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A Good Time for Herbal Medicines

The popularity of herbal medicines has been steadily on the rise all over the world. Medicines derived from plants have also been some of the biggest medical breakthroughs of this century. Consider the examples of Taxol, a derivative of the Pacific Yew that is used to treat ovarian cancer, the wide spread acceptance of ginger to treat nausea in patients undergoing chemotherapy, and the development of the anti-malarial drug Artemesenin from the Chinese plant Quing hao tsu. Many of the big pharmaceutical companies such as Glaxo, SmithKline and Beecham, and Merck are actively carrying out large scale research on medicinal plants.

The sales of herbal medicines are also at an all time high.
China alone has sold herbal products worth some 1.7 billion dollars out of which medicines worth 400 million dollars were exported to the United States. In the United States, the sales of herbal medicines have increased by about 15 per cent.

It appears that nations have finally realized the full potential of ancient systems of medicine such as Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy, and Kampo. This will be of great benefit to countries such as India, China, and Japan that have a rich tradition of herbal medicine. There have been various action groups and committees that have been set up in various parts of the world to further explore the possibilities of utilizing ancient healing methods in modern day medical science.

The demarcation between allopathic and herbal medicines is getting smaller with many allopathic medications having a herbal origin, and many herbal practitioners prescribing allopathic medicine to supplement their herbal cures. All of this activity will ultimately help countries to provide better health care to their citizens and ensure that the human race stays happier and healthier.

Submitted on January 16, 2014