How Far are Herbs from Pharmaceuticals?

May 9, 2010 · Print This Article

The thought of using herbal medicines to treat colds, headaches, and even chronic illnesses can send the average person into a state of shock. The fact is that most people in Western countries think of herbs as the medicines of barbaric medieval surgeons and tribal “witch” doctors. But while this was and is certainly true, most of these people would be shocked to discover that many of the pharmaceuticals commonly used in Western medicine are derived from these same “barbaric” herbs.

Western medicine frequently uses herbs like digitalis and even opium to treat many of the medical complaints and illnesses of the average, modern person. Digitalis is actually a plant from the Scrophulariaceae biological family and is closely related to the common English foxglove plant. Opium is used to create many pain medications commonly prescribed for hospital patients; it is created from seed pods of the opium poppy.

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