English for PTA


The use of plants and plant products for medicinal purposes is very old. But it wasn’t until the early 1970s that the age of clinical phytotherapy truly began. The World Health Organisation published several monographs on the quality, safety and efficacy of medicinal plants.

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When reading literature on phytotherapy, the term “herbal medicinal products”, abbreviated to HMP, is often used to describe such products. HMPs have been classified as a regular discipline of natural orthodox science-oriented medicine, and have been in use in Germany since at least the 6th century. Phytotherapy is seen as a so-called allopathic discipline, as the effects that are expected from HMPs are directed against the causes and symptoms of a disease.

PTA: Guten Tag.
Female customer: Oh dear! I’m very sorry, but my German is very limited!

That’s not a problem, I speak English!
Thank goodness! Do you have oil of cloves?

Sorry, that’s a new one on me! Do you know the taxonomic name, by any chance?
Yes, I have it here. It’s Syzygium aromaticum.

Now I have it! That’s Nelkenöl in German! Do you mind me asking what you need it for?
Not at all! I need it for toothache. My Granny swore by it for any problems in the oral area and she died at age 97 with all her own teeth!

Amazing! I’ll just check the inventory to see if we have it. Yes, here it is. Oh, sorry we don’t have it in stock, but I can order it for you. If I do, it’ll be here by 4 o’clock this afternoon. Or would you like it delivered to your address?
Does it cost extra to deliver it?

No, we do not charge for the delivery.
Now that is a great service, but I only live around the corner from here, so I can pick it up later. Could you order a 50ml dropper bottle for me, please?

Of course. Do you need anything else?
Do you have witch-hazel lotion? I use it as a refreshing facial water. As it doesn’t contain alcohol, it doesn’t dry out the skin, and is astringent all the same.

Now that we have in stock. We sell it as a dilute herbal decoction.
How dilute is it?

We have this cleansing and toning lotion, for sensitive skin. Let’s see, it has a concentration of just one per cent.
That’s good, I’ll take that. Do you have horse chestnut extract, you know for “heavy legs”?

Would you like it as a cream or in tablet-form?
The cream please, I often get heavy legs in the summer.

Here are your purchases, and your pick-up slip. If you drop by at around 4:30 pm the oil of cloves should be here. See you later!
Thank you, see you later.

You can find this article at PTA IN DER APOTHEKE 08/2020 on page 102.

Catherine Croghan, Lecturer in English and native speaker

Phytotherapy Phytotherapie, Therapie mit Heilpflanzen
purposes Zwecke
efficacy Wirksamkeit
herbal pflanzlich
abbreviated abgekürzt
limited begrenzt
by any chance zufälligerweise
toothache Zahnweh, Zahnschmerzen
Granny Oma
swore by war (davon) überzeugt
inventory Vorrat, Lagerbestand
in stock vorrätig
delivered geliefert
dropper bottle Tropfflasche
witch-hazel virginische Zaubernuss, Hamamelis virginiana
astringent adstringierend
dilute verdünnt
herbal decoction Kräutersud
cleansing reinigend
horse chestnut Rosskastanie, Aesculus hippocastanum
purchase Einkauf
pick-up slip Abholschein