Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

No Evidence To Suggest That Tailored Herbal Medicine Treatments Work

Date:
October 8, 2007
Source:
British Medical Journal
Summary:
There is no good evidence to suggest that individually tailored herbal medicine treatment works well, suggests a new study. Studies promoting the effectiveness of herbal medicines have been steadily increasing over the past 20 years, say the authors. But most clinical research has involved standard preparations or single herbal extracts rather than the individually tailored treatments favoured by herbal medicine practitioners.

There is no good evidence to suggest that individually tailored herbal medicine treatment works well, suggests a new study.

Related Articles


Studies promoting the effectiveness of herbal medicines have been steadily increasing over the past 20 years, say the authors. But most clinical research has involved standard preparations or single herbal extracts rather than the individually tailored treatments favoured by herbal medicine practitioners.

This suggests that they have been sponsored by manufacturers, eager to cash in on the growing market for over the counter remedies, say the authors.

The current findings are based on an analysis of the available comparative clinical research (randomised controlled trials) on individually tailored herbal medicine treatments.

The authors trawled published articles and research databases, as well as contacting experts in the field and associated professional bodies.

But only three studies out of more than 1300 were randomised controlled trials of sufficient quality to draw meaningful conclusions.

These studies covered the treatment of knee osteoarthritis and irritable bowel syndrome, and the relief of side effects caused by drug treatment for cancer.

There were no statistical differences between tailored herbal medicine and placebo in either the knee osteoarthritis study or the cancer treatment study, say the authors.

Tailored herbal medicine treatments did seem to work better than inactive (placebo) treatment in irritable bowel syndrome, but they were not as good as standard preparations.

“…There is no convincing evidence that [individualised herbal medicine] is effective in any indication,” conclude the authors. And there is a high risk of side effects and the potential for herbs to react badly with other herbs and prescription medicines, they add.

In an accompanying editorial, Professor Edzard Ernst, of the Peninsula Medical School at the University of Exeter, warns that the public is in danger of branding all herbal medicine the same.

Phytotherapy, which represents the scientific face of herbalism, is being confused wth traditional herbal medicine and over the counter remedies, which currently have no basis in science, he says.

Phytotherapy has considerable potential to benefit patients. But over the counter remedies and traditional herbal medicine can harm those who use them.

“Without these distinctions, we will fail to advance our knowledge of the potential benefits of herbal treatments. More importantly, we will also fail in our foremost duty – to protect the public from treatments that cause them harm,” he concludes.

This research, authored by R Guo, P H Canter, E Ernst of the Universities of Exeter & Plymouth, is published in the Postgraduate Medical Journal.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

British Medical Journal. "No Evidence To Suggest That Tailored Herbal Medicine Treatments Work." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071005131004.htm>.
British Medical Journal. (2007, October 8). No Evidence To Suggest That Tailored Herbal Medicine Treatments Work. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071005131004.htm
British Medical Journal. "No Evidence To Suggest That Tailored Herbal Medicine Treatments Work." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071005131004.htm (accessed February 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 27, 2015) A dongle that plugs into a Smartphone mimics a lab-based blood test for HIV and syphilis and can detect the diseases in 15 minutes, say researchers. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) An Italian doctor is saying he could stick someone&apos;s head onto someone else&apos;s body. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) reports. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

Newsy (Feb. 27, 2015) A new study from researchers at New York University suggests dentists could soon use blood samples taken from patients&apos; mouths to test for diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) If you&apos;re looking to boost your health this season, there are a few quick and easy steps to prompt you for success. Krystin Goodwin (@Krystingoodwin) has the best tips to give your health a makeover this spring! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins