Advantages And Disadvantages Of Alternative Herbal Medicine

Alternative herbal medicine is considered the best solution to address the growing number of health-related concerns today. That is a huge shift from the 80’s and 90’s when herbal assistance for health was not being talked about like it is today. The new millennium brought with it a resurgence of a more natural way to assist the body in healing itself; something that would have fewer side effects. Rather than making use of synthetic medications (most allopathic Pharmacopeia has its roots in one plant or another) commonly prescribed by their doctors, the health conscious consumer today is looking for a less aggravating solution.

Seriously, a pill to address the symptom of dizziness has a side effect listed, “may cause dizziness”. Many would like to address their health problems without having to dish out hundreds of dollars for treatment, as well as potential allergic and horrifically detrimental reactions to the chemicals used in synthetic products.

Even if this symptom treating approach is not using synthetically produced medications, if herbal assist is employed at all, it is done using a “standardized” herbal product.

Standardization is a complex and controversial topic. For some, standardized means a product is manufactured to ensure that a given marker compound(s) meets a specified level. To others, it is a consistent manufacturing process. For still others, it is a specified ratio of herb material to solvent or a specified amount of herb in a dosage unit. In its broadest (and increasingly popular) sense, standardization refers to the control and manipulation of every aspect of the agricultural and manufacturing process, and beyond, to ensure a consistent product.

Members of the herb community debate the use of the term “standardized” in relation to the labeling of herbal products. Some recognized authorities have suggested that consumers and health professionals should use only standardized herbal preparations. Media stories frequently recommend that consumers look for “standardized herbs” to ensure proper quality.

Yet, many traditional herbalists decry standardized herbal products for allegedly lacking essential components that affect the biological activity of the herb. Some worry that standardization is tantamount to the “chemicalization” or “pharmaceuticalization” of the herbal tradition. They argue that herbs have been effective for millennia without chemical standardization.[1]

Before starting out on your journey towards alternative healing, I hope you will enjoy discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of herbal medicine to ensure that you are getting not only your money’s worth, but using truly effective products in addressing your health-related concerns.

Advantage 1 – Natural Ingredients

Medical and pharmaceutical companies that bring you herbal medicine only make use of natural ingredients for their products. Extracting the natural compounds found in plants is carefully formulated to ensure that every pill or tablet is filled with the essential nutrients to address your health concerns improve your body’s natural recovery process.

If you check out the labels of herbal products, you will see that they are mostly from the extracts of plants. No synthetic chemicals and formulas are needed to complete the medicine.

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Advantage 2 – Cost-Effective Solution

One of the advantages of herbal products is the price. They are often much cheaper compared to synthetic pharma medicine commonly prescribed by doctors today. In fact, low-budget consumers are opting for this solution to their health problems in order to get as much savings they can get to address their health-related concerns.

The reason alternative herbal preparations are cheaper is because of the ingredients used. No expensive chemicals are used in the formulation of the supplement and never mind that you grow them in your own garden or properly wildcraft them, keeping them organic.

Advantage 3 – Better Response to Allergic Reactions

You don’t have to worry about what you eat when you use herbal products for your health problems. Since herbs are natural, you don’t have to be quite as careful about your meals causing allergic reactions that will compromise your health. This is assuming you aren’t using an herb that you have a known allergy to. Always try an herb in small amount so as to not risk a strong allergic reaction. Also, if you refer to our materia medica we try to list all known interactions and contraindications for each herb.

It is always advisable to let your doctor know the herbs you are using to determine if there are any doctor prescribed medications that will clash with your herb intake. Everyone’s metabolism is different. Just because a standardized herbal product worked for some, there are no guarantees that it will have the same effect when you take it yourself. No need to “follow the crowd here… find what is right for you.

The Disadvantage Of Using Herbal Medicines

With all the advantages stated above in the use of herbal medicines as a treatment method, many would think that there are no complications, taking them as you decide. This is a common misconception that can lead to more health-related problems.

We can never deny the fact that herbal products are classified as medicines (for good reason) and should be treated as such. Proper dosage is necessary for safe use. Consumers are urged to follow the dosage indicated on the label of the herbal medicine or to consult an herbalist and your family doctor to safely determine the proper usage of the herb. It is also advisable to undergo a consultation and physical or laboratory examination to ensure that your body will not react with alternative herbal medicine for your health problems.

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