Herbal Medicines A Safer Alternative to Pharmaceutical Medication


herbal medicine

Herbal medicine is the application of herbal plants and pharmacognosy, a very old system of healing that is not based on science. There is very limited scientific data for the effectiveness and safety of herbal plants used in 21st Century herbalism. Modern herbalists try to improve on what has been learned from botanical studies. They are able to extend pharmaceutical actions while reducing undesirable effects.

One can distinguish an herb from a plant using only its parts, such as the stems, leaves, bark, flowers and roots. Herbal medicines are usually made by combining parts from a whole plant in standardized preparations. The active ingredients in these plant parts are diluted with distilled or deionized water and then made into tablet forms.

Helpful In Treating Infections

A close up of a plant

Ayurvedic or Indian medicinal herbs are primarily used to treat infections, relieve pain and treat other body disorders. Chinese medicinal herbs are used to prevent and treat disease, as well as for general health maintenance. These herbs are also commonly used as medicines in alternative medical practices.

Most plants have primary and secondary components. The primary components found in herbal medicine are spices, menthols, alkaloids and indigestible carbohydrates (i.e. starches and mucilages). The secondary components are flavonoids, terpenoids, non flavonoids, saponins, tannins, phenols, lignins, selenium, vitamins, minerals, insulin, immunoglobulin, enzymes, aromatic chemicals and several types of bioactive compounds. Some of these compounds are not known to be allergens. The term “active ingredient” refers to any substance that is responsible for the therapeutic action of an herb.

Major Types Of Herbal Medicine

A close up of a bottle and a glass of wine

There are two major types of herbal medicine: herbal medicines prepared from plant material (phyto-estrogenic) and herbal medicines prepared from non-plant material (para-hemal). In the case of phyto-estrogenic medicines, the estrogen compounds are formed from phyto-estrogens, a group of plants including yams, nuts, soy and legumes. In the case of para-hemal medicines, the active compounds come from the plant material that is used to prepare the therapeutic agents. In both types, therapeutic ingredients are isolated and treated so that they possess the ability to act on the body’s tissues.

Although there are various ways to prepare herbal medicines, most of them use preparations that contain two specific substances. Active ingredients such as alkaloids and carminatives bind with the molecules of the cells in the body and inhibit the absorption of glucose or insulin.

Herbs With Diuretic Properties

Anti-diuretics such as thymo-testosterone, and vasodilators such as bromelain, dilate blood vessels, and reduce the risk of hemorrhage are also contained in some preparations. Since many herbs have diuretic properties, they are commonly included in diuretic preparations. These medications are also included in other forms of alternative medicines (AOM).

Before considering taking herbal medicines, it is important to know what possible side effects you may experience. Some drugs, such as those for diabetes and cancer, can produce serious side effects, especially when taken at the dose recommended by the manufacturer. Some herbs can also cause serious side effects when combined with certain medications. The possible side effects of herbal medicines are therefore very important factors in deciding whether they should be considered for treatment.

Active Ingredients Of Herbal Medicines

The active ingredients in herbal medicines are usually made from natural sources, without using any artificial means. However, some manufacturers may add chemical additives to enhance the therapeutic properties of herbal medicines. It is therefore important to check the ingredients in such supplements before taking them. Most manufacturers include detailed information about the percentage of each ingredient, the concentration of the ingredient, and its relative value in the herbal medicine.

Final Verdict

This information helps users to determine the specific dosage and frequency of taking the drug. Furthermore, if there are contraindications (warnings about the possible side effects of the drug), then users should double check the ingredients to determine whether they are safe to use with the herbal medicine or not.

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