The majority of people are not aware of the importance of herbs as medicine thus the misconception about herbal drugs.
It is no news that all drugs are either synthesized from herbs or the main constituent from herbs. However, some Asian countries have upheld and embraced the use of herbs as medicine.
From the beginning of time, herbs had been the treatment of many illnesses and some herbs are very potent in preventive measures.
The major use of herbal medicines is for health promotion and therapy for chronic, as opposed to life-threatening, conditions.
However, usage of traditional remedies increases when conventional medicine is ineffective in the treatment of diseases, such as in advanced cancer and in the face of new infectious diseases.
Because you have waited, let’s take a look at what herbs as medicine entails.
What is herbal medicine?
Herbal medicine has its origins in ancient cultures. It involves the medicinal use of plants to treat disease and enhance general health and wellbeing.
Some herbs have potent (powerful) ingredients and should be taken with the same level of caution as pharmaceutical medications.
In fact, many pharmaceutical medications are based on man-made versions of naturally occurring compounds found in plants as earlier stated. A drug such as Green Malay Kratom is a product of Herb.
Why are herbs effective?
Herbs are effective because of the active compounds or ingredients they contain. The active ingredients of many herbal preparations are as yet unknown.
Some pharmaceutical medications are based on a single active ingredient derived from a plant source. Practitioners of herbal medicine believe that an active ingredient can lose its impact or become less safe if used in isolation from the rest of the plant.
According to herbal medicine practitioners, the effect of the whole plant is greater than its parts. Critics argue that the nature of herbal medicine makes it difficult to give a measured dose of an active ingredient.
Is herbal medicine safe?
This is among the top critics of the use of herbs as medicine. Herbal medicines are generally considered to be safe and effective agents.
This does not rule out the fact that some herbs can be toxic. And also, Herbal products are usually not evaluated for purity and consistency of active compounds, they also often contain contaminants.
Furthermore, the use of technology in modern-day herbal usage has really helped a lot in the evaluations of some of the side effects of herbs.
Importance of herbs as medicine
Below are some of the importance of herbs everyone ought to know;
- Theobroma cacao stem bark used in the western part of Nigeria as a concoction has an anti-anemic effect
- Some Herbs like aloe vera are effective for wound healing
- Many herbs are used as blood purifiers to alter or change a long-standing condition by eliminating metabolic toxins. These are also known as ‘blood cleansers. Certain herbs improve the immunity of the person, thereby reducing conditions such as fever.
- many studies have shown ginger to be useful in treating nausea, including motion sickness and morning sickness.
- Some herbs are also having antibiotic properties. Turmeric is useful in inhibiting the growth of germs, harmful microbes, and bacteria.
- To reduce fever and the production of heat caused by the condition, certain antipyretic herbs such as Chirayta and black pepper are very effective.
- Herbs such as marshmallow root and leaf serve as antacids
- Indian sages were known to have remedies from plants that act against poisons from animals and snake bites.
- Certain medicinal herbs have disinfectant property, which destroys disease-causing germs.
- There are herbs used as sedatives
- Certain herbs are used as stimulants to increase the activity of a system or an organ, for example, herbs like Cayenne
- Dong quai (dang gui) is used for gynecological complaints such as premenstrual tension, menopause symptoms, and period pain.
- There are herbs that can also rejuvenate a healthy as well as diseased individual.
Some disadvantages of herbs
- Like other drugs, herbal drugs can come with side effects ranging from mild to severe. Toxic side effects of herbal medicines used in traditional societies have typically not been reported.
- Lack of proper dosage can lead to complications
- Herbal medicines take too much time to act, and the entire process is very slow. They contain various ingredients which sometimes cause allergic reactions.
- Herbal medicines are not good for serious cases such as heart attacks and broken bones. These medicines are also ineffective in sudden illnesses and accidents.
- Also, most times people take herbal drugs without considering the medical history which is a step in the wrong direction.
- There is usually a high rate of drug to drug or drug to food interaction in the use of herbs as medicine
There is much importance of herbs as medicine however, the demerits cannot be overruled.
Caution must be taken in using herbal medicines. Even if they are harmless, they might cause your condition to get worse.
However, a lot of the products that are sold in the market are not properly inspected for safety or efficacy, so if you are going to use some products, make sure to use ones that are produced by well-known and respected companies.
It is highly advised against picking plants mixing your own remedies, that could be dangerous unless you have a better knowledge of the herbs.