Cool site.But, as a pharmacist, I will have to disagree with you about herbals being medicines. Using the actual definition for medicine (An agent, such as a drug, used to treat disease or injury), herbal medications and dietary supplements are NOT intended to treat or diagnose a disease or condition. It says so on the label. I do
agree that some supplements are beneficial (I personally take a product called Cosamin DS on order from my doctor and have since my knee surgery (cartilage) to keep it healthy for as long as possible-there are many products out there and this is the only one that has gone thru rigorous testing for safety--very important, and expensive :-/), but your statement that natural remedies are medicines is very misleading to the public and not true. The reason we have the FDA (granted, a less than perfect regulatory body) is that there have to be rules for what we can allow these manufacturers to sell to the public. Example, if the FDA did not crack down on ephedra, PPA and pseudoephedrine containing products, then the heart problem risk would be a lot higher than it already is, not to mention the meth problem. I agree that the public needs to be more educated with their disease states and treatments (some chronic disease patients can tell you more about their disease and treatment than the pro's can), but still, the way information is disseminated to the professionals, all information need not be given to the public. Example, if someone dies while on a drug trial, even if the drug was not the culprit (say they had an underlying and unreported disease that killed them and it had nothing to do with the drug) they have to report it. That is not something you want the public to hear because in (I hope) all cases, the correlation betweent the death and the drug is false and not pertinent to the trial (they would research it until they found the cause of death).We, as heathcare professionals, walk a fine line between just giving the public "dumb down" directions with no background information and giving too much and creating a paranoid patient. It's a line that we have to try to stay on every day.Now, if a physician that were well versed in a certain type of herbal substance or supplement (and it is becoming more popular), decided to prescribe one for a treatment, then that's what I will agree with. The danger with these types of "treatments" is that they are not contolled by prescription laws and therefore are free for the public to purchase at whim without advise from a doctor, but only word of mouth and marketing ploys. How do you know for sure if the substance does what it's supposed to do? How do you know what's actually in those capsules you are taking? They could put monkey poop in them and call them some fancy name and you'd never know and then claim that they were a good "remedy" for depression. That's extreme, but any of those "natural" weightloss supplement are very dangerous, mainly containing ephedra, which has been proven to increase risk for heart disease.Please, before make statements like that, know what you are saying.--off soapbox--I do like you idea of sharing your knowledge and I'd be more that happy to chime in.