What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Herbalism?

With the cost of medicine and doctors being fairly high, lots of people turn to herbs and other supplements to help them stay healthy.

What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Herbalism

The medicinal use of herbs and plants can be dated back a long way, but while they are often used, do they help to fight illnesses and keep you healthy?

Herbal medicine, also known as botanical medicine, is the act of using herbs to improve your health. Parts of the plant including leaves, seeds, roots, and flowers are all used to create herbal remedies. 

So, if you’re considering using herbal treatments or remedies, we’re here to help! If you want to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of herbalism and whether it is a good path to go down, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s dive in!

What Is Herbal Medicine?

Herbal medicine is a great umbrella term that is used to describe several different medical philosophies. They all use plant-based remedies to fight sickness.

Some modern medicine is also considered (see also: Are Probiotics Considered Complementary Medicine?)herbal because lots of pharmaceutical drugs are derived from herbs and plants. The main difference between synthetic medicine and herbal medicine is that herbal medicine is not created in a lab. 

Herbal medicine uses plant materials to treat lots of different ailments. These include inflammation, erectile dysfunction, and high blood pressure. 

Traditional doctors sometimes suggest patients use certain herbs or supplements instead of using prescription medication.

Pros Of Herbal Medicine 

There are lots of advantages that come with choosing herbal medicine. Let’s have a look at some of these advantages: 


Herbal medicines are a lot more affordable than modern medicine. To get this medicine, you won’t have to deal with insurance, doctors, and wait times. Instead, they are easy to find and cheap to purchase. You can find them at your local store. 


Herbal supplements are made from organic plants. When they are properly sourced, they don’t contain additives, chemicals, or any other extras that some synthetic medicines can contain. 

Supplements are taken directly from the plant meaning they contain no additives. This means there are little or no long-term effects of taking these supplements.

Fewer Side Effects 

As there are no additives in herbal supplements, they have much fewer side effects than other prescription medications. For this reason, they are a great type of medicine.

Herbal medicines should not be overused, though, as this can cause complications.

Growing Research

The information that we have on herbal remedies and supplements is becoming more and more understood over time. Over the years, lots more research is being done to understand how they work and the effects that they have. 

Research has shown that lots of herbs and supplements have had lots of medical benefits. For instance: 


Peppermint has been shown to help digestion and reduce headaches. 


Using cinnamon as medicine helps to promote blood circulation. It also helps in the regulation of blood sugar levels. 


Chamomile is great for the anti-inflammatory antioxidants that it contains. These antioxidants promote relaxation, helping you to wind down before bed.


Ginkgo has been researched and it was found that it helps to promote brain health, improve blood circulation and reduce inflammation.

Green Tea 

The chemical that is found in green tea has been found to lower blood pressure, increase focus and reduce anxiety. This chemical compound is known as I-theanine.

The research that has gone into these natural remedies is still being carried out and the distinction between the remedies that work, and ones that may not be effective is becoming much more clear.

Cons Of Herbalism 

There are some disadvantages of herbalism. Let’s take a look at these cons: 

Fake Supplements 

What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Herbalism

It is important to purchase herbal supplements from a well-trusted source. If you purchase products that have not been regulated, you may find that they are not what they claim to be. 

Sometimes, dangerous additives are added to the herbs, causing adverse reactions to the medicine. 

Other merchants may even add useless fillers to the product, meaning they will not work.

Negative Reactions

Sometimes herbal medicines can interfere with prescription drugs. For this reason, it is important to let your doctor know before you start taking supplements. 

Certain supplements may reduce the effectiveness of some prescription drugs, and sometimes they can cause further health issues such as high or low blood pressure and blood thinning. 

For this reason, you must be careful what you are taking, especially if you are also taking prescription medication.

Allergic Reactions 

Lots of supplements also contain allergens, so it is important to check exactly what is in them before you start taking them. If you’re not sure, it is a good idea to start with a very small dose to check if you have any reaction to this medication. 

If you are unsure, you can also opt to talk to your doctor or a healthcare professional to check if it is safe to start taking them.


Because herbs are not always regulated, it can be unclear what dosage is needed. If you are taking raw herbs, it is very difficult to get the dosing correct. For instance, soy and ginger can be difficult to regulate. 

If you are not sure how much of the medicine you should be taking, it is a good idea to check with your doctor. They can help to educate you on dosage.

Botanical Uses In Modern Drugs

In recent years, medicinal plants have played a huge role in the development of modern medicine. Around 35% of pharmaceutical drugs that are available today come from botanical sources. For instance, aspirin was developed from a compound that was found in the bark of willow trees.

Herbalism has played a part in many different therapeutic medications including Alzheimer’s, Cancer, bacterial infections, arthritis, and Pain treatment.

Modern Research Into Herbalism 

The history of herbal medicine is very complicated, and, in the past, it has been believed that there is a lack of scientific evidence when it comes to these drugs. 

However, according to the World Health Organization, around 80 percent of the population across the world uses herbal medicine to treat certain illnesses.

Herbalism has exploded in the past few years, and more and more research has begun to explore the potential properties of botanicals. Researchers have suggested that these herbal remedies (see also: Herbal Remedies For Depression – Do They Actually Work?)may be a lot more effective than people believed.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it! Herbal supplements can work great for those who are willing to give them a go. As with most things, there are advantages and disadvantages to herbalism, but overall, the pros outweigh the cons. 

If you are aware of how to separate the good herbal remedies from the bad ones, there is nothing to worry about. However, if you have any concerns it is a good idea to consult a medical professional.

Alternative medicine isn’t going anywhere, and it can be very beneficial to many people. If you ensure that you remain informed, your health and well-being could greatly benefit from herbalism!

Clare McAfee
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