So, you want to use herbs to treat your cold, insomnia, depression, or migraine but you really don’t know much about them. The ads promise wonders. Your common sense urges caution. How do you start? Maybe you shouldn’t. Today, we’ll discuss the hot topic of herbal medicine: the good, the bad and the ugly.
The World Health Organization estimates that 80 percent of the planet’s population uses plants to produce a desired effect on the body. Herbalism is an integral part of traditional Asian, Native American, homeopathic, and naturopathic medicines, and European physicians rely heavily on herbal products
Although conventional medicine in the U.S. has shifted away from the use of unrefined herbs to drugs that have been designed and developed in a laboratory, approximately 25 percent of prescription drugs sold today are derived from plants. Aspirin has its origins in willow bark; digitalis, the heart-muscle strengthener, is derived from foxglove; taxol, used in cancer chemotherapy, hails from the Pacific yew tree.