Easy to use and gentler than aromatherapy, Gemmotherapy offers a natural solution to many minor everyday ailments.
A branch of phytotherapy which is still little-known, Gemmotherapy, sometimes called "bud medicine", is based on a new galenic form of natural health care using macerations of buds, young shoots or rootlets. Gemmotherapy uses growing plant embryonic tissue, prepared fresh in a water-alcohol-glycerine mixture to obtain an extract known as a "glycerine macerate".
Let's find out how Gemmotherapy works, who it's for, what its benefits are and how to use it.
History of bud macerates
Traces of the use of buds can be found as far back as the Middle Ages.
Ancient pharmacopoeias mention the external use of poplar buds to make ointments and fir buds to make respiratory syrups and herbal teas.
The history of gemmotherapy or phytembryotherapy began in Belgium in the middle of the 20th century under the impetus of Pol Henry, a Belgian doctor, using pure macerates of buds, young shoots or rootlets.
In France, the use of buds was developed by Doctor Max Tétau, who gave the name Gemmothérapie to his 1/200 dilution process.
The term gemmotherapy is often confused with lithotherapy, but this is not the case! The etymology of the word gemmotherapy has its roots in the word gemmae, which means both bud and precious stone.
Principles of Gemmotherapy
Gemmotherapy is a tree-based therapeutic practice based on the use of plant extracts made from buds, the young shoots of trees and shrubs. These buds are macerated in a mixture of water, alcohol and glycerine (sometimes honey or agave syrup).
Gemmotherapy plant extracts are prepared by macerating plant buds or young shoots in alcoholic glycerine. After filtration, these macerates are diluted 1:10 in a mixture of water, alcohol and glycerine.
Plant buds are embryonic tissues in a phase of intense cell multiplication. They are rich in minerals, trace elements, vitamins and growth factors, such as phytohormones (auxins, gibberellins), enzymes and mineral sap supplied by the tree in spring.
In gemmotherapy, buds are considered to concentrate the benefits of the plant and offer a plant totum, i.e. all of the plant's active compounds.
"Buds contain the plant's evolutionary potential, as well as significant vital potential, since a single one of these embryonic cells can, in vitro, reconstitute the entire plant, proof that each meristematic cell contains all the plant's genetic information"
Extract from the book "Traité de Gemmothérapie" by Philippe Andrianne
The benefits of Gemmotherapy
Buds are very rich in trace elements and minerals, and contain a concentration of carbohydrates, vitamins and growth hormones (auxins, gibberellins). They are made up of stem cell meristems capable of regenerating the plant depending on the circumstances.
Gemmotherapy can provide natural help with:
- Regenerate weakened organs
- Drain clogged organs (cellular drainage)
- Detoxify the body
- Improve vitality
- Help to age better
The plant organs used in Gemmotherapy are in the growth phase (buds, young shoots). This is why Gemmotherapy is said to be regenerative, as the regenerative dynamics of tissues are specific to buds and young shoots.
Buds also combine the benefits of mature organs in a regulatory role.
Aromatherapy and gemmotherapy, what's the difference?
In Aromatherapy, essential oils are extracted by steam distillation of aromatic plants. In Gemmotherapy, extracts are made from tree and shrub bud macerates in a mixture of water, alcohol and glycerine.
Aromatherapy is very useful for relieving minor health problems by acting powerfully in the short term (to relieve a cold, for example, or muscular pains, a haematoma, etc.).
Gemmotherapy, on the other hand, has a longer-term, gentler focus, acting on chronic, long-term problems.
Aromatherapy and gemmotherapy are two complementary natural aids.
When should Gemmotherapy be used?
- To accompany chronic ailments
- To drain the body
- For a regenerating cure and to support better ageing
- To encourage tissue or organ regeneration
How should bud macerates be used?
What dosage should I choose?
Gemmotherapy remedies are made by macerating buds or young shoots in a mixture of water-alcohol-glycerine for at least 21 days. After filtration, we obtain what is known as a mother macerate or concentrated macerate.
You will then find two types of bud macerates:
- D1 macerate, i.e. a mother macerate diluted 1:10: 1 part mother macerate to 9 parts base liquid.
- Concentrated macerate, i.e. undiluted, offered as a dietary supplement. This macerate has more pronounced, original and sometimes delicious flavours (Blackcurrant bud macerate, Fig tree bud macerate, etc.).
Don't hesitate to test the dosage that suits you best by observing your body's reactions. Your healthcare professional will also be able to guide you towards the galenic form best suited to you.
For dosage, always refer to your therapist's advice and the dosages recommended by the manufacturer of your product.
Concentrated macerate dosage
The dosage generally recommended for gemmotherapy is:
- 5 to 15 drops a day, spread over several doses if possible, generally 5 drops three times a day, outside of mealtimes.
For children, ask a health professional for advice.
Diluted macerate (D1) dosage
- 1 drop per kilo of weight per day maximum in adults
Gemmotherapy cure duration
Treatments usually last a minimum of 21 days, with a 7-day break before starting any other course of treatment.
Most Gemmotherapy treatments are taken over 3 months, with a one-week break every three weeks.
Contraindications and precautions for use
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, always ask your doctor for advice. Some bud macerates are not suitable for this stage of life. For children, ask a health professional for advice.
- Always follow the recommended dosage and do not exceed the recommended daily dose.
- If you have a history of hormone-dependent cancer, avoid bud macerates with hormonal or endocrine activity (bilberry, bramble, raspberry, Virginia creeper).