cigarettes.



In aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy is the use of pure, naturally extracted essential oils.

in order to improve the quality of spirit, mind and body, achieve healing

disease and develop human potential.

Essential oils have antiseptic properties, they can be used in

liquid or vapors. This practice is very useful in the rooms of

sick and in public places (residences, hospitals or schools) as an action

therapeutic and preventive.

They also have antitoxic capacities, since they are capable of inhibiting processes of

decomposition, it is not a coincidence that the essences were used in Antiquity

for the embalming processes of the bodies.

Aqueous solutions of essential oils, especially from plants such as

lavender, sage, rosemary and thyme, facilitate tissue repair processes,

They help in healing and prevent infections.

The essences enter into a relationship with man through two routes of absorption: the

smell and skin. They penetrate the organism influencing the mind and body.

Essential oils and smell: It is believed that essential oils exert their

action through smell thanks to the nervous system and therefore work on the mood,

on memory and learning ability.

The aromatic substance melts in the air and to perceive the smell it is necessary that

it reaches the upper part of the nostrils where the fibers are



Essential oils and smell.

Nerves, which send information to the brain. Memories associated with smells

are very intense, but the increase in environmental pollution has led to

the decrease in olfactory abilities and, therefore, in the ability to

recognize smells.

Essential oils and the skin: Through the skin they exert action on the cells and in

the tissues. If the skin is rubbed with an essential oil, the tiny molecules

that compose it become soluble in the fats of the skin, crossing with

quickly the outer layers and reaching the blood capillaries.

From there, they enter the bloodstream, and are transported to cells and fluids.




Essential oils and the skin.

It has been verified experimentally that the essences can be found in

blood within one to several hours after application to the skin. When

uses an oil in a painful area of ​​the body, it acts on the organ

disease that is under the skin, thanks to its high propagation power.

Aromatherapists advise the use of essential oils by rubbing even though it is

enjoy good health to increase vitality and energy.


Medicinal plants are the laboratory of nature, they nourish, help to

restore health and prevent disease. They have many applications, no.

only as infusions or compresses that are commonly known and applied by

oral, family tradition or regional customs but from them have been identified



more than 12,000 active principles and with complex industrial processes serve to

prepare allopathic, homeopathic, naturopathic medicines, flower essences

and others.

From naturopathy, the preparations that have been treated in this primer, can

have the following dosage:

For infusions the dose is 2 to 3 cups per day. Lower in children or people of

advanced age.

The infusions can be kept refrigerated or in a cool place, up to 24


For the decoctions the dose is 3 to 4 per day, they can be kept the same as the

infusions only that these last up to 48 hours.

Hot and cold oil infusions last for one year, although it is

It is recommended to use them before six months.

Tinctures are handled with a teaspoon diluted in 25 milliliters of water or juice

of some fruits, two or three times a day. More than 20 drops are not recommended for

children under seven years of age. Tinctures should be stored in a dry and

fresh for up to two years.

Creams and ointments should be applied with a gentle but firm massage onto the skin.

skin in a small amount, 2 to 3 times a day. Lotions are applied with

cotton or gauze on the surface to be treated, 2 or 3 times a day.

As an aid when you do not have adequate measuring instruments, there are

Here is a utility equivalence table:



Millilithros 1 mL 5 mL 12 mL 60-70 mL 100 ml


20 drops



I teaspoon

I tablespoon

tureen I glass of wine I cup of coffee

Table No. 4 Equivalences.

However, professional advice from a naturopathic physician or

homeopathic for the proper prescription, application, and dosage of any of

the presentations of medicinal herbs when the ailment to be treated is

complicates and symptoms do not go away.

In homeopathy, the remedies used can come from many sources, although

most are prepared from plants, minerals, poison from

insects, reptiles and other toxic substances. Here is the clarification that should not

cause alarm the toxic origin of some of the medicines, because the remedies

Homeopathic medicines are prepared so diluted that they do not present any danger.

