Herbal Medicine – The Present and Future State of Herbal Medicine
The practice of traditional medicine that relies on the use of plants and its extracts is known as Herbalism. Herbalism carries a lot of different names like herbal medicine, alternative medicine, botanical medicine, herbology, and phytotherapy. The medicines used in herbalism are derived from plant materials like extracts, oils, and leaves to treat specific symptoms of illnesses. The formulation of these herbal medicines can be traced back to the earliest human civilization and origins can be traced to countries like China and India.
What is the present state of herbal medicine?
The public is aware of the different options when it comes to treating their illnesses. One can rely on over-the-counter and prescription medications, while one can also rely on the use of herbal medicines to prevent or treat illnesses. With the current trend of organic food items making its way into food stores, it’s no surprise that the Western part of the world like Europe and the United States are hopping aboard the Herbal Medicine train. However, it should be noted that herbal medications will also have physiological effects on the body and is not without allergic reactions or side effects. Ingesting too much of a particular herb can lead to complications like high blood pressure, nausea, and even heart attacks.
The current market of herbal medicine is divided into three: unlicensed herbal remedies, licensed herbal medicines, and registered traditional herbal medicines. Licensed and registered herbal medicines are those that have undergone scientific research to validate their medicinal properties yet not enough data to provide a solid conclusion. These are the equivalent of over-the-counter medications, so one can easily have access to these in pharmacies or in food stores. Unlicensed herbal remedies, on the other hand, are those without product license or marketing authorization. In the UK, most of the herbal remedies sold there fall under this category.
The future of herbal medicine
Herbal medicine is something that is still relatively new in the Western culture, but due to the lack of scientific research, it is difficult to gauge if herbal medicines are really effective or not. The marketing of herbal medicines may cause a decline of the plant population because of its commercialization, and with a lot of medicinal herbs on the endangered list, we will be seeing some extinct medicinal herbs within the next few decades. Even with all the setbacks, one can easily see where herbal medicine is going, and that is FORWARD.