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Pros And Cons Of Alternative Herbal Medicines

Nov 22, 2007
Alternative herbal medicines are considered to be preparations which contain only plant substances. A lot of herbal medicines are also known as herbal supplements. Herbal medicines are made from items such as flowers, tree bark, leaves, fruit, a variety of seeds, stems and some variety of roots. For numerous herbal medicines the efficacy has been proven but for many other herbal medicines they simply have not been thoroughly researched to determine their effectiveness in curing and dealing with diseases and illnesses.

Recently, the World Health Organization estimated that 80% of people worldwide rely on herbal medicines for some aspect of their primary healthcare. In the last twenty years in the United States, increasing public dissatisfaction with the cost of prescription medications, combined with an interest in returning to natural or organic remedies, has led to an increase in the use of herbal medicines. Since a lot of herbal medicines that are used by the public have not been thoroughly researched people ought to be concerned about the possible unwanted side affects that can result from using some of these alternative herbal medicine products. They should seriously consider whether they want to risk the potential harm that can occur from using some of these products.

Unfortunately some of the alternative herbal medicines used by the public are considered to have toxicity problems while some interact with synthetic drugs that people are taking and causing health problems. It is believed that Kava and Comfrey cause serious liver damage in people. Due to most herbal medicines not falling under some type of government regulation the quality of the herbal medications sometimes suffers and contamination and altering of the medicines do occur. This can cause health problems for people who take the products. Before you begin taking alternative herbal medicines you should consult with your physician. Follow the directions on the label and women who are pregnant or are nursing their baby might want to avoid taking them.

IF you decide to use alternative herbal medicines to help with illnesses you should consult with an expert who has been trained in herbal medicines. Herbal and other types of dietary supplements are currently controlled by the FDA and therefore are considered food items and are required to meet different standards and different guidelines for proving their safety and their effectiveness when compared to medicines. For a substantial numbers of alternative herbal medicines the active ingredients are not apparent due primarily to a lack of research. Some researchers suggest that an herbal supplement may contain numerous compounds; perhaps hundreds of compounds. Since herbal medicines have become popular with the public an increased amount of research is now going on concerning the effectiveness and the side affects of these products. You might want to search for the information that is currently available on the alternative herbal medicines that you are considering to use.

Alternative herbal medicines have been used for a variety of illnesses, for pain relief and health benefits. They have been used for such things as helping with pain from migraines, to prevent coughing, weight loss, for birth control, female infertility problems, sunburn problems, constipation and other health issues. There are resources available that provide information on the usefulness and the possible harmful side affects from using herbal medicines and supplements including the NCCAM Clearinghouse.
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