Advantages of Herbal Medicines

The debate regarding the use of herbal medicines continues up to this time. Practitioners in the field of medical science have still not released a consistent conclusion with regard to the validity of these medicines.

According to nutrition consultant, I.M. Laquatra, herbal medicines, with a growth rate of 25% per year, are considered one of the fasted growing segments of the alternative health industry. In the United States alone, the reported sales of herbal and botanical products came to $2.5 billion with 250 firms all over the country manufacturing these alternative medicines. Laquatra emphasized the need to disseminate information regarding the use of these products since pediatricians and other health care professionals face a growing trend of parents using herbal remedies for themselves and their children.

Laquatra enumerated several reasons why parents turn to herbal medicines. First is the distrust or fear of physicians. Recent marketing strategies, nowadays, exploit the image of underdog patients against the medical establishment. These strategies proved to be effective ploys as consumers are not always satisfied with their treatment. The second is reason is the growing popularity of so-called ‘natural products”. In an environment of fast food chains and Super Size Me, herbal cures have been considered better alternatives as recommended by folklore, hearsay, and tradition. Third is dissatisfaction with traditional prescriptions of drugs. Parents who have to deal with the chronic health problems of their children are sometimes compelled to use herbal solutions as they feel more in control with regard to the health of their children. Cultural influences are also a reason. Laquatra argues that herbal remedies play an important cultural role in society. Lastly, the growing acceptance of alternative remedies can be seen in the media coverages of these products. Ongoing debates about their validity have heightened interest within and even outside, the field of medicine.

In Jon Davis’ Are Herbal Remedies The Answer?, he claims that the question of whether herbal medicines are valid alternatives to traditional medicine is not as simple as ‘yes’ and ‘no’. He argues that in the past, herbal remedies have proven its validity and efficacy through their long history of trial and error.

Both Davis and Laquatra emphasized the importance of launching a campaign to disseminate information about herbal medicines. They argue that although herbal medicines are natural, they are not necessarily safe. There is limit to a person’s freedom to self-prescribe himself/herself with these alternatives. Davis continued by saying that if herbal medicines have been proven to treat minor ailments through long history of usage, then, there is no reason to hinder or prevent the patient from using such effective remedies. However, he warned that in cases that are of more serious nature, modern science will remain and still is the best option.

Although the question of whether herbal medicines [] are advantageous or not is still left unanswered, there are already lots of efforts being undertaken worldwide to create a framework for assuring the proper regulation, manufacture, and safety of these herbal alternatives.

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