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Three Differences Between Herbal and Traditional Medicine

Why rely on expensive medications if herbal remedies can help? Learn what makes them different than the drugs in your medicine cabinet.

In today’s world we have literally millions of choices when it comes to drugs, whether prescribed to us or available over the counter, to help us through everything from the common cold to injury to major illness.  Very often it is appropriate to leave ourselves in the hands of a traditional doctor and the pharmaceuticals he can provide when a condition requires more than herbal medicine can offer, but for the majority of us herbal remedies can replace many of the medications we have come to rely on.  There are three major differences between conventional pharmaceuticals and herbal medicine, which we will explore here in order for you to be able to make an informed decision the next time you need to reach for a medicine to help you through a particular problem.

The first difference is that herbal medicines, unlike conventional medicines that treat a specific symptom, treat the whole person, mind, body and spirit.  Herbal medicines help to create a balance in the body whereas conventional medicines often create an imbalance.  For example, when a patient goes on a medication to lower blood pressure he will frequently need a water pill, such as Lasix, to accompany it.  Because the water pill leeches Potassium from the system the patient will then need to take Potassium supplements to replace what is lost.  Taking an herbal alternative will not only save the patient from buying expensive medications but will also help to create harmony and balance in the body which will improve his general well being, uplifting and energizing the spirit.  Herbal medicines are bioactive, meaning they contain several constituents that provide vitamins, nutrients and medicinal properties that work together to heal holistically and treat the whole person rather than a symptom or particular body function, as conventional medicines are designed to do.  Herbal medicines are natural and, for the most part, not toxic.  They generate few to no side effects and are gentle on the body, healing in a slower but more efficient way. 

Conventional medications are more often than not synthetic chemical compositions that may help one symptom or function but wreak havoc on the rest of the body.  I have often heard people say, “The cure is worse than the disease.”  There is a lot of truth in that.  The side effects from many conventional medications cause more discomfort to the patient than the initial problem.  A perfect example is Aspirin, commonly taken for headache.  When taken regularly Aspirin can cause Tinnitus (ringing in the ears), which is a very uncomfortable condition, sometimes accompanied by vertigo.  Long after the patient’s headache is gone the Tinnitus can remain.  Herbal medicines, with all of their multiple healing components working together, help the body function better overall which instead of just resolving one symptom, as conventional medicines do, offers the patient the multiple benefits of increased energy and enthusiasm, better health and overall sense of wellness.  Conventional medications, at best, may alleviate one symptom and at worst may cause serious harm to the patient.  They are designed to solve one problem without focusing on the rest of the body as herbal medicines do, doing nothing for the patient’s overall health.

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  1. Good article, Kelly. Proud of you! JoAnne

  2. In reading your article, I have always thought the pharmaceutical companies had, and do have us by balls. No profit, not interested. I would really like to learn more. Good job!

  3. wow this is a whole load of bull… I am a phamacy student and you must know that traditional herbal medicines usually have more side-effects than licensed drugs as they contain more actives both of known pharmacology and unknown… Many of them also interact with each-other and can interact with different foods such as milk which is high in calcium ions. this is a major problem. we are learning a lot more about herbal medicines in our course as the general public usually see herbal remedies as a safer option which is totally false. some herbal medicines sold have yet not identified actives and we do not know the mechanism of action of the constituents. They can be licensed if they have been used traditionally for at least 30 years.
    Please read more about the herbal medicine before taking anything…!!!

  4. wow this is a whole load of bull… I am a phamacy student and you must know that traditional herbal medicines usually have more side-effects than licensed drugs as they contain more actives both of known pharmacology and unknown… Many of them also interact with each-other and can interact with different foods such as milk which is high in calcium ions. this is a major problem. we are learning a lot more about herbal medicines in our course as the general public usually see herbal remedies as a safer option which is totally false. some herbal medicines sold have yet not identified actives and we do not know the mechanism of action of the constituents. They can be licensed if they have been used traditionally for at least 30 years.
    Please read more about the herbal medicine before taking anything…!!!

  5. Hello I am a student in Herbal Medicine. Perhaps you “pharmacy person” should take the blinders off and do more research and not just accept what your told or taught. Herbal medicines have been around thousands of years not to mentions that many of your conventional medicines are dirivites of those herbs your so quick to discredit. Wonderful article.

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