Homeopathy considers the patient as an integral being, taking into account

all aspects of the person, the illness that afflicts them, their temperament,

what you think and feel, therefore homeopathic treatment is prescribed

individually by a doctor graduated and specialized in this field. The

remedies are characteristic for each patient and dosages vary from

according to diagnosis. Remember that you should never self-prescribe.




Without detracting from the efficacy and convenience of drugs of chemical origin, the

Medicinal plants have certain advantages:

They exert a global action on the organism due to the interaction of their

active principles.

- Serve as a complement to treatments with conventional medicines.

- The effect may be slower than that of conventional medicines but it is

more durable.

- They tend to stimulate actions of protection and regulation of the functions of the

body and have fewer side effects, which allows treatments

but wide.



The production of medicines and preparations from medicinal plants

must carry a careful process of elaboration that in general terms


A place properly arranged, isolated to avoid contamination and loss of

therapeutic properties, with indirect natural light lighting (avoiding light

direct sunlight, which with its ultraviolet rays can alter some medications)

or artificial light, it must also handle a dry environment with adequate ventilation.

adequate. The floors and walls must be easy to clean, the tables in tiles or

stainless steel.



The materials used in the preparation must be resistant to temperatures

high, easy to clean and should not release particles of its composition to the

preparation or medication, that is, it must be as inert as possible so as not to alter

what is being prepared. Materials used include glass,

cork, porcelain and others.

There must be a quality control of raw materials, processes and materials

completed, using resources such as physical and chemical analysis.

For the preparations that are made at home, the same rules must be observed.

preparation: clean hands, an apron and tied hair, the utensils and

workplace must be neat and orderly. Items must be sterilized

with boiling water.

In the preparation of medicinal products, all hygiene and hygiene regulations must be complied with.





With the rebirth of knowledge about the properties of plants

medicinal products, the increase in the use of its active ingredients in modern medicine

and the tendency of the new generations to opt for the use of products

natural and biological; markets for medicinal plants become

a real and competitive alternative.

Medicinal plants have many market possibilities, the opportunity

to sell them fresh is just the first one, later, there is a whole range

of intermediate or finished products that provide added value

important to your crop.

Dehydration is a process that can be implemented to preserve the

properties of medicinal plants, the preparation of extracts, ointments,

creams, syrups, infusion oils and essential oils are products that

take advantage of the active principles and that are required by the industries

pharmaceutical, cosmetic, perfumery, that of aromas, flavors and condiments and

even the incipient industry (in Latin America) of products for

aromatherapy and alternative medicine.

Growing aromatic plants is a good alternative for small and medium-sized

producers that allows diversification in crops and some income

important, taking advantage of the processing of medicinal plants to

supply local demand and that required by industries. Also on sites

retired from urban centers the farmer can maintain a small garden

planted medicine that you can go to solve common ailments.




APPENDIX A. Glossary.

Amenorrhea: absence of menstruation.

Analgesic: relieves pain.

Anesthetic: which cancels the sensitivity to external stimuli.

Antibacterial: that prevents the development of bacteria.

Antibiotic: that has the ability to prevent the development of microorganisms

or destroy them.

Antiemetic: which prevents vomiting.

Anticoagulant: prevents the formation of blood clots.

Antispasmodic: relieves muscle spasms.

Antifungal: relieves infections caused by fungi.

Anti-inflammatory: with the ability to reduce inflammation.

Antipyretic: see febrifuge.

Antiseptic: prevents the development of germs, avoiding infection.

Antitussive: that calms the cough.

Astringent: which decreases secretion, coagulates blood and facilitates healing

of the wounds.

Cardiotonic: tones the heart.

Carminative: which decreases the formation of gases in the digestive tube and facilitates its


Healing: promotes wound healing.

Cystitis: inflammation of the bladder.

Cholagogue: stimulates and increases the expulsion of bile from the gallbladder.



