Traditional herb now shaping how we treat ailments

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 09:58 | By
Grace Kosgei, 75 displays some of the prepared herbs for her clients in Nandi County. KNA

The debate between natural versus synthetic medicine has been raging for centuries. The use of natural remedies dates back to ancient times, while synthetic medicine emerged during the 19th Century. However, the rise of traditional medicine has highlighted their importance in treating a range of ailments. This has raised questions about the role of synthetic medicine in modern healthcare.

Advocates of traditional medicine argue that natural remedies are safer and gentler on the body compared to synthetic drugs. They believe the body is a self-healing organism and that natural remedies work by stimulating the body’s natural healing mechanisms. Moreover, traditional medicine is often less expensive than modern medical treatments, making it more accessible to a wider range of people. Traditional medicine is shaping the way we treat our bodies in several ways. First, traditional medicine has helped to popularise the idea of a holistic approach to health, which recognises the interconnectedness of the body, mind and spirit. This has led to an increased interest in natural remedies, such as herbal medicines, acupuncture and meditation.

Traditional medicine has also influenced modern medicine in the development of new treatments and therapies. For example, many modern drugs have been derived from natural sources such as plants and fungi. Additionally, alternative therapies such as chiropractic and osteopathic medicine have gained more acceptance within the medical community and are now recognised as valid treatment options for certain health conditions.

Traditional medicine has helped to promote the idea of personalised medicine, which takes into account an individual’s unique genetic makeup, lifestyle and environmental factors when developing a treatment plan. This approach recognises that no two people are alike and that treatments should be tailored to individual’s specific needs.

Finally, traditional medicine has helped to raise awareness about the importance of preventive health measures such as exercise, healthy eating, and stress reduction. Natural products, which have evolved over millions of years, have a unique chemical diversity, which results in diversity in their biological activities and drug-like properties. Those products have become one of the most important resources for developing new lead compounds and scaffolds. Natural products will undergo continual use toward meeting the urgent need to develop effective drugs, and they will play a leading role in the discovery of drugs for treating human diseases, especially critical diseases. Through its use of natural products, traditional medicine offers merits over other forms of medicine in such areas as the following: discovery of lead compounds and drug candidates; examining drug-like activity; and exploring physicochemical, biochemical, pharmacokinetic, and toxicological characteristics. If any form of traditional medicine is applied successfully, it may surprisingly assist in the development of new drugs, thereby resulting in many benefits, such as significant cost reductions.

In contrast, synthetic medicine is developed in a laboratory and often contains chemicals that are not found in nature. Synthetic drugs are designed to target specific symptoms or conditions and can be highly effective in treating a range of illnesses. However, they can also have significant side effects, and some people may be allergic to the chemicals used in synthetic medicine.

There is no doubt that the debate between natural versus synthetic medicine is likely to continue for many years to come. While synthetic medicine has undoubtedly revolutionised modern healthcare, the rise of traditional medicine has highlighted the importance of natural remedies in treating a range of ailments.

— The writer, Harriet Ng’ok, is the founder and owner of Harriet’s Botanicals

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