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Kevin Rivera

Jim Smith
Biology 1740.528
March 17, 2015

Herbal Medicine
Many parts of the world still rely on herbal medicine. Herbs have negligible side effects whereas
synthetic pharmaceutical medicine has a vast array of side effects. Herbs are generally faster,
better, and safer than synthetic medicine so why does the pharmaceutical market specifically in
the United States still thrive? Perhaps, it has to do with the economical characteristics, efficacy,
and availability of herbal medicine.

According to V.P. Kamboj 75-80% of the world population uses herbal medicine. Most of this
population lives in developing countries. At the turn of the century, the market for herbal
medicine was $30-60 billion. Whether it was $30 or $60 billion does not matter; the numbers are
still large. However, in 1996 the US herbal medicine market was at $4 billion compared to the
EU1 at $6 billion. It is no surprise that the EU accepts herbal medicine with more ease than the

European Union

The efficacy of herbal medicine varies. Herbal medicine has been around for a long time because
it has negligible side effects.(Kamboj; 36). While that is true, the efficacy of some herbal
medicines lacks due to low concentrations of active principles and the lack of knowledge about
the composition of extracts (Firenzuoli, Gori; 37). The effect of an herbal medicine varies from
person to person because there is not enough research on specific herbs derived from plants. The
side effects of this therapeutic2 medicinal approach are low, but without enough research there
have been instances where two or more herbs have mixed to form a deadly poison (Firenzuoli,
Gori; 38).

India has over 3,000 documented plants that contain medicinal value (Dubey, Kumar, Tripathi;
37). As stated in the previous paragraph, not enough research for herbal medicine is being
conducted for therapeutic medicine to reach its full potential. Therefore even if there were
millions of medicinal plants in India they wouldn't be of use without proper research funds.

While herbal medicine in the EU is available and the efficacy is good, the lack of research puts
herbal medicine behind pharmaceutical medicine. The market, and hence, the efficacy of herbal
medicine in the US would increase if more funds would be allocated to research. Efficacy and
availability depend on research funds. Therefore, funds should be distributed more towards
herbal medicine than pharmaceutical medicine.


Herbal Medicine
Kamboj, V.P. "Herbal Medicine." Herbal Medicine 78.1 (2000): 35-51. Print.

Global promotion of herbal medicine: Indias opportunity

Dubey, N.K., Rajesh Kumar, and Pramila Tripathi. "Global Promotion of Herbal Medicine:
India's Opportunity." <i>Global Promotion of Herbal Medicine: India's Opportunity</i> 86.1
(2004): 37-41. Print.
Herbal Medicine Today: Clinical and Research Issues
Firenzuoli, Fabio, and Luigi Gori. "Herbal Medicine Today: Clinical and Research Issues."
Herbal Medicine Today: Clinical and Research Issues (2007): 37-40. Print.