Herbal remedies may do more harm than good

Experts warn that high-street herbal remedies don't work

Experts have warned that there is no evidence that herbal remedies work, and that they can even do more harm than good. The study focused on high-street herbalists, of which at least 1,000 operate in Britain, and the mixed herbal remedies they offer for specific health complaints.

Researchers at the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, looked at all the investigative literature into the effects of complimentary medicine, to try to find occasions when they had been proved to work. From 1,330 papers, just three proved to be controlled trials. This limited evidence gave no conclusive proof that the remedies work, and showed them to be only as effective as a placebo.

Published in the Postgraduate Medical Journal, co-author Dr. Peter Canter commented: ‘Our conclusion is therefore overall that there is no convincing evidence that individualised herbal medicine works in any indication.’

Dr. Canter added that though there has been some evidence to show that standard herbal preparations and single herbal extracts might help certain conditions, he believed that the tailored treatments should be banned.

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