Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using Traditional Medicine: Everyone in this world has had a reason to take drugs before; whether in a bid to fight one ailment or the other or to ensure a certain condition. So it would come as a surprise that this topic has become quite relevant in today’s climate.
There are two main forms of medication; traditional and non-traditional or modern treatment. The herbal or traditional style of treatment usually involves the use of herbs, oils, spices, and pills (recent), to ensure the treatment of various ailments. On the other hand, non-herbal medicine involves tablets. injectable liquids and syrups that have gone through scientific research by licensed personnel in the medical field.
One of the major criticisms of traditional medicine is that because a bulk of the relevant knowledge is passed down from generation to generation, traditional physicians administer drugs mostly through a trial and error process till they arrive at what works perfectly for any particular illness. This latter fact is perhaps responsible for why a lot of people distrust traditional medicine. They feel that there should at least be a breakdown of the components of the drug that is being administered, backed by an academic structure for scientific research and packaging.
However, as a defense to the criticisms of the administration and packaging of traditional medicine, it is important to remember that non-traditional medicine derives most of its ingredients or components from herbs and natural oils. Take for instance; the Aspirin and the Digitalis drugs derived from the willow back and toxic foxglove flowers respectively. The major differences are in research methods, administration, and dosage.
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Table of Content
Advantages (Merits) of Traditional Medicine
Contrary to the popular belief conveniently enabled by the pharmaceutical industry, there are various advantages of traditional medicine that you probably were not aware of. These advantages apply to basic traditional medicine across the globe. Non-conventional treatment methods may not necessarily apply. They include:
1. Availability of medicine: A major contributor to the level of availability of traditional medicine is that because it involves herbs and natural oils, a person could easily grow the herbs themselves or acquire them from a person who has. Common herbs like Peppermint or Aloe Vera can easily be grown in a garden without necessarily requiring a license.
This is opposed to modern medicine, where all drugs have to be acquired at a pharmacy or licensed drugstores. This reduces the level of availability, especially for people who live in very remote areas and have to travel long distances to acquire their prescribed drugs. Also, traditional drugs can be administered without prescription, one can easily access the drugs without much hassle.
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2. Reduced cost: Traditional medicines sell at much lower rates as opposed to modern medicine with more standards rates. This is the case, largely because the research procedures are not as expensive as that of modern medicine.
An additional explanation for the low prices of traditional medicine would be the non-existence of middlemen in most dealership deals. Some of the manufacturers may be in fact patients themselves and would not need to visit the pharmacy or consult a medical doctor.
3. Minimal risk of side effects: Pharmaceutical drugs have been proven to have more after-effects than traditional medicine. The primary reason for this is that natural herbs and oils are accepted by the body without much resistance because of their organic nature. This advantage can spare a patient very intense side effects.
4. Works for complicated and chronic ailments: Another benefit of using traditional medicine is that it has proven to be very effective in cases where modern medicine has created certain complications.
For example, herbal medicine became a viable option after the Vioxx drug was recalled by the health sector due to its risk of increased cardiovascular complications. This recourse to traditional medicine revealed that treatments like the addition of simple herbs to patients’ diet and reduction in the consumption of white sugar are some ways of treating arthritis.
5. Low chances of addiction: Modern medicine includes the use of chemical substances in the manufacturing of drugs that make them incredibly addictive.
Granted, plants or herbals like opium and some tree backs can be just as addictive as modern drugs. However, on a general scale, modern drugs are more addictive than traditional drugs -with even more intense withdrawal symptoms.
Disadvantages (Demerits) of Traditional Medicine
1. Not effective for all conditions: Traditional medicine can solve quite a lot of health problems, but not all of them, and that stands as a disadvantage. We say this because to an extent, traditional medicine is still largely underdeveloped, and this leaves out a lot of ailments traditional medicine cannot cure.
For instance, a traditional physician cannot carry out surgery or any of those complicated illnesses with just traditional medicine.
2. Problem of dosage: Dosage has to do with the measured administration of drugs to patients. This is done mostly to prevent the possibility of abuse and overdose. However, in the case of traditional medicine, there is little adherence to prescription.
Also, people that grow these plants/herbs in their own homes may become too casual with their drugs intake. When they do that, they start to mix up the dosage and the portions of my meals.
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3. Risk of using inferior medication: An additional disadvantage would be that the use of herbs can leave room for adulterated mixtures and drugs. This is very risky, as it can leave a patient worst than when they started.
Although duplication has no boundaries and the production of fake drugs can be seen in the pharmaceutical industry as well, it is highly unchecked in traditional medical practice.
The main reason why there’s such high intolerance on the part of modern medicine is that the billion-dollar companies that manufacture these drugs can afford to make provisions for further verification of drugs that are put on sale.
4. Medication interactions: Traditional physicians always warn against the intake of traditional medicine alongside modern alternatives due to the possibility of a bad reaction. This happens when the medicine interacts with some other substance in your system to sometimes produce different reactions than expected.
This is why it is very important to discuss dosage with your traditional physician. If you are on any other medication, this would be a great time to let them in on the details of the medication.
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5. Risk involved in acquiring wild herbs: This disadvantage mostly applies where the herbs or substances involved are not very common. This means that the manufacturer has to go to great lengths to harvest them. This involves both the risk of encountering wild and dangerous animals in thick forests where these herbs exist and also that of picking out the wrong herb.
The latter usually occurs where other herbs are very similar and identical to untrained eyes. This is why manufacturers, who could also be patients, need to be very certain of the herbs they intend to harvest to avoid poisoning and/or further complications.
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In case you are wondering if traditional medicine is good for you in light of the several demerits associated with its administration and dosage, we recommend that everyone should be open to traditional means of curing ailments. However, we say this with the warning that a patient should ensure that not only are the drugs original and effectual but that they are also the best option for whatever illness they are battling with. This can also be flipped in the case of modern medicine as well.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka ACMC, is a Law Student and a Certified Mediator/Conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a Developer with knowledge in HTML, CSS, JS, PHP and React Native. Samuel is bent on changing the legal profession by building Web and Mobile Apps that will make legal research a lot easier.