Thursday, June 28, 2007

Herbal remedy –How safe (Part 2)

Often times when I come across herbs, the first thought that usually flashed through my mind is that they should not be taken lightly because they can have powerful effect on one’s system either good or bad.
Herbs are good, and irrespective of the mode of presentation they are also medicine. A lot of care should be exercised in it’s administration because when taken wrongly, some are known to cause kidney and liver failure and sometimes death.
Local herbal preparations, by people who did not undergo proper training can be immensely harmful. Some of the possible lapses that can be found with herbal preparations are:

  • Mis-identification of certain plants used for the preparation because, it is possible that some plants may look alike but are not even related, such can easily be mistaken or misidentified at the time of the user’s purchase or when the plants were picked from their source.
  • Contamination with pesticide residues, lead, microorganisms, insecticides etc. is possible because these preparations are not under the scrutiny or controls that conventional drugs must endure by the laws of most countries where these herbs were produced.
  • Lack of standardization is another major lapse we should take note of, because components of plants vary in quantity and quality depending on the part of the plant used, stage of ripeness weather and season when the plant is grown, harvested and stored. For maximum potency, it is important that particular herbs be harvested at the optimum moment. Therefore, batch-to-batch reproducibility of plant material in marketed products is difficult to achieve or assess in practice. Product variation in herbal medicines is large and significant. Such variations in medication have disturbing clinical implications.
  • Most accompanying instructions and method of preparation are inadequate and sometimes wrong and the user often misappropriates the ones that come with the right instructions and methods of preparations.

To this end I will say that we should all watch closely, observation coupled with good judgment is necessary in life.


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