Herbal medicine is an alternative medical practice that uses plant products and extracts to treat various conditions. In herbal medicine, the naturally-occurring substances in plants, minerals, shells and other natural sources are studied for their effects on humans and animals, and are then administered either topically or orally to treat infections, act as dietary supplements or relieve pain.
Why try herbal medicine?
Proponents of herbal medicine believe that medicines derived from nature can be equally effective, or even more effective, than traditional medications that are artificially produced in laboratory settings. Furthermore, proponents believe that herbs and other natural substances may carry fewer side effects than, and may not be as habit-forming as, side effects experienced with synthetic drugs.
Most medical professionals who recommend using herbal medicine advise that it should be used alongside, and not instead of, traditional nonsurgical treatments.
Before trying these herbal remedies, or starting any new drug or supplement regimen, check with your physician to make sure it is safe for you and will not react negatively with any current medications or pre-existing conditions. Also, be sure to follow daily consumption guidelines carefully; some herbal medicines may be harmful if taken in quantities over the recommended daily maximum. Herbal remedies are not regulated for safety or efficacy by governmental agencies. The strength and content of what is sold as an herbal remedy or food supplement is, therefore, not known from manufacturer to manufacturer or even from container to container from the same manufacturer. Extreme caution is advised.