Modern science and herb treatment

Plants and herbs hold medicinal properties and has cure for many diseases. Plants synthesize chemical compounds for their protection and also for their normal metabolic activities. Some of these compounds have the capability to fight bacteria, fungi, and numerous other microbes and pathogens.

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For centuries, in many areas of the world, herbs are used to treat diseases. Till date, many African and Asian countries are completely relying on the herbal treatments.  In other areas, people are consuming herbs in their daily diet and getting benefits from them intentionally or unintentionally.

Many scientists argue on the medicinal properties of the herbs and say that the synthetic materials are better for you because herbs in larger quantities can produce adverse effects. Indeed they tell truth – but same thing also implies for synthetic compounds. If they are not prescribed by doctor in the particular quantity, their adverse effects are more dramatic than herbal one. The thing that you may have seen in common practice is – doctor prescribed you a drug and then gives another drug to reduce its adverse effects. Herbal medicines also have some quantity restrictions and produce best outcomes if used in the particular amount.

Modern technology has made the synthesis of chemical compounds easy. Many compounds can be prepared in laboratory- but the difference of artificial and natural compounds has forced many pharmaceuticals to extract these compounds from the natural sources. Many plants are used as a whole in the medicines while some are used as extracts. In USA alone, about 25% of the modern medicine contains the natural extracts from plants and herbs.

No matter how much advanced we become in the science and technology, we need natural compounds because of their advantages. The common herbs that are used in the production of some widespread drugs are given below:

  • Digoxin: This drug is extracted from the Digitalis lanata. It is used widely all over the world for controlling the heart diseases. This drug is even useful in heart failure in which other drugs are failed to work.
  • Quinine: This is the widely accepted drug to encounter malaria. Formerly, it was prepared solely from the cinchona tree bark.
  • Inulin: This compound is extracted from the plant chicory and has many medicinal properties. It is used to detect the kidney diseases
  • Morphine: This drug is extracted from the Opium plant and used as analgesic. All over the world, it is used to lower the intensity of pain.    

There is a big list of these kinds of medicines. These pharmaceutical drugs have some adverse effects also because they are not used in complete original form.

Everyone is aware of the ginger and garlic medicinal properties. These two plants are now studied to be used in pharmaceuticals; even many daily used products have some quantity of them. Herbal industry is using them for ages and curing many diseases. Same is the case with many other herbs.

The main target of any drug, either it is artificially synthesized or extracted from plant, is to tackle the disease and make immune system strong. Herbs usually work slowly and help the body to learn how to undertake a disease along with giving cure to it while pharmaceutics cure instantly by attacking the causative agent but they also harm some important cells of the body.

In herbal medicines, the only thing that should be cared about is the “quantity”. Everything is harmful if it exceeds certain limit. If they are within the limit, you may find herbs the best because you can’t beat what is made by nature. It will be great if modern science put some more efforts in clinical trial of herbal medicines. Together, they both can find the cure of many diseases without causing any side effects.

About Jing Guo Wang

TCM professor of Shanghai University of Tradional Chinese Medicine.She has 30 years of clinical experience at applying traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture and other therapies in the treatment of a variety of vertigo, headache, neurasthenia, hypertension, neck pain and periarthritis of shoulder.