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Herbal Medicines

The use of herbal medicine in modern science

Herbal medicine is a form of alternative medicine used to treat many health conditions and diseases. There are different herbs that work effectively in treating various health problems because the chemical substances that are found in them act on the body when a person consumes it.

Herbal medicine is not a new concept in the field of medicine. It has been used in healthcare since ancient times where you find details of different cultures benefiting from herbal medicine. Not only did primitive men use herbs as cure for health problems, it was also used to provide them with food, clothing and shelter.

In fact, most of the drugs found in the market today are all derived from herbs. In fact, some sources state that at least one basic ingredient of plant materials form a pert of most of the prescription drugs that are found in the United States. Even the WHO states that over 80% of the world’s population use some aspects of herbal medicine in their varied forms of health care processes.

Native American Indian medicine, naturopathic, traditional oriental medicine, ayurvedic medicine and homeopathic medicines all use some form of herbal medicine in their medications. Today many day to day health problems like heart disease, diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, pain and other problems are treated with commercial medications having substances derived from plants.

For example, to treat asthma and other respiratory problems, Ephedrine is used. This is an active ingredient that is found in the traditional Chinese herb, ephedra. Then there is the herb foxglove plant where its herbal extraction is used in modern medicine by powdering its leaves. This tends to stimulate cardiac digitalis, and thus provide relief to most heart patients.

Today, traditional Chinese Herbalism, Ayurvedic Herbalism and western Herbalism are some prevailing forms of herbal medicine. Though ayurvedic and Chinese Herbalism have developed into a successful system that treats various health disorders, western herbalism has not reached this point of success. It is yet to achieve this level of achievement and this is the reason it is still considered to be a form of folk medicine.

Some herbs used in Ayurveda are effective in reducing the diabetes and cholesterol levels in patients. Moreover, with the success of the herb St. John’s Wort replacing Prozac to treat mild depression, the use of herbal medicine has greatly escalated. Today Ginseng and Ginkgo Biloba is rising in popularity as an effective curing herbal medicine.

However herbal medicine in America can be marketed only as food supplements. So without any approval from the FDA, it is difficult and impossible for herb manufacturers and distributors to make any specific health claims. However if you do manage to get hold of herbal medicine, and intend to start using it, it is better to consult your doctor before doing so.

This is more so if you are a patient of diabetes or hypertension or pregnant and are taking regular medication. This is because some herbal medications tend to clash with the working of different medications meant to treat some specific health condition. So you may end up with a herbal medicine that only creates more health problems in you, than providing relief to you.


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