Natural and herbal medicines have been considered as first-choice treatments in various parts of the world. They have been used for thousands of years.
Natural and herbal medicines are used by approximately 80% of the world’s population for primary health care. Herbal medicines have gained popularity as a nutritional supplement for disease prevention and as an alternative/complementary medicine in recent years. Herbal drugs come in a wide range of forms and can be found in stores all over the world.
The safety and effectiveness of herbal medicine have become a public health issue as the use of herbal products has increased. Both the natural toxic effects of herbal medicine and the toxicities caused by adulterants/contaminants may be blamed for adverse health effects associated with herbal products. The need for and importance of toxicological studies for herbal products has increased as more information about the side effects of herbal medicine has become available.
Herbal medicines are essential because they are composed of natural products. Traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, Kampo, traditional Korean medicine, and Unani, for example, all these systems, use natural products and have been applied for hundreds or even thousands of years all over the world, starting to emerge into orderly-regulated medical systems. They may have limitations in different ways, but they are still a powerful collection of human information.
Contrast Between Herbal Medicine and Modern Medicine
Most people believe that since these drugs are used in their natural or original forms, they are less effective and thus must not be used in the proper dosages. On the other hand, traditional practitioners have proposed that when these herbs are used in their whole form rather than their components, they have a more powerful effect.
Since herbal compounds are often used in their raw form, that’s why they are more powerful and less toxic than chemically manufactured drugs, which usually contain only a single active ingredient that plays a particular role in the body.
The extraction and use of aspirin, which is derived from salicylic acid found in the plant ‘meadowsweet,’ is a typical example of this; aspirin, which is derived from salicylic acid found in the plant ‘meadowsweet,’ may trigger abdominal lining bleeding. When the meadowsweet plant is used in its raw herbal form, this side effect is absent.
Natural compounds used as medicines mostly obtained from plants, minerals, and animals, have been commonly used to treat a variety of diseases since ancient times. Sources are suggesting that people use certain herbal and natural products for medical purposes. Medicinal plants and microorganisms have long been the primary source of medicines.
The following are the herbal and natural products used as medicines in this modern world.
- Codeine isolated from poppy plants is still used as an effective antitussive agent. It is isolated the anti-spasmodic alkaloid papaverine from the same plan
- Papaverine is an alkaloid isolated from poppy plants and medically used for its anti-spasmodic activity.
- Digoxin or digitalis isolated from Digitalis lanata and curare having muscle relaxant activity isolated from Chondrodendron tomentosum.
Special considerations for herbal medicine
In this modern world, many people still think that herbal medicines are completely safe as they are natural products. However, that’s not the case.
There are some side effects associated with herbal medicines such as nausea, diarrhea vomiting, headaches, and allergic reactions like rashes, and asthma. Nowadays, it is also thought that herbal medicines should also be prescribed by doctors or registered practitioners just like prescription medicines.
Importance of some natural and herbal medicines
The following are the natural or herbal items used as medicines in the modern world.
- Herbs like cinnamon, aloe, red clove, black pepper, bayberry, and ginseng are used for sores, boils and also possess wound healing properties.
- Many herbal medicines have blood purifying properties that remove and eliminate metabolic toxins from the blood. They act as blood cleansers and are help to treat fever and boost your immunity.
- The antibiotic properties of many herbal medicines are also known. The typical example of a natural product as an antibiotic is turmeric which inhibits the growth of bacteria and other microbes. Turmeric is used in different parts of the world as a remedy to heal wounds and cut.
- Cardamom and coriander are well-known for their flavor. Other aromatic herbs, such as peppermint, cloves, and turmeric, give the food a good aroma and enhance the flavor.
- Antiseptic herbs such as aloe, sandalwood, turmeric, sheetraj hindi, and khare khasak are widely used and have high medicinal qualities.
- Some cough syrups contain ginger and cloves. They’re known for their expectorant properties, which help the mucus to become thin and expel from the lungs, trachea, and bronchi. Expectorants include Eucalyptus, Cardamom, Wild Plum, and Cloves.
- Herbs like Chamomile, Cardamom, Chrysanthemum, Coriander, Fennel, Peppermint, Calamus, Ajwain, Basil, Spearmint, Cinnamon, Ginger, and Turmeric, can help to improve circulation of blood. As a result, they’re used to stimulate the heart.
- Tonics are made from several plants, including Giloe, Golden Seal, Aloe, and Barberry. They can also be nutritive and nourishing to both stable and diseased people.
- Echinacea is a popular herbal remedy used for many ailments such as the upset stomach, burns, wounds, and sore throat.
- Ginkgo biloba is one of the top selling herbal medicines in this modern era. It has many known benefits and has been used in traditional Chinese medicines. The medicinal benefits of Ginkgo are linked to the presence of potent antioxidants. Ginkgo can treat a variety of ailments such as dementia, mental difficulties, sexual dysfunction, and heart diseases. However, more studies are needed to prove the effectiveness for these conditions.