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    Herbal Medicine: Current Status and the Future

    Herbal medicine is still widely consumed, particularly in the developing countries, as source of fundamental health care. This is because herbal drugs are predominantly believed to have no side effects other than being affordable and locally available. The World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed that the use of plants for the aim of healing across the world is more than that of conventional drugs by two to three times. The use plants for the intention of healing pave the way for human history and establishes the origin of much modern medicine. However, while traditional herbal products are heterogeneous in nature, they contain several challenges to qualify control, quality assurance and the regulatory process. Most herbal products that are currently on the market have yet to be subjected to drug approval process to demonstrate their safety and effectiveness. Therefore, to acquire public trust and to place herbal products into the dominant health care system today, researchers, manufacturers and regulatory agencies will have to carry out intense scientific methodologies and clinical trials to assure the quality and consistency of traditional herbal products.

    The comprehensive use of herbal medicine is not only limited to the developing countries. Approximately 70 percent of all medical doctors in France and German have also been constantly prescribing herbal medicine. The number of patients seeking herbal methods for therapy is also increasingly extensively. Further, herbal medicine is once again gaining popularity due to medical science and pharmaceutical chemistry. Herbal medicine has benefited from the objective analysis of medical science; while effective herbal treatments and plant medicine are now recognised. Herbal medicine has also been discovered to have some impressive credentials. Developed empirically by trial and error, various herbal treatments were still exceptionally effective.

    However, to reach a stage where herbal products of assured quality and effectiveness become integrated into major medicinal treatment, some issues have to be resolved. Herbal remedies are popular among patient with chronic diseases. Therefore, traditionally trained physicians can no longer disregard herbal medicines. They must come to recognise that many patients are using herbal medicines and therefore must have sufficient knowledge and should be more open to discuss with their patient in relation to herbal medicine.

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