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.

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 July 24, 2014 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 July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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