FAQ: Is There Any Clinical Proof That Herbal Medicine Works?

Many common pharmaceutical drugs have been directly and indirectly derived from herbs. E.g. Salicylic acid was initially prepared from meadow sweet (Filipendula ulmaria) herb. Aspirin is a synthetic derivative of salicylic acid. Herbal medicine has been more empirical than theoretical. It has been with us for millennia and practised for centuries. It still vastly exceeds the use of modern synthetic drugs.

Herbal medicine is the use of medicinal plants for prevention and treatment of diseases: it ranges from traditional and popular medicines of every country to the use of standardized and tritated herbal extracts. Generally cultural rootedness enduring and widespread use in a Traditional Medical System may indicate safety, but not efficacy of treatments, especially in herbal medicine where tradition is almost completely based on remedies containing active principles at very low and ultra low concentrations, or relying on magical-energetic principles.

In the age of globalization and of the so-called ‘plate world’, assessing the ‘transferability’ of treatments between different cultures is not a relevant goal for clinical research, while are the assessment of efficacy and safety that should be based on the regular patterns of mainstream clinical medicine.

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