Editorial | Herbal panacea

Herbal supplements have become so popular that most people do not think twice about using it as alternative to medicines prescribed by a medical practitioner.

While it is true that there are traditional herbs that have passed the rigid scrutiny of medical research, many of those proliferating in the market cannot claim otherwise.

Fruits or their derivatives, for example, may be harmless. We eat fruits and vegetables all the time. But when it is peddled as a cure for all kinds of ailments because a celebrity or someone who had a life-threatening disease said it helped them through a medical problem or cured their disease – this should raise red flags as to its veracity.

Anecdotal evidence of a certain herbal supplement should be backed up by solid scientific research.

Republic Act 8423 or the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act of 1997. This supports the traditional medicinal knowledge, skills and practices of our ancestors even before professional medical practitioners came into the picture. The use of local herbs continues to be patronized to this day and the Department of Health has a unit that studies the indigenous tradition and beliefs of communities.

Commercial herbal supplements aggressively promoted today have raised some concerns especially from the medical sector.

Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte, who is also a medical practitioner, said that doctors have noticed an increase in the incidence of symptoms associated with kidney disease. Nephrologist Vida Acosta Villanueva, in Tuesday’s press conference at the Sangguniang Panlungsod, said they have found increased levels of creatinine in some patients taking some herbal supplements.

We should take care of our health. It is not enough to eat properly, take proper exercise and rest, we need to also take care that what supplements we take do not have negative side effects to the medicine we are taking. It is still best to ask your doctor for advice when it comes to taking herbal supplements.

Posted in Opinion