herbal medicine


  • Tyler listed ten fallacies that distinguished herbalism from paraherbalism, including claims that there is a conspiracy to suppress safe and effective herbs, herbs can not
    cause harm, that whole herbs are more effective than molecules isolated from the plants, herbs are superior to drugs, the doctrine of signatures (the belief that the shape of the plant indicates its function) is valid, dilution of substances
    increases their potency (a doctrine of the pseudoscience of homeopathy), astrological alignments are significant, animal testing is not appropriate to indicate human effects, anecdotal evidence is an effective means of proving a substance
    works and herbs were created by God to cure disease.

  • [1][2] The scope of herbal medicine commonly includes fungal and bee products, as well as minerals, shells and certain animal parts.

  • [10] Herbs were also commonly used in the traditional medicine of ancient India, where the principal treatment for diseases was diet.

  • [34] Although many consumers believe that herbal medicines are safe because they are natural, herbal medicines and synthetic drugs may interact, causing toxicity to the consumer.

  • The Cannabis plant is used as an herbal medicine, and as such is legal in some parts of the world.

  • [1][2][4][5] Paraherbalism relies on the belief that preserving various substances from a given source with less processing is safer or more effective than manufactured products,
    a concept for which there is no evidence.

  • [1][5] Globally, there are no standards across various herbal products to authenticate their contents, safety or efficacy,[36] and there is generally an absence of high-quality
    scientific research on product composition or effectiveness for anti-disease activity.

  • [41] Few studies are available on the safety of herbs for pregnant women,[42] and one study found that use of complementary and alternative medicines are associated with a
    30% lower ongoing pregnancy and live birth rate during fertility treatment.

  • [71][72] Paraherbalism Paraherbalism is the pseudoscientific use of extracts of plant or animal origin as supposed medicines or health-promoting agents.

  • [65][66] Canadian regulations are described by the Natural and Non-prescription Health Products Directorate which requires an eight-digit Natural Product Number or Homeopathic
    Medicine Number on the label of licensed herbal medicines or dietary supplements.

  • [33] There is also concern with respect to the numerous well-established interactions of herbs and drugs.

  • [64] Manufacturers of products falling into this category are not required to prove the safety or efficacy of their product so long as they do not make ‘medical’ claims or
    imply uses other than as a ‘dietary supplement’, though the FDA may withdraw a product from sale should it prove harmful.

  • [1] There is limited scientific evidence for the safety and efficacy of plants used in 21st century herbalism, which generally does not provide standards for purity or dosage.

  • [18] According to Cancer Research UK as of 2015, “there is currently no strong evidence from studies in people that herbal remedies can treat, prevent or cure cancer”.

  • [35] Standardization of purity and dosage is not mandated in the United States, but even products made to the same specification may differ as a result of biochemical variations
    within a species of plant.

  • Beliefs Herbalists tend to use extracts from parts of plants, such as the roots or leaves,[87] believing that plants are subject to environmental pressures and therefore develop
    resistance to threats such as radiation, reactive oxygen species and microbial attack to survive, providing defensive phytochemicals of use in herbalism.

  • [16] In the United States, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health of the National Institutes of Health funds clinical trials on herbal compounds, provides
    fact sheets evaluating the safety, potential effectiveness and side effects of many plant sources,[17] and maintains a registry of clinical research conducted on herbal products.

  • [28][29][30] Safety[edit] For partial list of herbs with known adverse effects, see List of herbs with known adverse effects.

  • Many essential oils can burn the skin or are simply too high dose used straight; diluting them in olive oil or another food grade oil such as almond oil can allow these to
    be used safely as a topical.

  • Herbal remedies can also be dangerously contaminated, and herbal medicines without established efficacy, may unknowingly be used to replace prescription medicines.

  • [60][61] Government regulations[edit] The World Health Organization (WHO), the specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that is concerned with international public health,
    published Quality control methods for medicinal plant materials in 1998 to support WHO Member States in establishing quality standards and specifications for herbal materials, within the overall context of quality assurance and control of
    herbal medicines.

  • [87][88] Use of plants by animals Indigenous healers often claim to have learned by observing that sick animals change their food preferences to nibble at bitter herbs they
    would normally reject.

  • [46][47] For example, dangerously low blood pressure may result from the combination of an herbal remedy that lowers blood pressure together with prescription medicine that
    has the same effect.

