Natural and Unnatural Drugs
Which is better for the consumer, pharmaceutical medicine or herbal medicine? There are good sides and bad sides to both types of medicine. Because of my own personal experience with several different antidepressants and heart burn medicine made by pharmacy companies and their herbal, or natural, equivalent, I can provide my point of view with these two particular types of medicine, but does not mean it is true with everyone. Before we begin, I shall start with my personal experience with the pharmaceutical antidepressants in comparison to their more natural equivalent, without going too much into detail.
My own personal experience regarding antidepressants was horrible and the medicine itself didn’t treat the problem, but made it worse. Over the years, I took the time to actually realize that the antidepressants my doctor prescribed me were not good for me at all so I stopped taking them all together. Even though these pharmaceutical antidepressants work well with my mother and some others in my family, it had a bad reaction to my own body chemistry. My depression was worse, I didn’t care for hygiene, myself, anyone else around me, and I was always tired.
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When I stopped taking them, I began feeling better, I wasn’t as tired but instead happily walking everywhere I go, more upbeat, cleaner, and people noticed how much happier I was. Unfortunately, I have rapid mood swings, that of which can cause a lot of problems in any social situation. My husband-to-be suggested that I start taking the natural equivalent of antidepressants called St. John’s Wort. Before making such a decision, though I did not consult a doctor on this one, I did a bit of research on this particular herb.
I happened upon a website called ‘National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine’ (NCCAM), at the ‘National Institutes of Health’ (NIH), a government website that tells about the plant known as St. John’s Wort and it’s history. The plant itself is long living with yellow flowers and used over the centuries for treating mental conditions and various other health conditions. The plant can be taken as either a tea, capsule, or liquid, and is used for stabilizing moods. Even though this herb is not approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), it has, however, been approved by the USP (U.
S. Pharmacopeia), in which it meets the standards for disintegration, meaning that it dissolves int the body properly. After about a week of taking this natural mood stabilizer, my own self did not change, but my rapid mood swings ceased. The bottle, itself, does state that you must consult your healthcare professional before using St. John’s Wort, especially if you are taking any prescription medicines or have any medical conditions. Long before recorded history, herbal medicines have been used by Chinese, Native Americans, Egyptians, and so forth.
Herbal medicines, according to Ancient Chinese and Egyptians papyrus, have been used even before 3,000 B. C. Some cultures used them for healing rituals while others used more advanced forms of herbal medicines. When chemical analysis became available in the early 19th century, scientists began extracting and modifying active ingredients from plants, later developing their own chemical compounds and thus resulting in the declined use of herbal medicine. There other types of alternative medicines beside just herbal or pharmaceutical that has been approved by the FDA.
These types are called homeopathic medicine, which is a combination of both herbal and synthetic medicine. “Homeopathic drugs have been marketed on a limited scale by a few manufacturers”, until recently when the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA or the Act) recognizes them as official drugs and standards in Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the U. S. Even though homeopathic medicine has been FDA approved and recognized as an official drug by the FDCA, there are much too many negative results in my research to make full recommendations for this form of medicine with very little positive reviews on it.
Near the end of the 18th century, in Germany, homeopathic medicine, an alternative method, was developed. They are derived from substances from minerals, animals, and even plants. They can come in many forms, such as sugar pellets, ointments, drops, creams, and tablets. It is not wise to use homeopathic medicines without consulting a doctor first, or use them as a way to avoid treatments for certain ailments. “Long familiar to every homeopath, his main argument that homeopathic remedies are nothing but placebos was already current in Hahnemann’s time, decades before Oliver Wendell Holmes made it famous 150 years ago,” Dr.
Richard Moskowitz, MD, states, referring to Dr. Kevin Smith’s denouncing of homeopathic medicines. ”And has since been incorporated into the conventional wisdom. ” “When I was in medical school, the term “homeopathic dose” was used almost affectionately to signify an amount of medicine far too small to have any noticeable effect,” he continues. “Even today, as various modalities of alternative and complementary medicine enter the mainstream, and many American physicians aspire to broaden their outlook in order to accommodate them, most would probably still agree with Dr.
Smith, at least in private, that homeopathy defies common sense, ordinary logic, and some basic laws of chemistry. ” The two paragraphs above are about homeopathic medicine from two different sources. One is the same website I used to research St. John’s Wort, and the other is actually a small portion of an entire article that a physician made in response to another about homeopathic medicine. The NCCAM website talks about homeopathic medicine, a bit of it’s history, and even lists the symptoms and risks for taking these alternatives.
