n CME : Your SA Journal of CPD - The use of herbal OTC products in South Africa : main topic

Volume 21, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-2170



Herbal medicines are products which contain exclusively plant material and / or vegetable drug preparations as active ingredients. <br>In the past there has been a move away from plant-based medicine, but a move back to phytotherapy is now evident from statistics on patient spending. <br>The herbal remedies used in South Africa include St John's wort, garlic, kava, ginkgo, saw palmetto, licorice root, valerian, milk thistle and evening primrose. <br>Problems with herbal medicines include: <br>lack of sufficient research <br>quality issues: misidentification, adulteration, substitution and contamination <br>hypersensitivity reactions <br>lack of safety studies in pregnancy and lactation. <br>Misconceptions about herbal remedies: <br>herbals don't work <br>misunderstanding of how one medicine can cure many conditions <br>herbs are dangerous. <br>Practitioners and pharmacists should develop guidelines for advising patients about the use of herbal remedies. <br>Patients must be actively questioned and encouraged to inform practitioners of all herbal remedies they are taking, particularly prior to surgery, or to prescription of other medication. <br>Training of health care professionals, education of patients, improvement of quality assurance, guidelines for claims made for the medications, and reporting of ADRs are all urgently needed.

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