Is medecine really good for your health?
Dear Golden Care Members,
We sense your concerns regarding the use of medicines. A variety of scandals surrounding certain drugs have caused consumers to be suspicious. But do we really need to doubt the composition and effectiveness of medicines? Are they really good for our health? What are the alternatives?
The medicine’s origins
Since the dawn of time, humans have used nature and plants to heal themselves. They appreciate the analgesic and soothing properties of the plants that surround them. The word phytotherapy was born, meaning “the art of healing oneself with plants”.
Aristote was one of the first to immerse himself in the study of plants and their properties. And this interest grew from century to century, all over the world. Ancient practices have been passed down from generation to generation, embedding the use of medicinal plants in our traditions.
This gentle and holistic way of practising medicine has always enjoyed success. It has been transformed over the years but has never been abandoned. Nowadays, it is considered safer than pharmaceutical treatments and meets a real need in our society.
Medicines and strict legislation
Fewer and fewer medicinal products are being authorised for sale
The ingredients of medicines are subject to strict monitoring and controls by health authorities. Before they are placed on the market, medicines are subject to a huge amount of research and testing to identify which molecules are beneficial in the treatment of disease.
Particular attention is given to limit side effects and the risks to patients’ health.
In recent years, there has been a decline in the number of medicines containing new, active substances in Switzerland.
The Swissmedic Institute for Therapeutic Products controls and restricts the sale of some medicines.
Nonetheless, the pharmaceutical industry is still a major player in the Swiss economy and exports still achieve huge volumes.
The correct use of medicines
Can medicines still be trusted?
We should never forget that medicines save many lives each year. The top-ranked antibiotics are often necessary to bring about a cure.
Unfortunately, there are too many deaths from drug poisoning and drug incompatibilities. In Europe, 200,000 people die every year because of drug accidents.
We can only advise you to be vigilant and to follow your doctor’s prescriptions and always inform him/her of any treatment you already take, even if it is a simple herbal tea for your osteoarthritis.
Efficiency and tolerance are at the heart of concerns for pharmaceutical laboratories. Every year, these medicines provide relief and save lives.
However, the side effects should not be ignored, and some drugs have dubious efficiency. The Mediator health scandal is still fresh in our minds, as well as the interminable lists of drugs to be banned (throat syrup, stomach powder, analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs, etc).
The risk-benefit balance is the reason why more and more patients are turning to medicinal plants and good old grandmother’s remedies.
The resurgence of medicinal plants
Medicinal plants in use
Medicinal plants, an aid to not be overlooked
The current mistrust of conventional chemical drugs has led to a preference for natural treatments, for curing oneself with plants.
Herbal teas, essential oils and capsules are widely used to treat everyday ailments. Far from being “an old wives’ remedy“, phytotherapy is regaining its esteemed status and is embraced by more and more patients.
Make sure to check any product interactions and to follow the instructions to avoid any health complications. The Swiss Medical Journal alerts us to this real risk that we must consider to treat ourselves better. Do not hesitate to talk to your doctor about it.
The OMS recognises that 14-28% of plants have a medicinal effect. Some regions of the world even use plants as their main treatment. There are more than 1,000 plants which are considered medicinal, yet the health authorities only recognise the properties of a hundred or so plants, including lemon balm, nettle, blackcurrant, valerian, passionflower, artichoke, burdock, hawthorn, St. John’s wort, elderberry…
These medicinal plants have a proven effect on certain illnesses or on everyday problems. Heart problems, kidney failure, depression, dermatological problems, intestinal transit.
Some diseases can only be defeated with conventional drugs. But we cannot ignore that phytotherapy can help relieve some illnesses.
It can reduce the side effects of drugs, improve everyday pains.
These two modes of treatment should in no way be in opposition, but rather complement each other and thus benefit the patients’ health.
So, should we give up drugs in favour of plants?
The answer is probably somewhere in between the two systems of care. A combination of both should certainly be considered to ensure good health.
Photos: Canva, Unplash
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