Herbalism, also known as herbology, herbal medicine, or phytology, is the study and use of plants and food for medicinal purposes. It is the oldest therapeutic practice done by people to cure a wide range of medical conditions since the beginning of time.
Many medicinal plants have been carefully researched and studied to have a specific and natural solution to any condition, which is at par in terms of effectiveness compared to pharmaceutical drugs.
As the prices of pharmaceutical drugs continue to rise, people are looking for alternative and non-conventional ways to treat their injuries and illnesses. Backed by modern science, people are again starting to accept and embrace herbal medicine as a lifestyle to develop and maintain a healthier living. It is evident that chemical compounds found in these plants treat many ailments and that experiments have concluded the many positive effects of herbal medicines. Some people are even taking medicinal herbs as a precaution to illnesses for a more preventive action towards overall healthcare.
Cited below are some advantages and disadvantages of choosing medicinal herbs as an alternative therapy over pharmaceutical drugs.
Advantages of herbal medicine:
- Availability is not a problem as most medicinal plants can be grown in the comfort of our own homes.
- Herbal medicines are more often cheaper than medications made by large pharmaceutical companies due to more inexpensive raw materials and lesser-known brand names.
- There is lesser risk of developing harmful side effects for the patients due to organic compounds found naturally in plants which can be more tolerable to the human body especially with more extended use.
- Modern science has tested and verified the effectiveness of most medicinal plants as an alternative treatment for a wide range of medical conditions.
- Herbal medicines are all-natural unless mixed with other chemical substances.
Disadvantages of herbal medicine:
- Lack of proper medicinal herb knowledge may lead to inappropriate use of plants for wrong medical conditions. Risk of side-effects and overdosing can happen which may lead to more harm than cure.
- Medicinal herbs are not often prescribed by conventional doctors, thus, making its regulation not as tight as pharmaceutical drugs.
- Not all medicinal plants have been thoroughly studied and outcomes and side effects are still currently unknown.
- Herbal medicines can only cure ailments which are non-lethal and non-fatal.
- Herbal medicines may take a longer time to take effect as compared to pharmaceutical drugs.
Some psychiatrists may choose to use herbal medicine as a treatment for some mental conditions, but like all other medications, no substances are void of disadvantages when it comes to altering the chemical composition of our bodies. For some people, it is only a matter of what and what doesn’t work. They use medications that are effective in curing their medical conditions which is still the most practical in terms of medical therapies.
The use of medicinal herbs as a treatment to medical conditions is still self-choice. Asking and seeking professional help from doctors and practitioners is still the best way to ensure that proper medications are administered to patients to minimize ill-effects.