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Illness and disease have been around ever since the beginning of time. In the world of modern medicine, we do not think much about alternative remedies. In the ancient times, they did not have modern medicine, they would have used herbal or natural remedies to cure whatever was wrong with them. Also, they did not have medical science to test what would work and what did not, so they would have had to just use trial and error. Because of modern medicine, we have not really research other alternatives for illness or disease, so we are still developing research on this topic. Both herbal remedies and pharmaceutical drugs have their benefits, but also downfalls, it is important to fully understand and know both, so that the best solution for a patient can be determined.

As far back as we know, humans have been using herbal remedies to cure themselves and others. However, ever since the start of modern medicine, people have completely forgot about herbal remedies. Most people in today’s age do not even know what they are, because all they have ever known is the modern medicine we have. According to the Natural Institution of Medical Herbalist, “Herbal medicines are plant-based medicines made from differing combinations of plant parts, e.g., leaves, flowers or roots” (par.2). Herbal medicines do not have synthetic material and are not harmful to the environment. Some herbal remedies are supplements that you take by mouth, like fish oil, beet root, echinacea, and flaxseed. Sometimes the plants are made into topical skin ointments, breathing treatments or pessaries and suppositories. There are many different uses for herbal remedies, but there is not a lot of research or evidence.

There is quite a bit of controversy surrounding herbal remedies. One of the main deficiencies of herbal remedies are the fact that they are not approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). Because of this, they are classified as a food, not a medicine, so they are not treated the same as pharmaceuticals when it comes to things like labeling, researching, or producing. Herbal remedies are like the nurses of the remedy world. Nurses cannot straight up diagnose someone with a direct illness or disease like a doctor can, but rather they have to beat around the bush and use other words to describe the problems. The same goes for herbal remedies, they can directly claim to cure something, they have to describe what symptoms that a specific herbal supplement might help. Another controversial point is the lack of evidence with herbal remedies. The general population naturally shrinks away from the idea of herbal remedies, because there is not much evidence and they are scared of what might happen. Another thing that could be a possibility is that people are just creatures of habit, and are too scared of trying anything new, because things have been the same way for a long time. As stated in the work of Nilsen, Roback, Brostom, and Ellstrom, “The process of forming habits occurs through a gradual shift in cognitive control from intentional to automatic processes. As behavior is repeated in the same context, the control of behavior gradually shifts from being internally guided (e.g., beliefs, attitudes, and intention) to being triggered by situational or contextual cues” (par.10). So, because modern medicine has been around so long, it has become a habit for most people, and the process to breaking that habit is not easy. In order for someone to change a habit they have to force their brain from subconsciously doing something to consciously doing the same thing, which would be easier if we had convincing evidence, but we do not have much back up yet.

Herbal remedies may not be highly researched but are they better for you? In retrospect yes, herbal remedies are derived from plants and nature, and a completely all natural, so there is nothing fake or bad manufactured into them. They are also not as taxing on your body. Because they are all natural, they help to nourish your body as well as help to cure the original problem. Herbal remedies are also safer to consume, they do not have any side effects, or anything like that because they are completely plants. Correspondingly, in a journal by Karimi, Majlesi and Rafieian-Kopaei, confirms: “Deaths or hospitalizations due to herbs are so rare that they are hard to find. Even the National Poison Control Centers of the United States does not have a category in their database for side or adverse reactions to herbs” (par.3). We know that side effects can be detrimental factors in overall recovery. It is crucial to keep side effects down, but with most pharmaceuticals, it’s not possible, they all have at least some side effects that could affect you. Now, that’s not saying that they are entirely perfect. There are some concerns when it comes to consuming herbal supplements. If you are taking any pharmaceutical drugs, the herbal medicines might not mesh well with the drugs and there could be many problems. Herbal remedies also are not a definite cure for things, just an alternative way of addressing issues. It is not a good idea to use herbal medicines if your body is compromised in any way, if you are pregnant, if you are getting surgery, or if you are very young or very old, unless made okay by your doctor.

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When looking at anything, most of society tends to find the cheaper option. So, what what’s the difference when it comes to remedies? Typically speaking it’s been shown that herbal remedies are much cheaper than medical anything. Any kind of situation that requires medical attention and doctors is stereotypically very costly. Whereas herbal remedies are fairly affordable, most of them, and they are very easily accessible to anyone. As mentioned earlier, the FDA does not classify herbal remedies as drugs, so there’s not as much going into research and things like that for herbal remedies so they are cheaper for that reason. Also, they are just made from plants, so there really is not any ‘manufacturing’ it’s more of a ‘making’ situation so production costs are fairly low. In contrast, pharmaceuticals are so expensive because they are manufactured in labs and factories and then mass produced, and there are so many expenses that come with those things. Pharmaceutical companies also have to pay for the synthetics they add to the drug base, and they also spend so much money on marketing their products. Pharmaceuticals are expensive nevertheless, but the United States seems to do really well in having outrageous prices compared to other countries. According to Kamal, Cox, and McDermott in a recent article, “Humira, prescribed to treat rheumatoid arthritis, is priced 96% in United States than in the United Kingdom, according to data from the International Federation of Health Plans. The average price of Humira in the U.S. is 225% higher than in Switzerland” (par.14). While the United States is typically more expensive in many ways, this seems to just be a shocking example. And it is not only Humira, as in the example, but inevitably all pharmaceuticals in the United States.

