Before we delve into the answer to this question, here is a warning: If you have or think you might have a health problem you should see your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Consider for a moment that most of the pharmaceutical drugs on the market have their basis in plant chemistry. ‘Phytochemical’ is another term for naturally occurring ‘plant chemicals’.
What often happens is that the healing effect of a phytochemical is discovered. However, a naturally occurring compound cannot be patented. But what can be patented is a synthetic version of the phytochemical.
Drug companies will often isolate the phytochemical that has some medicinal value and create a synthetic copy or variation of it. This synthetic copy or variation is then patentable.
They can concentrate the chemical into a pill, measure the amounts precisely, run tests on how it affects animals and then humans and if all goes well, they will have a marketable drug in the end. This is a process that happens over and over again.
In light of that information, I would venture to say that herbal remedies do have value.
However, if you are lucky enough to have a doctor that prescribes herbal remedies, you are in the minority.
Herbal remedies and exact quantities of the plant chemical that has the medicinal value can vary greatly from one product to another. Each ‘crop’ of a plant, even from the same field, may have varying degrees of the phytochemical that may be useful.
Drug companies offer measured quantities with documented results in their pharmaceuticals.
However, side effects tend to be a problem. Be sure to read over the list of side effects that comes with any prescription medication.
If your pharmacist doesn’t hand you a list with your prescription, you can ask for one and they have to provide it to you. These lists can be quite large. If you have never read one, you will most likely be very surprised.
There is little incentive to investigate herbal remedies as thoroughly as patentable synthetic copies of variations, because the individual plant chemicals are not patentable. Yet, there are plenty of herbal supplement companies out there. This also indicates that there are plenty of people out there who use herbal remedies.
Herbal Remedies Information and Sales [AFF] – This store has a wide variety of herbal remedies for sale and lots of useful supportive information. They have formulations that they believe are helpful to those suffering from anything between ADD and Urinary Tract Infections. (check with your doctor first). They ship world wide (with only a couple of exceptions)
Here is a partial list of Herbal Remedies – (a work in progress) if you have something to add to this list, let me know. Currently, there are only a few items there, but I hope to increase the list shortly.
Here is an older and much larger list of home and herbal remedies. Some of the remedies mentioned can be found in your kitchen right now. Others are commercial in nature. It is an interesting if not eclectic list. Be sure to consult with your doctor. Your additions to this list are welcome as well.
Herbal Remedies have been in use for thousands of years. Traditional Chinese Medicine employs a lot of these plant chemicals. Some can be quite amazing. I’ve heard of one that makes tooth extraction painless and practically bloodless. Wouldn’t that be helpful if you needed a tooth pulled?
Are herbal remedies of value? My personal opinion is they often are very valuable. The herbal remedy market is quite large. There are wide range of herbal remedies to meet an equally large or spectrum of conditions and situations.
A word of caution: Combining herbal remedies and prescription medications could cause dangerous reactions, be sure to disclose to your doctor and pharmacist any herbal remedies you are taking so that they can check for potential problems and/or undesirable interactions.