Thesis about herbal plants

European Traditional Herbalism

The issues associated with quality of herbal medicine can be divided into two categories: external and internal. Internal and external factors can affect both the quality of herbal medicine and the products sold. Some examples of external factors include toxic metals, pesticides, and microbes. Internal factors include non-uniform ingredients Zhang et al. I used the list of internal and external factors affecting the quality of herbal medicine from the Zhang study and built upon it while conducting my own interviews. During the interviews, I asked each herbalist if they knew of any factors having a direct connection to the products they use, sell, and manufacture.

Lastly, I applied this idea of internal and external factors affecting the quality of herbal products during my workplace observation of the Chinese herbalist Zhang et al. Data collected from the herbalists on the efficacy of the herbal remedies was used to determine if the herbal products are safe or not by providing a list of risks and possible drug interactions to avoid. Included in the interviews, I inquired about how the proper dosage of each herbal product is determined and how are they administered.

See Appendix A for full set of interview questions. I also targeted the herbs that were used most often by each of the herbalists. After the conclusion of the interviews and data collection, I analyzed and compared the different types of herbs used by each of the herbalists. I also compared the different types of alternative medicine employed by each herbalist as a comparative study of complementary and alternative medicine healing systems. An angle of my project that I used to deepen my analysis was to compare the local alternative healing systems of Chinese and Native American medicine to other alternative healing traditions.

Advanced Course Thesis/Project Tips – Herbal Academy

David Winston was also used as a point of comparison in my research because he is a practicing Chinese herbalist also trained as a traditional Cherokee healer Winston Using Winston in my research allows me to further my analysis on the consistencies within Chinese and Native American medicine.

I also collected data from another semi-structured interview with the head of the local University of South Florida organization Complementary Alternative and Naturopathic Medicine CANM , through email and field notes taken on responses. I examined how CANM increases awareness of herbal medicine to students and the community, as well as how they inform the public not only of benefits but also of the possible risks associated with certain herbal products.

Data Analysis For my data analysis, I analyzed the data extracted from the literature review and each herbalist to determine if there is a general theory to how or why herbal medicine works. I then gathered data and compared the different styles of complementary and alternative medicine employed by the Chinese herbalist and Native American herbalist. I did this by asking each herbalist about his or her clinical practice and beliefs about using herbal medicine. From the data collected during the interviews, I analyzed the possible benefits and risks of using herbal medicine as well as how the herbs are administered with proper dosage.

I did this by inquiring if the herbalist informed patients of all benefits and risks before prescribing the herbal medicines and how they were administered to patients. Proper dosage for the Chinese herbalist was established by age, sex and weight personal communication, Robert Linde, April 10, I then asked the Chinese and Native American herbalist which herbs they used most often.

Each of the two herbalists interviewed gave their own interpretation of the commonly used herbs and their individual type of complementary and alternative medicine. Included in my data analysis is a list of all possible manufacturing risks, to examine if the efficacy or quality of herbal medicine is influenced by manufacturing contaminants. I analyzed manufacturing risks to determine if there needs to be more quality control over manufacturing and producing herbal medicines.

Also included in my analysis was how Chinese and Native American medicine beliefs and practices differ from the culturally defined western model of healing. The Western model of healing with pharmaceuticals is viewed by many as harmful, invasive, too powerful, and in direct conflict with complementary and alternative healing systems Whyte et al. CANM increases awareness of herbal medicines to students and the community by holding meetings on campus with guest speakers trained in herbalism or other complementary and alternative systems of healing.

These guest speakers bring with them a vast understanding of herbal medicines and they are more than willing to answer any questions one has. Finally, as a way to deepen my analysis, I compared the alternative healing systems of Chinese and Native American medicine to other alternative medicine traditions I researched in my literature review.

While conducting the literature review I found two studies that were significant to my research. The first study was on Ethnopharmacology and examined the side effects of using herbal medicines and conventional drugs used at the same time. Ethnopharmacology can be used to study the safety of traditional herbal medicines.

With the increased use of herbal medicine, comes an increase in cases of adverse or unwanted side effects, such as abnormal liver function. The Jeonga et al study sampled three hundred and thirteen patients using herbal medicine while in the hospital. Fifty-seven patients received only herbal medicine for treatment and two hundred and fifty-six patients received both herbal medicine and conventional drugs for treatment.

The study showed that none of the patients in the herbal medicine only group showed signs of abnormal liver function. However, six people in the combined herbal medicine and conventional drug group showed signs of abnormal liver function. The second significant study from my literature review examines herbalism from Northern Peru.

The Bussmann et al. The researchers gathered plants in the markets and in the homes of the traditional healers, known as curanderos. Collecting nine hundred and seventy-four different herbal preparations used to treat one hundred and sixty-four different afflictions. The researchers used cluster analysis to group the similar herbs together. Their data showed what family of plant species the medical herbs belonged to and how many diseases they were each used to treat. Concluding that the local healers understand the complexity of treating disease because they carefully chose remedies based on the underlying cause of the aliment or disease Bussmann et al.