The article, itself, written by Dr. Richard Moskowitz, gives positive feedback on homeopathic medicine, providing his counter argument to the article he is responding, which was written by Dr. Kevin Smith, “Against Homeopathy: a Utilitarian Perspective”. He found this article in Bioethics and tried to make a response, which was denied by that publisher but was approved and published by the American Journal of Homeopathic Medicine. For homeopathic medicines, the ingredients are actually all natural, but the process in which they are made into consumable forms is not.
Examples of positive homeopathic medicine would be grape seed extract, charcoal pills, and iron pills. Even though iron pills are also listed under herbal medicine, considering you can find iron in most vegetables and certain cuts of meat, it is actually [see above] a homeopathic medicine because the process to make the iron into pill form has to be synthetic. This same fact can also be used for the antibiotic famously used by doctors called penicillin, a type of chemical which comes from an all natural mold, but processed to isolate the chemical in which fights off former life-threatening bacteria.
Finding articles and research information involving pharmaceutical medicine is not easy at all because there are far too many websites with even worse reviews on pharmaceutical medicine in comparison to homeopathic medicine. There are many people who have made their own personal reviews on pharmaceutical medicine and given them terrible feedback. However, finding positive information about certain types of pharmaceutical medicine is not at all hard. Using common synthetic medicine as a way to do research and provide positive feedback on them can help the pharmaceutical medicine case.
Starting with the miracle drug, commonly called penicillin in today’s society, that was actually founded by Alexander Fleming, a doctor and researcher at St. Mary’s Hospital in London, England, by isolating a chemical from a mold. Dr. Fleming published a paper about this particular chemical he called “penicillin”, talking about how this isolated chemical can prevent the growth of other germ colonies, some of which were once highly dangerous to us until penicillin was founded.
However, purifying this finding was near impossible for Fleming, but others expanded on it after his news about this germ killing power. Because of some people being allergic to mold, the use of penicillin is hindered, but there are alternatives to this mold-based germ-killer that people who are allergic to mold. This very same fact is also for certain pain relievers as well. Some people are allergic to the chemicals used in Advil or Bayer, but can use Tylenol or Excedrin as alternatives for pain relief.
Pain relievers not only helps relieve pain, but are also used to help lower swelling and reduce fevers. Aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and other non-steroidal medicine, also known as NSAIDs, are good alternatives to medicine such as steroids and Oxycontin-based pain relievers. These types of pain relievers are available by prescription or over the counter [these three words are spelled as one hyphenated word] and are good for arthritis, muscle, injuries, and other pains, as well as reducing fever, as I previously stated.
Most everything that is commercially traded, including botanical ingredients, is available in a range of defined grades and qualities; “from inexpensive inferior grades to the most expensive superior grades, and various grade designations in between. ” All in all, herbal medicine, in my opinion allergic to certain plants which hinders the use of herbal medicine in some cases. Pharmaceutical medicine isn’t right for everyone, but the convenience of it and lower cost makes it a higher choice over herbal medicine. Both types have advantages and disadvantages to them and either one maybe perfect for someone, but not for the other.
The major issue is the over dependance of either types. Examples of such statement is how some people become too reliant on Oxycontin, a powerful synthetic pain reliever, and the over used herbal drug, fighting to be legal, marijuana. Have you decided upon which is better for you? The next time you go to your doctor, ask him/her about switching to herbal medicine or finding more about other pharmaceutical medicine.
NCCAM, (Updated on December 2007), St. John’s Wort and Depression, retrieved from http://nccam. nih. gov/health/stjohnswort/sjw-and-depression. tm Ehrlich, Steven D. , NMD, (Reviewed last October 2011), Herbal Medicine, University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved from http://www. umm. edu/altmed/articles/herbal-medicine-000351. htm FDA, (issued 1988; revised 1995), Conditions Under Which Homeopathic Drugs May be Marketed, retrieved from http://www. fda. gov/ICECI/ComplianceManuals/CompliancePolicyGuidanceManual/ucm 074360. htm NCCAM, (Created: July 2009; Updated: April 2012), Homeopathy: An Introduction, retrieved from http://nccam. nih. gov/health/homeopathy#hed5 Moskowitz, R. (2011), For Homeopathy: A practicing Physician’s Perspective, American Journal of Homeopathic Medicine, 104(3): 125-30. Retrieved from the University of Phoenix library website. Ivins, Robert F. , (2000, updated in 2006), Penicillin: The First Miracle Drug, retrieved from http://herbarium. usu. edu/fungi/funfacts/penicillin. htm Consumer Reports on Health, (May 2011), Choosing and using pain relievers, 23(5): 8-9. Retrieved from the University of Phoenix library website. HerbalGram, issue 19 (2011), Reproducible Efficacy and Safety Depend on Reproducible Quality, retrieved from the University of Phoenix library website.