  • [22] Herbal preparations[edit] Leaves of Eucalyptus olida being packed into a steam distillation unit to gather its essential oil There are many forms in which herbs can be
    administered, the most common of which is a liquid consumed as a herbal tea or a (possibly diluted) plant extract.

  • It relies on the false belief that preserving the complexity of substances from a given plant with less processing is safer and potentially more effective, for which there
    is no evidence either condition applies.

  • [1] Unethical practices by some herbalists and manufacturers, which may include false advertising about health benefits on product labels or literature,[5] and contamination
    or use of fillers during product preparation,[36][70] may erode consumer confidence about services and products.

  • [3] Paraherbalism describes alternative and pseudoscientific practices of using unrefined plant or animal extracts as unproven medicines or health-promoting agents.

  • [37] They are not marketed to the public as herbs, because the risks are well known, partly due to a long and colorful history in Europe, associated with “sorcery”, “magic”
    and intrigue.

  • [78] India[edit] A platter of herbal medicines at Goa, India In India, Ayurvedic medicine has quite complex formulas with 30 or more ingredients, including a sizable number
    of ingredients that have undergone “alchemical processing”, chosen to balance dosha.

  • [49] In a 2018 study, FDA identified active pharmaceutical additives in over 700 of analyzed dietary supplements sold as “herbal”, “natural” or “traditional”.

  • Herbal medicine (also herbalism) is the study of pharmacognosy and the use of medicinal plants, which are a basis of traditional medicine.

  • [58][59][60] During the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA and U.S. Federal Trade Commission issued warnings to several hundred American companies for promoting false claims that
    herbal products could prevent or treat COVID-19 disease.

  • [24] Non-alcoholic tinctures can be made with glycerin but it is believed to be less absorbed by the body than alcohol based tinctures and has a shorter shelf life.

  • [55] One 2009 review concluded that regulation of herbalists in Australia was needed to reduce the risk of interaction of herbal medicines with prescription drugs, to implement
    clinical guidelines and prescription of herbal products, and to assure self-regulation for protection of public health and safety.

  • [12] Modern herbal medicine The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80 percent of the population of some Asian and African countries presently use herbal medicine
    for some aspect of primary health care.

  • Labeling accuracy[edit] A 2013 study found that one-third of herbal supplements sampled contained no trace of the herb listed on the label.

  • “[57] However, there are U.S. federal restrictions for marketing herbs as cures for medical conditions, or essentially practicing as an unlicensed physician.

  • [36][51] Researchers at the University of Adelaide found in 2014 that almost 20 percent of herbal remedies surveyed were not registered with the Therapeutic Goods Administration,
    despite this being a condition for their sale.

  • Taking a food grade oil and soaking herbs in it for anywhere from weeks to months allows certain phytochemicals to be extracted into the oil.

  • [82] Indonesia[edit] Different types of Indonesian jamu herbal medicines held in bottles In Indonesia, especially among the Javanese, the jamu traditional herbal medicine
    may have originated in the Mataram Kingdom era, some 1300 years ago.

  • [1][4][5] Phytotherapy differs from plant-derived medicines in standard pharmacology because it does not isolate and standardize the compounds from a given plant believed
    to be biologically active.

  • United States herbalism fraud[edit] Over the years 2017–21, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warning letters to numerous herbalism companies for illegally
    marketing products under “conditions that cause them to be drugs under section 201(g)(1) of the Act [21 U.S.C.

  • [5][69] Presumed claims of therapeutic benefit from herbal products, without rigorous evidence of efficacy and safety, receive skeptical views by scientists.

  • Regulatory review[edit] In 2015, the Australian Government’s Department of Health published the results of a review of alternative therapies that sought to determine if any
    were suitable for being covered by health insurance; herbalism was one of 17 topics evaluated for which no clear evidence of effectiveness was found.

  • [33][45] In consultation with a physician, usage of herbal remedies should be clarified, as some herbal remedies have the potential to cause adverse drug interactions when
    used in combination with various prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, just as a customer should inform a herbalist of their consumption of actual prescription and other medication.

  • [48] Certain herbs as well as common fruit interfere with cytochrome P450, an enzyme critical to much drug metabolism.


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Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/foxypar4/2617111535/’]