Herbal remedies have been used for centuries to treat all manner of illness and infirmity, but some work better than others. The modern pharmaceutical industry has largely supplanted natural remedies by providing more potent, more effective medications. In recent decades, however, herbal alternatives to prescription medications have experienced a resurgence in popularity. The reasons that people are turning to herbal alternatives are myriad, but here are a few of the more common.
One reason for the resurgence of interest in herbals is cost. Prescription drugs, especially those that aren’t covered by health insurance, can cost dozens or even hundreds of pounds per month. Herbal alternatives, though they may be less effective in some cases, are far more affordable. In fact, most herbal alternatives cost just a fraction of what their prescription drug counterparts cost.
A second reason that people are turning to herbal alternatives has to do with safety. In recent years, prescription drug safety has been called into question as manufacturers suppress information about side effects, let quality control measures slip, or simply market drugs with known severe side effects. Herbals are increasingly seen as the “safe” alternative to prescriptions because most have no side effects or have a limited range of side effects. Because herbal alternatives are natural, they are embraced by individuals looking to avoid the chemical concoctions of modern pharmaceuticals. People look to herbal therapies to support normal body function rather than to alter biochemical processes the way that prescription drugs do.
People are also turning to alternatives because they are faster to access. Prescription medications often require a trip to the doctor for an initial evaluation and then additional trips any time a change in dosage or medication is required. Herbal medicines can be purchased over the counter and doses can be titrated at home using the included dosage limits and instructions. It is simply easier to deal with herbal alternatives than to work through the health care bureaucracy.
Herbal alternatives tend to have far fewer interactions with each other and with food than do prescription medications. That said, herbal and prescription drugs can interact violently with one another and should never be taken in combination without the express consent and oversight of a physician. Everyone reacts differently so, even under the guidance of a physician, herbals and prescription drugs should be mixed with great caution.
Ultimately, effectiveness may be the largest deciding factor between prescription drugs and herbals. Where effective herbals are available, they tend to win out over prescription medications. Fortunately for those suffering from ED, there are a number of known, tested herbal supplements. ED is one area in which herbals have a distinct advantage over prescription medications.
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