The advantages of naturally derived medicines
It is obvious that during the development of pharmaceutical sector with not only huge achievements but also various issues, people are inclined to go back to nature.
TPO – In human’s lifetime, everyone at least has to take medicines one way or another. Here are some advantages when using naturally derived medicines (including drugs of plant, animal and mineral origin) which are formulated for prevention and treatment purpose.
Reliably effective, sustainabe, having fewer side effects
Most traditional herbs have been used in hundreds, even thousands of years; been long experienced (Collections of remedies of China include more than 15,000 and of Vietnam more than 10,000 relatively of prescriptions from all over the world, from ancient times to the present) and been recorded since several hundred years BC. In addition to the commonly used herbs such as ginseng, Ganoderma, hairy antler, ba kich (Gynochthodes officinalis) and hoang ky (Astragalus propinquus), most of the ancient remedies have been challenged and selected through generations. Some remedies being harmful and lack of safety and causing side effects have been dismissed or rarely used.
Most of these remedies do not only cure but also have systemic effects; not only cure the diseases but also treat the patients in order to balance the yin and yang (between the materials and the function of the body); not only cure one disease but also some other relating diseases. In addition to the treatment of chronic illness, some traditional medicines are used to effectively treat acute and hopeless diseases. A great deal of home remedies have magical effects that modern science cannot explain. Therefore, WHO defines traditional medicine as “all the knowledge and skills which come from different cultures and are effective in the prevention and treatment of human diseases whether proven or not proven”.
It is obvious that during the development of pharmaceutical sector with not only huge achievements but also various issues, people are inclined to go back to nature. Perhaps that’s why although each country has its traditional background, the Western countries and other developed countries are keen to develop their traditional medicine as well as that of Asian countries. Under the form of functional foods, the business of natural ingredient derived products has been intensely blooming.
Available in nature:
The plants, animals and minerals used for making medicines are available in nature, especially in Vietnam which belongs to a rich monsoon climate zone. Beside knowledge of traditional medicine, experiences and the home remedies in folklore, people in ethnic and mountain regions have been disseminating a great experience in primary health care: Find doctors in your home and find medicines in your garden.
Despite showing numerous advantages in the treatment of human’s diseases, traditional medicine still contains several shortcomings. First, it is lack of medicines with fast and strong effect. Second, some effects of medicinal plants have not been verified by science and modern medicine. Third, the supply of ingredients still depends on the importation from foreign countries with unclear origin and quality.
To inherit, promote and develop the traditional medicine as a contribution to the preservation of the Vietnamese intangible cultural heritage, it is necessary to train more physicians with extensive knowledge of both traditional and modern medicine. Regarding traditional medicine, it is crucial to have efficient solutions in the management and development of the quality of traditional drugs such as making agreement on import and export of traditional medicine; quality control; development of clean sourcing areas (GAP); development of traditional pharmaceutical industry and good combination between traditional and modern medicine.
Associate Professor/Doctor Le Luong Dong