11 thoughts on “Is herbal medicine better than the medication tablets given by the doctor?

  1. Perhaps, perhaps not. It depends upon the ailment being treated and the medicine being taken. Many chemicals that are given by doctors are the same ones given in herbal medicines. The only difference? Herbal medicines tend to be from, well, herbs and thus grown instead of in a lab where they simply combine chemicals and such to create the chemicals. Some medicines given by doctors can be stronger than herbs and thus more harmful to your body, but generally speaking, they are the same.On the other hand, an herbalist may simply lie to you and give you something that does not work for your symptoms but it works anyway because you THINK it will. Again all this depends on what you are treating because thinking away an infection generally doesn’t work but thinking away pain does.

  2. There is no evidence to support that hypothesis.
    What do you mean by “better”?
    Do you mean safer? more effective? less harmful? cheaper? There are very few herbals that have proven effectiveness for any condition (St John’s Wort for mild depression has decent evidence) and almost no evidence of safety, cost effectiveness for any of them.
    While all herbals are plausible as they have many chemicals, some of which may be of potential benefit, they also have many chemicals that could potentially be harmful. Herbalist often suggest that it is the combination of all these various chemicals that renders herbs superior to the purified extract or analogues in pharmacology, but there is no evidence to suppor this.

    For most herbals….even if they are effective, there is a problem that the effective ingredient isn’t actually known. It is therefore impossible to tell the potency from one batch to another. Since chemicals produced by plants can vary depending on the time of harvests, soil and water conditions, fertilizer used, method of harvest and transport…..you basically have no clue what you are getting. With many herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, contamination and adulteration are huge problems, and in many cases, the herb you think you are paying for, isn’t the one you get due to mis-identification.

    So, in answer to your question: no

  3. No people only say this because herbal remadies have less serious side effects but alot of people dont get the serious side effects off drugs the docters give so hope this helps with what ever your trying to find out

  4. Yes, definitely in about 75% of cases.

    In some serious maladies it’s is prudent to rely more on the Pharmaceuticals, rather than the botanics.
    The nature can’t copy the same result as some powerful chemobiotics.

    I am talking about the super strong and omnipotent chemotherapeutic antibiotics like Rifampicin, Isoniazid, Pyrazinamide, and Ethambutol etc.etc…….
    ==================================
    @ But Gary, I am more qualified than your average GP.
    And 30+ in the game.

  5. Crude herbal drugs of varying quality that may or may not have a beneficial effect, that are handed out by people with little or no medical training; or specifically developed, refined, studied, tested, consistent, controlled, medicine prescribed by a medical doctor?

    It’s a no brainer for me. Doctor prescribed medicine.

  6. Most certainly not, it’s a lovely idea that nature’s herb garden can cure all ills without dangerous side effects, but Gary is spot on.

    Medical science spends millions on research for new cures, and while it’s certainly true that some cures do come from herbs, when they do, they refine them, do exhaustive testing on them and if and when they are approved they are then called medicines, they are then prescribed by qualified practitioners who know of the side effects, interactions between other medicines and the patients are carefully monitored afterwards, none of those safety measures are observed when you buy herbs in a jar that may have been on the shelf for years from a person in a white coat with no recognised qualifications.

    There are countless cases of people who have died, not just from the disease, but by forsaking tried and tested medicines for some ‘oriental’ snake oil remedies.

    http://whatstheharm.net/herbalremedies.html

    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2717/4367491179_59ca0d1234_o.jpg

  7. No, there is zero proof.

    Show me someone in desperate need of an angioplasty, and I’ll show you someone who cannot be helped by any amount of apple cider vinegar or oleander soup.

  8. Not necessarily. This is the appeal to nature fallacy, – assuming something is better and safer simply because it’s natural. This does not always follow. Poison Ivy is natural, but I don’t recommend you eat it.

    The problem with unregulated drugs is that you don’t exactly know what you are getting and how much, there is also no evidence of efficacy and safety. Also there is the risk of contamination. Natural products are more effective and safer with scientific development, where the useful ingredient is isolated and standardised. Basically “big Pharma” produces the drug with just those specific chemicals in them and in much higher amounts. This makes the drug safer and more effective.

    Herbals are plausible. They do contain active ingredients. However, those that have been demonstrated work, are used in medicine today (25% of conventional medicine is based on plants), those that don’t, aren’t. Just like many pharmaceutical drugs that are put on trial, fail, so do many herbals. Some may have therapeutic value in the future, but there needs to be demonstrated evidence of efficacy and safety before it can be used.

    I support SJW because there is a fair amount of data available about it.

    EDIT
    SkepDoc mentioned an interesting point: cost. Herbals are not necessarily cheap. I remember back in the days when I was more credulous, I used to buy echinacea, it was at least £10 for 28 day supply.

    Also, herbals aren’t very eco friendly either. Think of all the trees and plants that are disturbed and destroyed as a result? (Thought I’d throw that one in for you tree hugging hippies 🙂

  9. That depends on the drug the doctor gave you and your problem he’s trying to fix. But probably herbal medicine is not better, your doctor knows a lot more than you and the idiots on this site about what you should be taking.

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