The Differences Between Prescription and Herbal Medicines

There’s a lot of buzz these days about prescription versus herbal medicines. Which type is better? Both prescription and herbal medicines have their advantages and disadvantages, and sometimes the medicines can work together to improve a patient’s health.

Modern Medicine Is Integrative Medicine

Well-known Dr. Andrew Weil, MD, could be considered the world’s leading proponent of integrative medicine, which means, therapies that use both conventional (prescription) and alternative (herbal). He’s an expert who strongly believes that good medicine should be based on good science, and that both philosophies should be used to facilitate the body’s innate healing response as needed.

What Are Prescription Medicines?

These are pharmaceutical drugs, which means you need a doctor’s prescription to legally obtain them. An Rx drug is usually composed of synthetic materials and controlled by a prescription, so that it’s not abused or bought by those who don’t require the medicine. Here in the United States, the FDA, or Food and Drug Administration oversees what constitutes a prescription med.

The advanced technology used in creating prescription drugs is quite impressive these days. The machinery used, including high-powered laboratory stirrers can handle various quantities, either with or without heating capabilities. Also, these overhead laboratory stirrers can operate with open or closed vessels and maintain a set temperature, depending on the medicine being developed. The precision is exact and ensures for a perfectly made prescription product.

What Are Herbal Medicines?

Herbal medicine comprises the use of plants or plant extracts that may be eaten or applied to the skin to treat just about every medical condition out there. Like prescription drugs, these herbs contain a wide array of chemical compounds, which gives them versatile therapeutic powers. The only problem here, herbal medicine is not regulated. Herbs are sold in the United States as dietary supplements available to anyone. In addition, the practice of herbal medicine is not a licensed profession here.

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It’s best to do your homework when choosing herbal medicines. Inform your doctor that you wish to add them to a prescription or in place of one. A pharmacist can also advise you on any potential herb/prescription interactions. Modern medicine today, tries to offer a balance between prescription and herbal therapies. Both types of meds can be powerful, and a drug or herb taken incorrectly and without precautions can have serious or sometimes fatal consequences. Much thought and care should be used when deciding on a medicine to treat your condition.