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Should herbal medicines sit alongside conventional medicines?

  • Comments (44)

Should herbal medicines sit alongside conventional medicines?

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasingly popular, and encompasses a number of systems and therapies based on diverse theories and practices, such as homoeopathy, traditional herbalism, Reiki, Ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine.

While many are based on metaphysical concepts for which there is no sound evidence, for herbal medicines there is a rational, scientific basis and increasing clinical evidence.

An article published in Nursing Times this week suggests herbal medicines should no longer be considered part of CAM, but instead sit alongside conventional medicines.

  • Comments (44)

Readers' comments (44)

  • Yes. If there is sound evidence to support using a particular herbal medicine then there is no reason not to use it. I would prefer taking a naturally occurring compound that has been proven to be safe and effective than taking a chemically created alternative. I would welcome the opportunity to make this choice myself.

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  • Anonymous

    has this article got anything to do with trying to justify Jeremy Hunts' new job?

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  • Anonymous

    I am a nurse and a Reiki healer. It is neither a "complementary" or "alternative" medicine. Reiki is the universal energy force. I have never used it at work but outside work I have tried it on friends and family who have found it very relaxing and calming. It might help to calm some patients and reduce their anxiety. It is offered in my local hospice.

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  • Anonymous

    Why not? It is the big pharma that won't want it to happen!

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  • Anonymous

    Isn't Reiki what Obi-Wan Kenobi used?

    "These aren't the droids you're looking for"

    "These aren't the droids we're looking for"

    "Move along"

    "Move along, move along"

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  • Anonymous

    Fine with herbal medicines as long as there is enough evidence to prove they are beneficial. ie St John wort for mild depression. But as for the other such as homeopathy, until they are proven to be more than placebo and woo then no, they shouldn't be offered in a system which purports to use evidence based medicine.

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  • michael stone

    The problem with herbal medicines, is not that they might be active, but 'quality control' - making sure 'of the right dosage'.

    It is very hard for the current 'system' to cope with medications that cannot be easily standardised.

    This is apart from 'who funds the trials, etc'.

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  • Tinkerbell

    they are, what is 'digitalis' after all. As anonymous above says St John Wort is as effective if not more effective in mild to moderate depression with less side effects. Sorry can't provide the evidenced research but the big tome of a book i have on it is in a box in garage.

    Pharmaceutical can't patent herbal remedies, so can't make huge amounts of profit i understand.

    We gave our anxious german shepherd on fireworks night some 'skullcap' once, probably overdosed him or he was oversensitive as he slept and snored through the whole day.

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  • Anonymous

    Most, if not all, conventional medicines have side effects and/or interact with other drugs. Many drugs are prescribed "off licence" as have been found to be effective for conditions that they were not originally developed to treat. Many "alternative" treatments have been used for hundreds if not thousands of years; just because they have not been clinically trialled doesn't mean they don't work. Homeopathy is used by the Royal Family and look how health most of them have stayed well into their twilight years.

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  • Tiger Girl

    Anonymous | 28-Sep-2012 12:40 pm

    'Most, if not all, conventional medicines have side effects and/or interact with other drugs.'

    Herbal medicines also have interactions and side effects - even some foods, interact with medicines.

    Pure water has very few 'interactions'.

    I do agree with:

    just because they have not been clinically trialled doesn't mean they don't work.

    but I don't believe in any mysterious properties of 'magic water' itself (so homeopathy might 'work' - but pure water, is just pure water).

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