Herbal medicines are becoming increasingly popular in the United States. Recent statistics indicate that 38 percent of Americans are under some form of alternative medicine treatment of which herbal remedies form a large portion.
Alternative remedies have gained an impetus because nowadays many of their known advantages and disadvantages are published.
- Significantly cheaper as the ingredients are readily available and require no manufacture or preparation costs.
- Available over the counter without a doctor’s prescription. Hence, no necessity for doctor’s fees.
- Herbal medicines are often more effective and potent than their synthetic equivalent. The potency could well be because of the environment in which the base plant has been cultivated.
- While these formulations are called ‘herbal’ or ‘natural’, they often contain elements that could be unsafe. Some herbal remedies can have potentially damaging side effects.
- Not all effects are known. Some herbal remedies taken over an extended period of time are known to raise blood pressure while others might even weaken the immune system.
- Some herbal remedies are believed to contain heavy metals and other trace elements that could be potentially damaging.
- A significant disadvantage is the lack of consistency in manufacture. While you might buy a herbal product for certain elements it is said to contain, it might well lack the quantity claimed or have traces of some other ingredients that are unwanted.
- Many herbal formulations react adversely with prescription medicines either negating or boosting their effect beyond an acceptable level.
- The fact that herbal preparations have been used for centuries does not endow them with a seal of safety.
It is advisable to consult with your doctor before embarking on a course of herbal remedies.
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