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Anything that exists on the earth has a need for survival. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), herbal medicines refers to health practices, approaches, knowledge and beliefs incorporating plant, animal and mineral based medicines, spiritual therapies, manual techniques and exercises, applied singularly or in combination to treat, diagnose and prevent illnesses or to maintain well-being. Different types of herbal medicines are widely applied in Asia, Africa, and Latin America to meet primary health-care needs. Herbal medicines have maintained its popularity in most regions of the developing world. The application is also rapidly spreading in industrialized countries. Worldwide, among all the different traditional medicine systems, Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is currently the most popular, followed by Indian medicine.
Herbal medicine refers to using a plant’s seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark, or flowers for medicinal purposes. Herbalism has a long tradition of use outside of conventional medicine. It is also called botanical medicine or phytomedicine. It is becoming more main stream as improvements in analysis and quality control along with advances in clinical research show the value of herbal medicine in the treating and preventing disease. Herbal medicine is used to treat many conditions, such as asthma, eczema, premenstrual syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, menopausal symptoms, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, and cancer, among others. Herbal supplements are best taken under the guidance of a trained health care provider.
Recently, the World Health Organization estimated that 80% of people worldwide rely on herbal medicines for some part of their primary health care. In Germany, about 600 – 700 plant based medicines are available and are prescribed by some 70% of German physicians. In the past 20 years in the United States, public dissatisfaction with the cost of prescription medications, combined with an interest in returning to natural or organic remedies, has led to an increase in herbal medicine use. Whenever a culture attempts to assimilate alien ideas, social stresses are bound to occur, especially when such ideas threaten the dominion of major economic and political interests. Mistakes are likely to arise while attempting to implement these ideas.
In the case of Chinese herbal knowledge, its use by people unfamiliar with its rules and protocols invariably leads to mishaps; either the herbs or formulas fail to work as expected, or worse, side effects may result whenever herbs are used in contraindicated conditions. In the political and economic realms, government regulators unfamiliar with the unique characteristics of traditional Chinese medicine may impose restrictions upon Chinese herbal practice that inhibit its effective application and suffocate its future development within our culture. The effectiveness of modern herbal practice suggests that we begin our search by understanding the complete meaning of herbalism. Herbs are grown and collected from all over the world. There is nothing magical about an herb; effective medicinal herbs can be found everywhere that plants grow.
There is indeed a necessity in making life better by introducing natural herbal dietary supplements in the country. Within the past decade, herbal medicine has gained increasing importance, with both medical and economic implications. In developing countries particularly, as much as 80percent of the indigenous population still depends on traditional systems of medicine and medicinal plants for healthcare. Some common herbs and their uses are discussed below.
* Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) has been used in traditional medicine to treat circulatory disorders and enhance memory. Although not all studies agree, ginkgo may be especially effective in treating dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease) and intermittent claudication (poor circulation in the legs). * Kava kava (Piper methysticum) is said to elevate mood, enhance well-being and contentment, and produce a feeling of relaxation. Several studies have found that kava may be useful in the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, and related nervous disorders.
* Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) is used by more than 2 million men in the United States for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. A number of studies suggest that the herb is effective for treating symptoms, including frequent urination, having trouble starting or maintaining urination, and needing to urinate during the night.
* Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a popular alternative to commonly prescribed medications for sleep problems because it is considered to be both safe and gentle. * Echinacea preparations (from Echinacea purpurea and other Echinacea species) may improve the body’s natural immunity. Echinacea is one of the most commonly used herbal products, but studies are mixed as to whether it can help prevent or treat colds. We chose to have a research study on this topic because I think this can be a way of spreading awareness among people that there can be cheaper way of treating from upset stomachs to headaches. They are also considered natural and therefore healthier and gentler than conventional drugs. So, why is there need to spend so much on expensive drugs uselessly when there is a better option.