Products made from Plants, herbs, and botanicals that are used to treat diseases or to maintain health are called herbal medicines, or phytomedicines. Herbal medicines have been used since the early days of humankind and are still used throughout the world for health promotion and treatment of disease. For centuries, cultures around the world have relied on traditional herbal medicine to meet their healthcare needs. Herbal medicine aims to return the body to a state of natural balance so that it can heal itself. Different herbs act on different systems of the body. Despite medical and technological advancements of the modern era, the global demand for herbal remedies is on the rise. Some natural remedies may be more affordable and accessible than conventional medicines, and many people prefer using them because they align with their personal health ideologies.
Plants and natural sources form the basis of today’s modern medicine and contribute largely to the commercial drug preparations manufactured today. About 25% of drugs prescribed worldwide are derived from plants. Still, herbs, rather than drugs, are often used in health care. For some, herbal medicine is their preferred method of treatment. For others, herbs are used as adjunct therapy to conventional pharmaceuticals. It is estimated that 80% of world population rely on traditional herbal medicine for primary health care. In recent years, herbal remedies have been considered as dietary supplement for disease prevention and as alternative/complementary medicine. A wide variety of herbal medicines are readily available in the market all over the world.
The most common reasons for using traditional herbal medicine are that it is more affordable, more closely corresponds to the patient’s ideology, allays concerns about the adverse effects of chemical (synthetic) medicines, satisfies a desire for more personalized health care, and allows greater public access to health information. The major use of herbal medicines is for health promotion and therapy for chronic, as opposed to life-threatening, conditions. Currently, herbs are applied to the treatment of chronic and acute conditions and various ailments and problems such as cardiovascular disease, prostate problems, depression, inflammation, and to boost the immune system, to name but a few.It is also believed by traditional medical practitioners that the phytoconstituents present in herbal medicine have better compatibility with the human system. Phytochemicals present in herbs are being actively investigated for direct use as therapeutic agents and as prototype lead compounds for the development of new synthetic or semisynthetic drugs.
Precautions When Choosing Herbal Supplements
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