Commonly called "medicine bud" gemmotherapy is part of the great family of herbal therapies, which propose to prevent and treat a variety of health problems with the plant.

Gem Latin term which means both bud and precious stone, gemmotherapy uses only fresh embryonic tissues of plants, trees and shrubs, that is to say, buds, young shoots and roots.

These embryos, macerated in a mixture of water, alcohol and glycerine, are used to make solutions in which are concentrated the active ingredients from herbs. They are called macerated. Their alleged healing properties vary, of course, depending on the plant from which they come: blackcurrants for energy, fir against cough, hawthorn for heart ... In addition, several products from gemmotherapy have in common diuretic, drainage or detoxification.

According to the theory, Buds possess certain therapeutic properties superior to those of various parts of the mature plant. The bud, being an embryo, would in him the potential of plant development, just like he was both the roots, stems, leaves, flowers and fruits. It also contains high concentrations of active elements such as hormones, trace elements, vitamins, minerals, etc.

Followers of gemmotherapy speak of the "totality" of the bud. Embryonic tissue would offer not only a higher content of active compounds, but a spectrum of action much larger than each of the plant parts taken separately.

For example, hawthorn bud, a frequently used gemmotherapy plant possess both the properties of the fruit (action on the heart muscle) and flower (action on heart rate). Even more evocative, linden bud combine the calming associated with the flower of this tree, and purifying and diuretic properties of the sapwood, the soft, whitish part that forms each year between the hard wood and bark.

For all these reasons, gemmotherapy is sometimes called "global herbal medicine." However, this "whole" should not be made a hard and fast rule. The bud is not always present all the properties of the plant. Growth can also play an important, if not essential, in the acquisition of certain properties. For example, the bud of raspberry does not have the high vitamin C content of the ripe fruit.
Macerate or dilution?

There are two schools of thought as to the preparation of gemmotherapy products. One favors the direct use of macerated, the other advocates a prior dilution, homeopathic type. Both are related to the historical development of the approach.

The use of buds in traditional medicine since the Middle Ages, alchemists of the era. They used including poplar buds for the manufacture of an ointment and those of the tree for the manufacture of syrups pectoral use. But it was not until the 1960s that Dr. Pol Henry (1918-1988), a Belgian doctor, is inspired by the discoveries on embryonic animal cells to lay the foundations of what he was name the "phytoembryothérapie".

The doctor then makes a clean form of extraction plant embryonic tissue. Buds are macerated in a mixture water-alcohol-glycerol for 21 days, then filtered. The resulting substance, called "mother-macerate" compares to the mother tincture, based on herbal solutions. The bud macerate is however less concentrated than the dye (20 to 1 rather than 10: 1). Usually is consumed diluted in a little water. The dosage varies depending on the product. In general, it takes 5 to 15 drops per day (in a single dose or with two or three a day).

During the 1970s, the homeopath Max Tétau renamed the "phytoembryothérapie" to "gemmotherapy" the name now recognized and accepted. Discipline not only changes name, but incorporates principles that resemble the theories and methods specific to homeopathy.

Thus, most laboratories market today buds extracts in the form 1D, that is to say ten times more dilute than the original macerate. Another distinction: the starting preparation does not include water. The buds are macerated in alcohol and glycerin only, which goes against the precepts of Dr. Henry wanting that water is essential to the extraction of the active components of the plant.

Although it draws on homeopathy, 1D preparation is not, strictly speaking, a homeopathic solution. On the one hand, it remains relatively concentrated, that is to say, it still contains many active elements, not just simple "vibrations" specific to homeopathic solutions. Moreover, the manufacture of the 1D normally do not include boosting the agitation of the solution process, essential to homeopathy.

Supporters of the original recipe, including the author and botanist Philippe Andrianne (see Books, etc.), reject the 1D solution. They consider, in particular, as less convenient. The number of drops being a function of the dilution should take up more than one hundred per day!

Among enthusiasts 1D solution, calls for safety. According to them, as they are more dilute, these preparations may prove safer for people who could show intolerant product.

The two schools of thought, however, agree on the direction that should take gemmotherapy. The aim should be the development of new therapeutic preparations derived from the combination of various plant extracts or other natural substances. For example, an anti-allergy product could be made of rosemary and black currant buds, added propolis, a vegetable product produced by bees.

Last edited: 2015-12-07