After reading other people's comments I have one more thing to add, and that is that it is also not necessarily a good idea to take whatever medicine your Western doctor tells you to take without doing some research. As others have pointed out, drug companies send reps into medical offices and the reps are the ones who provide most of the info the doctors have on whether a given drug can cause adverse reactions, etc.--at least until OVERWHELMING evidence comes to them from other channels (such as dying patients, for example).
I had a life-threatening reaction to Azithromycin, a commonly prescribed synthetic antibiotic in the Macrolide family, used for upper respiratory tract infections. The reaction produced a chronic hypersensitivity condition, and I was put on Prednisone (yet another nasty drug) in relatively high doses for close to a year before I slowly returned to my normal, healthy state of being.
When I asked the doctor if my condition, which he admitted was a hypersensitivity reaction "of some kind," was because of the drug, he said, "oh, no--there have been no reports of reactions to this drug." Just the same, I asked him to test me for a reaction, and guess what he said? Well, he said they can't test for a reaction to that drug because there is no test available. So I guess that explains why no reactions have been reported!
Anyway, I did my own research and it turns out *all kinds* of people are trying to report reactions to this drug, and their doctors are all telling them that it must be something else. Then, get this, in the forums where the doctors talk to each other, they are all asking each other if their patients' reactions might be from Azithromycin, and the overwhelming response is "No, it couldn't be, because my drug rep tells me there have been no reactions to that drug.'!!
So in other words, better to get your facts from several sources before compiling the results and putting some unknown substance into your body--even if your doctor says it's great.
Thank you once again for bringing together much of the research into one comprehensive source. My partner, a Chinese American, has somewhat of a cultural predeliction for trusting and turning to herbalists in times of medical uncertainty, and I have found myself often in the position of needing some kind of evidence to support my right to decline to take unknown herbs when I'm sick. Of course, he would not force me to do anything, but couples do end up having to provide each other reasons for their behavior, so it helps to have some backup for not wanting to take mystery pills, teas, etc.
Even though there are plenty of herbal products that do not have "double blind placebo controlled" studies to back them, the key word here is YET. Since there is money to be made in isolating the active ingredients from nature, creating a synthetic model in combination with a base and patenting it, more companies are investing in these trials. The results of these tests aren't always published, as there is no advantage for the company doing the research to publish them.
Many drugs are produced this way... antibiotics from molds, hormones like premarin and synthroid, diet drugs like starch blockers taken from beans, and countless other preparations taken from nature, isolated, combined with a base and patented.
Its excellent advice to check out any herb before you buy it. Put the name of the herb in Google along with things like "pub med" or " research papers" or "clinical studies" or "double blind tests" or even "wikipedia". My rule, is that any site is selling an herb, is not exactly unbiased... so I factor that into my decision. I also run a "side effects" search.
Who wants to pay for and put something in your body without knowing if it works? I sure don't!
Valerian--boo. During my long years of battling insomnia, I tried valerian. It DID leave me with heavy morning drowsiness, just as codeine would. Herbal remedies are NOT necessarily "gentle & natural"; you do have to be careful.
I work at a hospital/clinic., Out of 15 doctors & 2PA`s & 2Np`s there is only one that will try herbs -- We have drug reps. coming thru the doors all day long pushing this and that. Have YOU ever read the SIDE EFFECTS of the drugs??? YIKES - Are they helping or hurting???
1/28/2008 10:19:17 AM
This is a good starting point for a discussion on herbal remedies.
The reason that herbal remedies do not have scientific data to back the claims is that there is no money in herbal remedies for the drug companies, so they don't conduct studies on these remedies -- even though most medicines are based on herbal compounds. However, caution is required as a lot of herbal remedies are not regulated, and you should go to a naturopath to ensure you are taking the right combination and strength.
1/28/2008 10:09:46 AM
I think this was a great article. Most people do not realize that a lot of prescription drugs are forulated from herbs, so you can be prescribing for yourself by using these. Please, Please always tell your Dr. whatever across the counter herbs or drugs you are using. Thanks for the good information!
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