Herbal medicines are an alternative treatment in the SUS

 The benefits of  medicinal plants  and  herbal medicines  are recognized all over the world as important elements in the prevention, promotion and recovery of health. To expand access to these medicines, the Ministry of Health makes the use of herbal medicines available in the public network. Currently, 12 drugs are offered by the Unified Health System. Among them are  Aloe vera  (Aloe) for the treatment of psoriasis and burns,  Salix Alba  ( Willow ) against back pain and  Rhamnus purshiana  ( Cáscara-sagrada ) for constipation.

Financed with resources from the Union, states and municipalities, the drugs can be manipulated or industrialized, and must be registered with the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa). The products are offered in 14 states: Acre, Amazonas, Bahia, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Pará, Paraíba, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Sergipe, São Paulo, Tocantins and the Federal District.

They are drugs that play an important role in care against pain, inflammation, disorders and other discomforts, expanding safe and effective treatment alternatives by the SUS. Indicated for the symptomatic relief of low severity illnesses and for short periods of time, herbal medicines can be produced from fresh or dried plants and their derivatives that gain different pharmaceutical forms, such as syrups, solutions, pills, ointments, gels and creams.

The Secretary of Science, Technology and Strategic Inputs of the Ministry of Health, Carlos Gadelha, explains that investments in research for the production of medicines, from the Brazilian flora, contribute to the population’s access and their rational use. “The development of herbal medicines in Brazil incorporates the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental, in the same initiative”, he observes.

Like all medicine, herbal medicine should be used according to medical advice. To gain access, the user has to look for a professional – a doctor legally qualified to prescribe herbal medicines – at one of the basic health units in the 14 states that make these medicines available. In these units, citizens can receive free medical care. With a personal identification document and the updated prescription in hand, the patient can pick up the medication at one of the pharmacies in these basic units.

PHYTOTHERAPY IN SUS  – The promotion of access to herbal medicines began in 2007, with the availability of  Maytenus ilicifolia ( Espinheira-santa ), used in the treatment of ulcers and gastritis, and  Mikania glomerata  ( Guaco ) by state and municipal health departments , indicated for flu symptoms. In 2008, the Federal Government approved the National Program of Medicinal Plants and Herbal Medicines. The program aims to guarantee the population safe access and rational use of medicinal plants and herbal medicines.

The program guidelines are the promotion of research, development and innovation; the regulation and production of herbal medicines and supplies based on medicinal plants and the cultivation and management of these plants. These guidelines also include distribution by SUS; commercialization by the private sector; training of human resources and guidance to users. The initiative, in addition to improving the population’s access to integrative and complementary treatments – safe and effective – promotes the sustainable use of Brazilian biodiversity, the strengthening of family farming and the technological and industrial development of health.

This year, the program gained strength with the transfer by the Ministry of Health of R$ 6.7 million to 12 municipalities in seven states, to support the project Local Productive Arrangements of Medicinal Plants and Herbal Medicines in the SUS. The amount is aimed at investing in the acquisition of equipment and materials, hiring personnel and technical qualification to promote interaction and cooperation between productive agents, the development of the entire production chain, the production and distribution of medicinal plants and herbal medicines in the SUS .

Jeanne Kenney
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I’m a stylist trainer, a content creator, and an entrepreneur passion. Virgo sign and Pisces ascendant, I move easily between my dreams, the crazy world I want, and my feet on the ground to carry out my projects.

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