For many years people have wondered what the difference between herbal and conventional medicine is, and you’d be surprised to learn that they are as different as they are similar. When it comes to our health, knowing when to forgo pharmaceuticals for natural herbal medicine is incredibly important.
But what are the differences? What are the similarities? Today we’re going to do our best to distinguish herbal remedies and pharmaceuticals so you can make a better-informed decision when it comes to your health.
Organic vs Synthetic
The biggest and most notable difference is natural herbal medicine is organic and only lightly processed. Whereas pharmaceuticals can be synthetic even if the active ingredient was derived from a natural source.
For thousands of years, people have used herbal medicine and remedies to treat and cure ailments. Only in relatively recent years have pharmaceuticals become more trusted than traditional herbal remedies. Products made from plants and used exclusively for internal use are called herbal supplements. Herbal supplements can be sold as dried herbs, in powdered form, capsules, or in liquid form and are meant to be swallowed as capsules, tinctures, or powdered. They can be brewed in teas or applied topically or added to a warm bath.
Although the use of herbal medicine has become more popular with American consumers, due to lax regulation on herbal supplements you need to be sure you’re buying from a reputable source, with a well-known history of quality products. Unknown processing conditions can result in diluted or contaminated supplements which can make it difficult to receive the correct dosage for desired effects. The herbal supplements we carry at SOHMA are held to the highest standards of quality and reliability. You can have peace of mind when buying from our herbal pharmacy.
Pharmaceuticals are designed to work quickly to suppress symptoms of the condition they’re treating. Making the time required to see desired results with herbal medicine seem much slower in comparison. In some cases, the speed of pharmaceuticals is necessary to keep patients healthy.
Herbal medicine and supplements work slower because they are meant to resolve and heal the underlying cause of the problem. This process takes time which can make herbal remedies less effective during emergency situations. Herbal medicines have amazing healing capabilities which need time to be able to be effective at dealing with the root causes of your condition.
Because herbal supplements are not regulated the way pharmaceuticals are, less information is known about herbal remedies. Unlike conventional pharmaceuticals that you can purchase over the counter at any drugstore and all the information is on the bottle, you’ll need to educate yourself and learn as much as you can about the herbs you are going to be taking. For example, St. John’s Wort can be used as an antidepressant but when used with some contraceptive drugs may result in irregular bleeding or unplanned pregnancy, while valerian which is used as a sleep aid among other things isn’t likely to have adverse effects.
Have a conversation with your herbal pharmacist, and primary care provider to better inform yourself about any adverse reaction you may have if you would be combining herbal remedies and prescribed medicine or what if any side effects you should expect from the herbal medicine. As previously stated, herbal supplements aren’t regulated the way pharmaceuticals are, meaning you need to research the company that is making your supplements if you’re not buying from a trustworthy herbal pharmacy.
Take the Next Step In Improving Your Health by Contacting SOHMA Integrative Medicine
Our goal is to help you improve your health. You can reach out to us and ask us about the Myers Cocktail, IV Therapy, Chiropractic care, or how our other health service lines can help you with your journey to improved health.
Located in Long Beach and Lakewood, CA we help individuals from the surrounding cities.
We look forward to helping you take the next step in your journey to better health.