The use of herbs and spices for medicinal purposes has been in existence for as long as mankind has been. This practice, which involves the use of a plant’s seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark, or flowers as medicine, is known as herbal medicine, botanical medicine or phytomedicine.
Though this practice has served humans for centuries, with the surge in the use of herbal medicine, there are increasing evidence that suggest that caution be applied in the use of herbal medicine.
Common herbs like Aloe vera, ginger, garlic among others have been found to be dangerous when taken by persons with certain underlying health challenges.
Why the rise in herbal medicine?
According to Mr Martins Ekor, a pharmacologist, “the general perception that herbal remedies or drugs are very safe and devoid of adverse effects is not only untrue, but also misleading. Herbs have been shown to be capable of producing a wide range of undesirable or adverse reactions some of which are capable of causing serious injuries, life-threatening conditions, and even death.
“The recent resurgence of public interest in herbal remedies has been attributed to several factors some of which include various claims on the efficacy or effectiveness of plant medicines; preference of consumers for natural therapies and a greater interest in alternative medicines; erroneous belief that herbal products are superior to manufactured products; dissatisfaction with the results from orthodox pharmaceuticals and the belief that herbal medicines might be effective in the treatment of certain diseases where conventional therapies and medicines have proven to be ineffective or inadequate; high cost and side effects of most modern drugs; improvements in the quality, efficacy, and safety of herbal medicines with the development of science and technology; patients’ belief that their physicians have a movement toward self-medication.
“The increasing utilisation of herbs for self-medication by patients or individuals is also attributed to a number of other reasons such as patients being uncomfortable about discussing their medical problems and fear lack of confidentiality in handling their health information; fear of possible misdiagnosis and wrong treatment by patients with non-specific symptoms or general malaise and lack of time to see a physician. click next to continue reading..