Compresses: piece of cloth soaked in an extract, decoction or infusion with

hot water applied to sore areas to relieve muscle injuries or

help wound healing.

Scrubber: facilitates the expulsion of toxins.

Digestive: facilitates digestion.

Dyspepsia: difficult and painful digestion, chronic disorder of stomach digestion.

Dysentery: very strong diarrhea.

Diuretic: which causes or stimulates the elimination of urine.

Emmenagogue: causes menstruation or increases menstrual flow.

Emollient: that softens and soothes the skin against irritation.

Erysipelas: an infectious and contagious disease of the skin characterized by


Spasms: involuntary contraction of muscles.

Stimulant: that increases nervous excitement.

Stomachic: promotes digestive function.

Expectorant: favors the expulsion of phlegm and secretions accumulated in the

respiratory tract.

Febrifuge: capable of lowering fever.

Fungicide: product that kills fungi.

Galactogen: that favors the production of breast milk.

Gastroenteritis: acute inflammation of the stomach and intestines caused by

infections or as a side effect of certain medications.

Hemostatic: able to stop bleeding.

Hepatic: Pertaining to the liver.

Laxative: that favors intestinal evacuation smoothly.



Purgative: that causes a drastic evacuation.

Sedative: which reduces activity and nervous excitement.

Sudorific: that favors sweating.

Toning: that strengthens and restores the body.

Ulcers: very painful sores that appear in the stomach or intestine.

Vasoconstrictor: which causes the contraction of the walls of the vessels


Vasodilator: dilates blood vessels.

Oral route: expression that refers to the consumption of medications by mouth, such as

the case of syrups or capsules.

Vermifuge: that favors the expulsion of intestinal worms.

Vulnerary: that favors the healing of wounds.



ANNEX B. Common and scientific names of some plants


Common name Scientific name

Achicoria Chicoryum intybus

Agrimonia Agrimonia eupatoria

Ajo Allium sativum

Basil basil

Amapola Papaver rhoeas

Anise Pimpinella anisum

Celery Celery graveolens

Arnica Senecio handsome

Mugwort Mugwort vulgaris

Avena sativa oats

Boldo Let's sing boldo

Borage Borago officinalis

Calendula Calendula officinalis

Cinnamon Cinnamon Zeilanicum

Canelón Peperomia inequalifolia

Marian thistle Silybum marianum

Cayenne Capsicum fruscens

Cidrón Aloysia triphylla

Cilantro Coriander sativum

Clavus Eugenia caryophyllata

Horsetail Equisetum sp.



Common name Scientific name

Turmeric Curcuma longa

Dandelion Taraxacum officinale

Juniper common juniper

Echinacea Echinacea angustifolia

Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna

Eucalyptus Eucalyptus globulus

Gentian Gentiana lutea

Ginkgo Ginkgo biloba

Ginseng Panax ginseng

Hamamelis Hammamelis virginiana

Hinojo Feniculum vulgare

Hypericum Hypericus pierced

Hyssop Hyssopus officinalis

Ginger Zingiber officinale

Lavender Lavandula officinalis

Laurel The noble laurel

Lemon Citrus lemon

Plantain Plantago sp.

Hop Humulus lupulus

Corn Zea mays

Mallow Malva sylvestris

Malvavisco Althaea officinalis

Chamomile Matricaria chamomilla



Common name Scientific name

Marjoram Origanum majorana

Melisa or Toronjil Melissa officially

Mint Mentha piperita

Myrrh Commiphora myrrha (C. molmol)

Muérdago Viscum album

Naranjo Citrus sinensis

Nogal Juglans neotropical

Olive Olea europaea

Red elm Ulmus rubra

Oregano Oregano vulgaris

Stinging nettle Urtica dioica

Pasiflora Passiflora incarnata

Parsley Petroselinum sativum (P. crispum)

Poleo Mentha pulley

What Chichona pubescens

Common tick

Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis

Ruda Ruta graveolens

Salvia Salvia officinalis

White willow Salix alba

Elder Sambucus nigra

European Tilia linden

Common thyme Thymus vulgaris



Common name Scientific name

Valerian Valeriana officinalis

Verbena Verbena officinalis

Zabila Aloe vera, A. Barbadensis

Zarzaparrilla Smilax officinalis



ANNEX C. Some natural solutions to common ailments.

