Herbal Medicines and their Related Concerns

Herbal medicines are natural compounds extracted from plants’ leaves, roots, bark, flowers, and seeds used for medicinal purposes. The use of herbal medicines dates back to ancient times as they have therapeutic properties. These medicines are made from natural ingredients extracted from plants and herbs. 

Nowadays most people are turning away from prescribed medicines and switching to herbal medicines. Let’s find out more about the use and benefits of taking herbal medicines. 

What are Herbal Medicines? 

Herbal medicines can be defined as botanical products derived from natural plants used to prevent and treat various illnesses. They fall under the category of complementary and alternative medicines. 

Many studies have been conducted to determine the factors behind taking herbal medicines. It was found that these medicines were used by people because they were dissatisfied with conventional medicines. Many others use herbal medicines to treat mild medical issues or before starting conventional medicines. 

Herbal medicines are also consumed for various other reasons such as improving immunity, increasing energy levels, and enhancing mood and sleep quality. 

According to the World Health Organization, 88% of the countries in the world use herbal medicines. It is to be noted here that most pharmaceutical drugs originate from herbal medicines. 

What is the correct way to take Herbal Medicines?  

Herbal medicines are available in the form of tablets, capsules, powders, teas, plant extracts, and dried or fresh plants. Herbal medicines can be swallowed directly with water, applied as lotions and balms, and also drunk as teas. 

There is no standardized dosage of herbal medicines depending on their composition, age, and method of preparation. Therefore, it is best to consider talking to your family doctor before taking herbal medicines. 

It is important to consult your physician before taking these medicines as The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health implies that herbal supplements can increase or decrease the effects and side effects of many prescription and over-the-counter medicines. 

To ensure safety while taking herbal medicines it is advisable to read the label instructions carefully and take only the recommended dosage. One should immediately discontinue use if the herbal medicines are ineffective. 

One should also take into consideration ongoing medical conditions if any before turning to herbal supplements. 

There are many different herbal medicines used to treat specific medical problems. But there is not enough evidence supporting the use of herbal medicines. People with certain illnesses or ongoing treatment should not preferably consume herbal supplements. Similarly, pregnant and breastfeeding women should never take herbal medicines thinking it would support them physically. 

Some of the most common herbal medicines are made up of the following-

  • Aloe vera
  • Ginger
  • Black cohosh
  • Echinacea
  • Ginkgo 
  • Hawthorn
  • Licorice root
  • Peppermint oil
  • Soy
  • Turmeric
  • valerian

The FDA doesn’t approve of herbal medicines as drugs because it considers these medicines as complementary and dietary supplements. Also, some herbal medicines can interact with prescription medications to cause side effects. 

To sum up, herbal medicines are made up of natural plants but do not always positively affect a person. Therefore, it is advised to consult a doctor before including any herbal medicine in your daily routine.   

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