Just like conventional medicines, herbal medicines will have an effect on the body, and can be potentially harmful if not used correctly. The herbalist deals with a wide range of health conditions in every age group. Herbal medicines are selected mainly to strengthen or stimulate the body’s normal functions and so help the body heal itself. Unlike most conventional medicines which usually have a single ingredient, herbs contain many ingredients and so may support the body’s health in several ways at once. Africa CDC strengthens the capacity and capability of Africa’s public health institutions as well as partnerships to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks, based on data-driven interventions and programmes.
Herbal-based traditional medicines or phytomedicines play a significant role in disease management in Africa and are widely used as alternative medicines. Therefore, it is important to evaluate both the safety and efficacy of these indigenous botanical assets in medicine prior to endorsing their use by the medical community and the public. There have been several declarations by institutions in Member States on the use of herbal-based traditional medicine for the prevention of SARS-CoV-2 transmission or treating people with a presumptive or definitive diagnosis of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Many of the claims are difficult to verify because of the lack of documented evidence showing that these remedies prevent or clear SARS-CoV-2 infection and/or improve clinical outcomes of those suffering from COVID-19.
Patients should also be advised to continue taking their prescribed medicines in the way recommended by their healthcare professional while they are taking a herbal medicine. Any changes to a prescribed medication should only be done following a consultation with the patient’s prescriber. Patients should be advised that they should consult a doctor or qualified healthcare practitioner if their symptoms persist or if adverse effects other than those specified for the herbal medicine occur. If any unusual adverse effects do occur, reporting these to the Commission on Human Medicine either by the patient or via a qualified healthcare professional should be encouraged.
This is administered by a government agency, the MHRA. It requires that herbal medicines marketed in the UK have a history of traditional use, are of good quality and are safe. However, efficacy is still relevant – under the traditional herbal registration scheme, the pharmacological effects or efficacy of the medicinal product must be plausible on the basis of longstanding use and experience. The committee advises on the safety and quality of herbal medicines when there’s an application for registration, marketing authorisation or product licence. Patients should be encouraged to read the Patient Information Leaflet that will be included with a herbal medicinal product. Patients should also be reminded that as herbal medicines are medicines they should be kept out of the sight and reach of children.
Patro, G., Kumar Bhattamisra, S., Kumar Mohanty, B. Leaves extract on anxiety, depression and memory. Nayak, B. S., Marshall, M. R., Isitor, G. Wound healing potential of ethanolic extract of Kalanchoe pinnata lam.
Herbal slimming products and sexual health products, for example, are best avoided because they have been found to contain dangerous ingredients, including pharmaceutical ingredients, that aren’t stated on the label. Your medicine will contain a selection of herbs specifically matched to your individual needs and current state of health. This is usually in the form of herb teas, tinctures, pills, creams or lotions . Advice on diet and general health-care may be offered.
Pharmacists should advise patients that the quality and safety of authorised herbal medicines bearing either a PL or THR number on the packaging will have been assessed by the MHRA. For herbal medicines with a THR number, efficacy will be based on their traditional use, although the proposed indications must be pharmacologically plausible. Efficacy does not have to be supported by randomised controlled trials, although clinical trials have been performed on some herbal products. The occurrence of high-profile safety concerns of HMs, coupled with the difficulty to demonstrate clinical efficacy, mandated that DRAs have regulatory evaluation measures in place to ensure the safe use and availability of HMs in their market .
Use of herbal medicine principles in local conditions. Suitable countries will be those that have a level of pharmacovigilance equivalent to that of the UK. This is to ensure that any safety issues have been properly identified to support the traditional use of the product. The MHRA will publish a list of suitable countries for this purpose on the gov.uk website and update this list as new entries arise.
Any unlicensed herbal medicines previously made available through the Section 12 Medicines Act exemption can no longer be placed on the market after April 2011 unless they have been registered through the THMRS or obtained a marketing authorisation. Herbal medicine is the use of plants and plant extracts to treat disease. Many modern drugs were originally extracted from plant sources, even if they’re now made synthetically. Whereas conventional medicine now tries to use only the active ingredient of a plant, herbal remedies use the whole plant. Herbalists argue that the mixture of chemicals in the whole plant work together to give a better effect than a single active ingredient. Herbal medicines have been defined as “preparations manufactured industrially consisting of active ingredient which is/are purely and naturally original, not chemically altered plant substance, and is/are responsible for the overall therapeutic effect of the product” .