This study is relevant to the data analysis part of my research because it explains the way herbs are categorized and the extensive traditional knowledge that is utilized by these alternative healing systems, while using herbal medicines.

Herbal Medicine Today: Clinical and Research Issues

Results The beliefs and practices surrounding Native American herbal medicine are centered on the idea of a supreme God known as the Creator, the Great One, or the Great Spirit. He is part of the sun and the sun is part of him. This quote exemplifies the Native American belief that the Great Spirit is in all of nature and all of nature is the Great Spirit. The Native American herbalist from my interview describes herself as a Native American Ethnobotanist.

She was trained to be a Naturalpathic Doctor ND but turned it down because as such she would have to give up her spiritual beliefs as a Native American healer.

She requires patients to sign a waiver stating they know that she is a Native American healer not a medical doctor. Her method of treatment is not to talk about disease but rather she does biofeedback work and energy balancing by talking to patients about stressors in their life and ways to reduce that stress. According to the Chinese herbalist, the beliefs and practices of Chinese medicine are centered on what he describes as the construct of yin and yang. This construct of yin and yang describes all things in the world as in constant transition and balance.

They transform into one other and are viewed as mutually dependent of each other. According to him, yin and yang are rarely practiced in Chinese herbal medicine but the construct of this concept that everything is in constant balance is used as a different set of beliefs in the practice.

Chinese herbal medicine is a different paradigm that uses observational based medicine by looking at patterns of disharmony in the body personal communication, Robert Linde, April 10, He is also self- taught in Western herbal medicine from knowledge he acquires through books and conferences.

After his schooling, he opened a unique multi-practitioner and multi- modality practice for alternative medicine located in St.

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Introduction and Importance of Medicinal Plants and Herbs

His clinic is unique because it offers four acupuncturists, a massage therapist, a mental health therapist, a MD, and a Chiropractor. His practice also offers a two-year herbal training program for students.

Table of Content

The students are supervised but get clinical practice through a low cost community outreach program. This program allows individuals to come get a health evaluation and recommendation for herbal medicines from the students at a lower cost than his regular clinic personal communication, Robert Linde, April 10, According to the Chinese herbalist some examples of manufacturing contaminates that can affect the quality of herbal medicine include toxic heavy metals, pesticides, and microbes Zhang et al.

He controls for these manufacturing risks by ordering his herbs from a credible distributor and asking for a copy of the spec sheets on testing before he purchases new herbal products.


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He also always tests the herbs on himself first to look for side effects such as digestive trouble or insomnia. The Native American herbalist notes that factors such as where the herbs are harvested, the location they are grown, and the frame of mind of the person gathering the herbs can all affect the quality of herbal products. Herbs are classified as dietary substances not prescription drugs. Unlike prescription drugs, dietary supplements do not have to claim to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent illness. Because medical herbs are classified as dietary supplements, they can be produced and sold in the marketed without testing or proven the safety and efficacy Bent DSHEA and GMP laws only regulate labeling and false claims they do not regulate the quality control of manufacturing herbal products or the chemical levels of the herbs Kamboj 39; personal communication, Robert Linde, April 10, The efficacy of herbal products will remain uncertain unless there are changes to regulate the standardization of herbal products Bent He recommends when using an herb for the first time to that you only take one quarter of the recommended dosage to make sure you do not have an adverse reaction to the herb.

Following the proper recommended dosage is very important, more does not mean better with herbal medicine.


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  • If you are pregnant or breast feeding, make sure you know which herbs are safe to use because during pregnancy, a majority of herbs can be harmful to the mother and the baby if ingested. By better knowing the benefits and risks associated with an herb, one can determine if an herbal product is safe to use or not. Chinese and Native American healing systems believe in holistically treating the whole body and organs rather than focusing solely on the specific parts affected.

    Alternative Medicine Research Paper Topic Suggestions

    Chinese herbal medicine also views the body organs as being in a system of hierarchy with the five primary zong organs, which are the heart, liver, lungs, spleen, and kidneys personal communication, Robert Linde, April 10, The Chinese herbalist believes the general theory to why herbal medicine works is because they do not looks at organs as singular but rather they look at the whole body for answers.

    Chinese medicine looks at seasonal patterns and the rotation of planets around the sun, as the rotation of everything changes so do our bodies personal communication, Robert Linde, April 10, Another major difference is the types of commonly used herbal medicines they preferred to use.


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    • Native American herbalists mostly used whole herbs whereas the Chinese herbalists mostly used powdered solutions of herbs. The Native American herbalist believes that what you need grows where you are and each person should use different herbs depending on where he or she lives and what grows there. For example, he uses herbs from China, North America, South America, and hopes to expand to Africa in the near future.

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