Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Exposing the truth about herbal remedies

Exposing the truth about herbal remedies

Most people assume herbal products to be safe and effective, while this may be true for some; it cannot and should not be generalized for all such remedies and treatments. Our predilection for herbal remedies probably stems from the deep rooted belief that anything that is natural will definitely work and if it doesn't, there wouldn't be any side effects at least. However, if this were true, Allopathy would have never existed. Moreover, contrary to popular perception if something is natural it doesn't necessarily will be side-effects-free.

It has become quite fashionable to opt for herbal remedies but are you aware of the risks of relying on herbal remedies? Just like everything, herbal remedies too have their advantages and disadvantages. You might know the advantages, but are probably unaware of the implications of opting for herbal remedies.Here are some of the popular misconceptions about herbal remedies and treatments.

They have no side effects

While this statement holds true for some products, it is not wholly right to assume that all herbal products are devoid of side effects. In fact, you might be shocked to know about the side effects of some common herbal remedies.

Neem is seen as a panacea, since it is believed to help in many conditions such as leprosy, intestinal problems, diabetes, gum diseases, liver problems and ulcers. However, the wonder product is sadly fraught with many side effects. Taking Neem during pregnancy can result in miscarriage. It is not advisable for children and infants. Other than causing diarrhea, vomiting and seizures it might lead to coma and even death.

Those suffering from Auto-immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis should not consume Neem in any form, whatsoever. People who have undergone a surgery should avoid Neem, for it may hinder with the recovery process. It may also increase the risk of organ rejection in people who have just had an organ transplant. Neem is supposed to affect the fertility and sperm count and quality. Therefore, if you are trying to have children it would be best to avoid neem.

Did you know that the humble papaya can cause a life threatening allergy known as anaphylaxis common in people who eat papaya often? If you happen to experience nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps after eating papaya, you might be dealing with this particular allergy so consult your doctor ASAP. Also, pregnant and breast feeding women should not eat Papaya because Papain, the enzyme found in it can be toxic to the developing fetus and a new born. If you are allergic to latex there is a high possibility that you might also be allergic to papaya as well.

Bottle guards
Perhaps, bottle gourds do not guard against diseases. Bottle guards owe their bitterness to cucurbitacins, a toxin that, if scientists are to be believed, can potentially kill humans. More the quantity of cucurbitacins, more will be the bitterness and thus more the chances of you becoming ill. Remember the case of Dr Sushil Kumar, a senior scientist at CSIR who died after consuming a glass of bottle guard juice in 2001?
However, certain people advocate drinking bottle guard juice as they believe that it aids in digestion and overall health of a person.

Green tea
Agreed, green tea helps in weight loss but nobody seems to be aware of how much green tea is good for the health. Scientific studies suggest that drinking green tea can cause stomach problems. They are also blamed for causing Anemia in regular green tea drinkers. Green tea contains tannins that greatly reduce the absorption of iron from intestines. If you are on prescriptions it is best to avoid taking any external herbal supplements and if you still wish to, it would be wise to consult your doctor.

Clove oil
Most people swear by this one. But, other than the fact that clove oil contains a chemical known as eugenol that is believed to lessen pain, there is no concrete evidence of its efficacy. Also, it is believed that ingesting clove in large amounts can prove to be dangerous.

They are safe for everyone

Herbal remedies are not for everyone. They are not safe for pregnant women, people suffering from certain diseases, the aged and children below 2 years of age. 
They are scientifically tested

Scientific studies conducted to determine the effectiveness of herbal products have yielded inconclusive results. Herbal remedies aren't exactly foolproof and certain herbal products might actually aggravate the condition.

It is okay not to seek the advice of a doctor before opting for herbal remedies

Most people are of the belief that herbal remedies are so safe that they do not need to seek the advice of a doctor before trying them. You should always seek medical advice before going for herbal remedies.

Most herbal remedies are quite over rated probably because they come with the tag of "being natural" and anything that is natural becomes a hit with the masses. But, it is always wise to think before you leap. So, the next time you think of opting for some herbal remedy be sure that it does not have any side effect and is safe to use. 



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