Conventional Medicine Vs. Modern (Such As Herbs): Are Herbs Ethical? Abstract Unconventional therapies such as herbal medicines have been in use for a long time. Their use has been successful in most instances, however, little is known to the physician and the herbalist about their contents and the harm it can bring to the patient…
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Thus, it is important to understand the ethical issues raised by the use of unconventional medicines in treatment of various conditions. Conventional Medicine vs. Modern Medicine Traditional medicine is an ancient and culture-oriented medical practice, which was in existence in the human societies before the use of modern science in health. The traditional medicine practice varies widely and they attempt to keep the cultural and societal heritage of different nations. The human community responds to treatment of diseases and maintenance of health through the development of a medical system. Thus, the traditional medicine practice is evident in almost all cultures. The traditional medicine practice is mainly relies on personal experience and conventional use. The benefit of traditional medicine and majority of modern medical treatments have not been assesses using contemporary scientific methods. Extensive accounts of experiences and use from one generation to the other offers some evidence that traditional medicine is effective. However, there is need for scientific research to offer additional evidence to the safety and effectiveness of the traditional medicines (World Health Organization [WHO], 2000). Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is used by most of the Americans as they pursue health and well-being. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a group of various health care and medical systems, and products currently not regarded as part of the conventional medicine. Complementary medicine is utilized together with conventional medicine. On the other hand, alternative medicine is utilized in place of conventional medicine. CAM practices are divided into different categories such as body-based practices, manipulative practices, mind and body medicine, and natural products (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine [NCCAM], 2011). Herbal Medicines In the category of natural products, there are various minerals, vitamins, herbal medicines (also referred to as botanicals), and other natural products. Of great importance in this study are the herbal medicines. Botanical or herbal medicines indicate some of the earliest attempts to enhance the human condition (NCCAM, 2011). MedlinePlus (2010) defines an herb as part of a plant or a plant used for its flavor, therapeutic, or scent properties. People take herbal medicine products as dietary supplements to improve their health. Most of the herbs have been used for quite a long time because of their claimed health benefits. However, not all herbs have health benefits, some cause health problems, others are not effective and others fail to interact well with other drugs the patient is taking (MedlinePlus, 2010). Are Herbs Ethical? There are volumes of literature that offer examples of patients who have been cured of their diseases and ailments through the use of unconventional therapies such as meditation, herbal therapies, and acupuncture. However, the basis of most of these reports is on poorly managed clinical trials or testimonials. Thus, it has become a big dilemma for the physicians to properly measure the benefit of unconventional therapy for the patients. There are cases where the patient may demand the use of unconventional therapy for his or her condition or for someone they have control over. For instance, a case is given where a mother demanded that the caregivers use “
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