Pharmaceutical Drugs VS Herbal Medicine

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Herbs, Alternative Medicine


The first thing to note is that many pharmaceutical drugs were born out of herbal medicine, and presently over twenty five percent of all pharmaceutical drugs are still made from herbs. However, the majority of drugs are founded from the practice of Alchemy, and derived from chemicals. Modern drugs have only emerged within the last hundred years, as man developed the ability to probe into the chemical make up of matter and to isolate and synthesize chemical compounds.

The first Pharmacy shops were opened in Baghdad, early in the ninth century, where it was herbs that were sold as medicine.  It is quite amazing to see how we are going full circle, with the emergence of numerous herbal products that are now crowding our modern day pharmacies.


Herbal Medicine
Herbal Medicines are natural medicines. This is not to imply that herbs are safe, but it does imply that they were given to us by God, in nature. Plants are for our medicine and our food. We do know that the more we alter a food the less nutritious and beneficial the food becomes, the same is true for herbs. Each herb is made up of a unique array of hundreds of naturally occurring constituents, and asmedicine they all have a role to play. It is postulated that some of these constituents actually buffer the effect of others, making side effects rare and without the severe consequences of Drugs.

Herbs, Alternative Medicine

Pharmaceutical Drugs
Some drugs are made from plants by isolating single active plant constituents, while others are made by synthesizing chemicals in the lab. Either way these single constituents are not well tolerated within the body, and that is the reason for the numerous and grave side effects that they create. While Pharmaceutical drugs work wonderfully for emergency medicine, and for symptomatic relief of acute conditions, they make very poor medicines for the treatment of chronic diseases, and for the treatment of the causes of diseases.

Herbs, Alternative Medicine

Doctors’ perspective
I hear people say “you know the doctors don’t believe in herbs”. Well many doctors may say that, and it is probably to their detriment if they do as herbs are here to stay and the practice of herbal medicine is a developing art that is now being taking to the level and status that it has long deserved. All medical students in the US and Australia have to undertake a subject in Natural Medicine as part of their training.  Within the last few years in Australia, Naturopaths and Herbalist, and other Natural Therapists are now being employed in mainstream hospitals, and all Australians can access most forms of natural therapies and claim these expenses through their Insurance Health Funds. Also, have you noticed who is writing most of the herb books coming on the market? Doctors.

We can understand some of the sentiment held by doctors, as their previous training did not expose them to the philosophy and methodologies of the practice and use of Natural Medicine.  Also, as Natural Medicine had never really been organized into a credible industry where certain levels of practice and products could be expected, it failed to get the respect of both the Doctors (whose industry is well organized) and the public in general. This is particularly evident in our Trinidad, where all sorts of self-made herbalist and healers are ready to serve up some remedy.

The Herbalist perspective
Herbalists understand that we don’t treat diseases, but we treat people with diseases.  So, instead of trying to attack a disease we try to balance the person that we are treating. The blocking and suppressive action of modern drugs may remove the distressing symptoms of, say, gout or a peptic ulcer, but does not attend to the cause. Excess uric acid in gout and gastric acid in peptic ulcers is not the disease but the symptoms of an underlying bodily malfunction, which must be sorted out and attended to before the patient can be truly cured.  Herbalists also appreciate the need to alleviate the immediate sufferings of the patient with symptomatic treatment, but herbs are used instead of pharmaceutical drugs.

God gave us herbs for every ailment and disease.  Don’t mess with Nature!

Philip A. Franco – Naturopath / Medical Herbalsit
Natural Balance