In North America the natural health products industry is growing faster than any other industry. According to the National Institutes of Health the dietary supplements industry alone is currently worth $23 billion. Of the Americans, 62% uses some form of complementary or alternative medicine. Therapies vary from acupuncture and meditation to herbal remedies and folk medicine.
Herbal remedies are in general considered a cheaper and usually safer alternative for pharmaceutics. Herbs work for more than 90% of the people and they seldom cause unpleasant side-effects. “Many have become disillusioned with the safety of pharmaceuticals and their associated high cost', so says Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council.
Naturopathic doctors play an increasingly important role in giving advise and recommending alternative therapies.
The flipside of all this, are the legal actions to be taken to prevent unsafe products from being available on the market. Drug laws, regulation by the American FDA, European commissions and councils are concerned with this. Unfortunately this affects the availability of products that passed the examinations. An incident may easily lead to regulated sale or a total ban on a particular product, as is the case with ephedra, a natural stimulant and cold medicine. As a result the product is often not legally available in Europe.
However, the interest in herbal products remains strong, which leads to people picking some of the healing plants in the wild in order to turn a profit. Others try growing medicinal herbs and plants themselves. As yet, mainly manufacturers and importers of herbal supplements, remedies and natural products are in excellent business.
Source: Kypost.com and Uitdaging.net