On the other end of the spectrum, the world of modern medicine has been one of the greatest advancements in our history, from the first discovery of antibiotics from mold, to a drug for every type of disease or illness from a cold to osteogenesis imperfecta. We have come a long way from trial and error with various plants and things back in ancient times. Now we have ways to test our drugs and make sure they are safe to consume, and make sure that they work properly and effectively cure what they are supposed to. Pharmaceutical drugs have been a big game changer for not only chronic illnesses but other health issues as well, such as hypertension, anemia, acute otitis media, and even acne. Pharmaceutical drugs are chemicals that are designed to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure a disorder, that are prescribed to you by a doctor or physician (Merriam-Webster). In contrast to herbal remedies, which you can easily obtain from almost anywhere, a pharmaceutical drug must be ordered from a licensed individual. The discovery of today’s drug has become life-saving to so many people, and we are overall a healthier people disease and illness wise. Modern medicine development opened up a world of opportunities for humanity and the future.

The controversy surrounding pharmaceuticals is very misconstrued and chaotic. To most people they are great, but to people who have had bad things happen to them because of these things despise them and it is a constant battle. Yes, they are extremely helpful with curing and fixing things, but that also brings up topics of side effects, addiction, and malpractice. Side effects become a big issue when talking about prescription drugs, because a couple things have either happened. One, you have done all the research on the drug that you might be getting, and Google has given you all the possible worsts, and you do not want to take it because of the side effects, or, two, you have no research and you just say give me whatever. Whatever the case side effects are very real. Most all drugs come with side effects of nausea, headaches, this and that, light symptoms, but some come with heavier symptoms like brittle bones, hemorrhaging, or even inhibition of brain function. Karimi, Majlesi, and Rafieian-Kopaei discuss: “About 8% of hospital admissions in the United States of America are due to adverse or side effects of synthetic drugs. Approximately 100,000 people each year die due to these toxicities. It means that the killed people in the U.S. by pharmaceutical drugs are at least three times more than the killed by drunk drivers” (par.3). This is just one abhorrent statistic among many. Yes, pharmaceutical drugs were a great discovery, and they are very beneficial in the world today, they are also potentially extremely dangerous. Most if not all pharmaceutical drugs make you immunocompromised in some way, which if not monitored could lead to serious problems. Though pharmaceutical drugs are great especially for those really tough and chronic diseases, the more deadly of a disease or illness you have, the more harsh and deadly the side effects are. Another point to make is the issue of addiction. We see addiction more and more as time goes on, it has become a great issue in our world today. Many people are afraid of taking drugs prescribed by their doctor, or offered to them in hospital, because they are afraid of addiction, because they have seen what it does to people. It has become a great issue because people are not getting the correct help they need to get better. Equally important, in this article from the Drug Free World vocalizes: “Depressants, opioids and antidepressants are responsible for more overdose deaths (45%) than cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and amphetamines (39%) combined” (par.7). Addiction to prescription drugs has really become an issue, especially in our youth. Another issue in alliance with this one is the issue of malpractice. Medical malpractice is defined as any act or omission by a physician during treatment of a patient that deviates from accepted norms of practice in the medical community and causes an injury to the patient (B. Sonny-Bal, 2008). One of the most famous instances of malpractice in the instance of Michael Jackson and his doctor and all that went down in that scenario. It is important to understand that malpractice does happen, and you do have to be careful of it, and it is another reason why pharmaceutical drugs are not good, whereas you cannot get addicted to herbal remedies or wrongly prescribed them either. I will also reiterate the fact that pharmaceuticals are extremely costly and not as good for you in the long run-in terms of overall health, for the most part.

In conclusion, both herbal remedies and pharmaceutical drugs have their benefits, but also downfalls, and it is important to fully understand and know both, so that the best solution for a person, and the world can be determined. By knowing about benefits and drawbacks about both herbal remedies and pharmaceutical drugs, we are better prepared and can accurately figure out what’s best for us and what’s better going forward. With advances in modern medicine still, and more discovery of herbal remedies, we can ensure a brighter, safer, healthier future.

References

  1. Gove, P. B. (2002). Pharmaceutical Drug. In Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged. A Merriam Webster. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.
  2. Hall, H. (2011). Herbal Remedies, Street Drugs, and Pharmacology. Science Based Medicine. Retrieved from https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/herbal-remedies-street-drugs-and-pharmacology/
  3. Karimi, A., Majlesi, M., & Rafieian-Kopaei, M. (2015). Herbal Versus Synthetic Drugs; Beliefs and Facts. Journal of Nephropharmacology. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5297475/
  4. Nilsen, P., Roback, K., Broström, A., & Ellström, P. (2012). Creatures of Habit: Accounting for the Role of Habit in Implementation Research on Clinical Behaviour Change. Implementation Science,7(1). doi:10.1186/1748-5908-7-53.
  5. NIMH. (2017). What Is Herbal Medicine? Retrieved from https://www.nimh.org.uk/whats-herbal-medicine/
  6. Sonny-Bal, B. (2008). An Introduction to Medical Malpractice in the United States. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, 467(2), 339-47. doi:10.1007/s11999-008-0636-2.
  7. ‘The Truth About Prescription Drugs;. Drug Free World. Retrieved from https://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/prescription/abuse-international-statistics.html

#heathcare #medical #medicalcare #pharmaceuticals #healthcareprofessional #nurses #healthprofessionals

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