Scientific Tests That Have Been Performed on Herbal Remedies

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Scientific tests that have been performed on herbal remedies do not necessarily prove that herbs work for illnesses, but history has shown how effective herbs can be for people. Learn about the flaws of scientifically testing herbal remedies with information from a wellness educator and herbal medicine specialist in this free video on alternative medicine.

Part of the Video Series: Herbs & Alternative Medicine
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Charlotte Skiles. I'm a clinical herbalist and nutrition consultant with Eat in Peace Wellness Consulting located in Austin, Texas. And today's topic is scientific tests that have been preformed on herbal remedies. This is an interesting question and it's very broad so I'm going to answer it as best I can. There are lots of scientific test that they perform on herbal remedies. And first and foremost I'd like to say that none of these tests are designed to prove that herbs work. Herbs work, are the fact that we're here and they were the first form of medicine for people. And plants were here before we were show that they work. That was the first form of medicine in human beings' experience, was their relationship to the plant world. So, no doubt in my mind that herbs work and a lot of people are looking at science to validate that and I say that history validates that. So in terms of the specific tests that they perform, they do invitro tests meaning in a laboratory, and doing that in a petri dish so to speak with the particular herb and particular cells. You can do tests invivo meaning that you are performing that test in an animal of some sort and seeing how the herb moves through it's body and shows up. And you can do clinical trials. Now, clinical trials are the most fascinating part of herbal medicine. I believe it's fine to see how herbs act on a cellular level but that's a flaw inherent within that testing, is that herbs go through the digestive tract, o.k., and very often their metabolism, ie. what the body does to the herbs is where the medicine is. So just putting an herb in a petri dish with a cell and studying it, does not represent what happens in the body to a human. So in terms of clinical scientific tests that they do, that would be the most useful part of the equation and given the assumptions that the proper dosage is being used, in the proper person. You know something that I'd love to see happen in terms of clinical trials on herbs is that herbalists become involved in the process. Very often these tests that they perform on herbs, the people doing the tests are scientists, they're not herbalists. And I'm really a fan of having the input of the herbal profession in that laboratory and pointing out things that may be missing from the studies. So those are just a couple of my thoughts on scientific tests that they perform on herbal remedies.

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