Studying Herbal Medicine.docx

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Studying Herbal Medicine ( ) Herbal medicine remains largely an unproven, inexact science. Although the history of herbal medicine provides decades, sometimes centuries, of anecdotal information, scientific study of herbal medicine is relatively new. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has only been in operation since 1992. Compared to the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which was founded over 100 years ago, NCCAM has only begun to scratch the surface of scientific research. Despite the criticism of herbal medicine among mainstream medical professionals, it is wise to remember that many common drugs we use today were derived from plant-based sources. For example, scientists originally derived aspirin from willow bark; herbalists prescribe white willow for headaches and pain control. Digitalis, a drug prescribed for certain heart conditions, comes from an extract of potentially toxic foxglove flowers. These are just a few examples of why it's important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of herbal treatments.
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