The last decade has witnessed a great revival of interest in the use of herbal medicines both in the developed as well as developing countries. Almost 50% of the medicines we use today are derived straight from plants and 25% of the prescription drugs have their genesis of tropical plants*. According to WHO, 80% of the world population rely chiefly on plant based traditional medicines specially for their primary health care needs.
Herbs are medicinal plants (also called phytomedicinals) that can be administered as the whole plant or plant parts or by extracting one or more ingredients with solvents to yield tinctures, tea or other extracts. Synthetic drugs (what the drug industry calls “pharmaceuticals”) are synthesized chemically in the laboratory to produce drugs not found in nature. One quarter of these drugs used in the U.S. are derived from plants (i.e., opiates, digitalis, Taxol) by extracting the active ingredient from a plant, replicating its structure in the lab and mass-producing it.
Beginning in the 1930s, synthetic drugs gradually replaced the herbals that previously lined the shelves of drugstores throughout the U.S. Synthetic penicillin ushered in the synthetic drug revolution. Synthesized drugs were then given a boost by the Durham-Humphrey Act of 1954, legally designating drugs as ‘prescribed’ by a physician, or ‘over-the-counter’ for self-selection. Herb medicines made their way to food supplement stores.
While herbs do have health promoting properties I think we can all agree that whether human-made or natural, the most important criteria for a medicine’s use is safety, effectiveness and quality: identity, purity, potency and stability.
It's also important to see what the science says about herbs as well, and you can do so here.
If you're looking for a brand and product you can trust to boost your immune health you can find it here.