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Value of Herbal/Chemical Medicine

  1. Mar 17, 2010 #1
    Is there any advantage, from a chemist's or biochemist's view, to herbal medicine. I know that chemical medications are often simply extractions of the chemicals of a plant that can be used to address the symptoms of a specific range of illnesses. Is there any proven or theoretical biochemical benefit to using herbal medicine.

    -I have a relative who practices herbal medicine, and I have looked for good scientifically based books that discuss the subject, without much success. Some of them do use the scientific method on a case by case study base, but I haven't found any that break down, at the chemical level, why the use of herbal medicine is beneficial as an alternative to modern, chemically based, medicines.-
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 17, 2010 #2
    Herbal medicine is often a complex soup of bioactive molecules. There have been efforts to understand the biochemistry of herbal remedies, but it's difficult to pinpoint what components are causing which effects. Some herbal components are beneficial while others are toxic.
  4. Mar 17, 2010 #3


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    Another caveat with herbal concoctions is that the concentration of the active ingredients are prone to change from batch to batch, while the strength of synthesized or extracted compounds can be controlled. Sometimes there is a fine line between a theraputic dose and one which does too little or which can cause harm.
  5. Mar 17, 2010 #4


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    ... which of course isn't a problem with homeopathic herbal "medicine".:smile:
  6. Mar 17, 2010 #5


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    Certainly not! That's the safest "medicine" in the world. Dare I say, as safe as water?
  7. Mar 17, 2010 #6


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    Don't underestimate water. Judging from casualties dihydrogen monoxide is one of the most dangerous chemicals on this planet.

    Chemically speaking there is no difference between active substance present in herbal medicine and same substance present in a "normal" medicine.

    I wonder if this is a genuine post, or is it someone trying to build links to herbal medicine site... So far no link present, but it can be just lack of signature. And the way OP is written - with repeated phrase "herbal medicine" - looks like a SEO attempt to me.
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