What is the difference between a drug and an herb? The best answer is: An herb is a plant or plant part found in its entirety, while a drug is a synthesized copy of one chemical component, like a component found in an herb. Unlike the generic herbal supplements that you buy at a vitamin store or health food store, we offer customized Chinese herbal formulas for our patients. Herbs are incredibly powerful, but to work they must be prescribed on a person basis. Generic herbal supplements have a ‘hit or miss' effectiveness. The main thing with herbs is an authentic diagnosis and an individualized prescription.
Be careful about purchasing herbal medicines over the internet. Unregulated herbal medicines from overseas may not be created to the same quality and standard as regulated medicines. In some instances products bought online have been found to have dangerous levels of lead, mercury or arsenic, which can cause serious health issues. In laboratory settings, plant extracts have been shown to have, among others, anti-inflammatory, vasodilatory, antimicrobial, anticonvulsant, sedative, and antipyretic effects. In a typical study, an infusion of lemongrass leaves produced a dose-dependent reduction of experimentally induced hyperalgesia in rats.
Practitioners of herbal medicine generally use unpurified plant extracts containing a number of different constituents. Typically, they claim that these could work together synergistically so that the effect of the complete herb is higher than the sum total of the effects of its components. In addition they declare that toxicity is reduced when whole herbs are being used instead of isolated active ingredients (buffering”). Although 2 samples of a specific herbal drug may contain constituent compounds in various proportions, practitioners declare that this does not generally cause clinical problems. Some experiments have yielded evidence of synergy and buffering in certain whole plant preparations, but what lengths this is generalizable to all or any herbal products is as yet not known.
Other traditions such as Native Americans from both North America and SOUTH USA have used herbs in medicine. Many of these traditions incorporate ritual and magic into their practices with the use of a shaman, or medicine man. New data implies that women's health in pregnancy can determine whether the next generation experiences diabetes, allergies, asthma - even autism.
THE GLOBE Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80 percent of the population of some Asian and African countries presently use herbal medicine for some facet of primary health care. 17 Pharmaceuticals are prohibitively expensive for the majority of the world's population, 1 / 2 of whom lived on significantly less than $2 U.S. per day in 2002. 18 Compared, herbal medicines can be grown from seed or gathered from nature for little or no cost.