Discomfort Natural Solution

Arthritis To promote the elimination of toxins, prepare an infusion of a sprig of parsley and a sprig of wild carrot in a cup of boiling water, drink a cup three times a day. You can apply marjoram oil on the joints.

Stomach cramps Prepare an infusion with a teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds with three or four chamomile flowers in half a liter of water. Let stand 10 minutes, strain and let cool. If it is a baby to whom you are going to administer it, dilute with 50% water

Diarrhea Prepare an infusion of agrimony leaves with chamomile, take three times a day

Sore throat Prepare a strong infusion of purple sage leaves, add a little honey. Let cool, strain and gargle frequently. Warning: Avoid in people with epilepsy and administer in small doses in pregnant women.

Menstrual cramps Prepare a relaxing infusion of rosemary and marjoram.

Eczema Prepare some Comfrey Comfrey compresses: put 3 or 4 teaspoons of fresh dry rhizome without bark in half a liter of water, boil for 5 minutes, apply with a cloth or gauze on the affected area. You can also prepare the compresses by pouring medi

Constipation Prepare a flax seed laxative, leaving one or two tablespoons of seeds in a cup. Add 1/2 cup of cold water and let the grains swell and drink on an empty stomach.

Blows Apply arnica tincture compresses by mixing 1 teaspoon of tincture in half a liter of fresh water. Apply frequently.

Gout Prepare an infusion with a teaspoon of tincture of celery in half a liter of water. Avoid during pregnancy.

Herpes Squeeze a lemon balm leaf and apply the juice to the skin. You can also crush a garlic clove and rub it over the area.

Indigestion Prepare an infusion with mint leaves, lemon balm or orange peel. Drink a cup twice a day. The infusion of mint leaves is drunk after eating.

Irritable bowel Prepare a strong infusion with three tablespoons of fresh chamomile flowers or two non-dried ones in a cup of boiling water, strain and drink. You can also prepare a relaxing infusion with lemon balm (melissa) and some chamomile flowers in the middle

Lactation To increase milk production, prepare an infusion of slightly crushed fennel seeds in a cup of boiling water, let it rest for ten minutes and drink twice a day. You can combine it with panela water.

Dizziness Chew crystallized ginger, for young children gingerbread cookies.

Nausea Prepare an infusion of mint leaves, let stand, covered, 10 minutes and sip it as hot as possible. You can also prepare the infusion by mixing equal parts of mint leaves, lemon balm, and chamomile flowers.

Athlete's FootApply calendula ointment to the affected area. You can prepare an infusion of calendula with the flowers, let it cool and wash the affected area frequently.

Sleep problems To sleep well, prepare an infusion of chamomile flowers or lemon balm leaves; If you are going to use it in children, use a teaspoon of chamomile flowers and a sprig of lemon balm, strain, let cool, and dilute half of the infusion in water or

Common cold An infusion prepared with two teaspoons of dried or fresh elderberry, in a cup of boiling water. Let stand for 10 minutes, drink hot.

Nervous tension Prepare an infusion of lemon balm leaves, let stand, covered, 10 minutes. Drink a cup in the morning and another at night. You can also prepare a bath with about two handfuls of lemon balm leaves in a liter of water, leave to rest for 20 minutes and then

Cough Take 1 milliliter of anise tincture three times a day. You can also do a chest massage with 10 drops of anise essential oil in 25 milliliters of base oil (sesame, olive, sunflower).





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