Herbal and Homeopathic Remedies: Real Medicine?
Dear Doctor ,
I need to have some minor oral surgery soon, and some friends recommended I use Arnica afterwards to promote healing and preventing bruises. What is Arnica and is there any evidence that it really works?
This is a great question because it raises an important issue today in medicine. Many people have turned to “herbal” remedies, Asian remedies, or remedies, homeopathic treatment(s) and more; or are just plain trying products they hear about from friends and other sources. The fact is that these integrative forms of medicines are drugs or “pro-drugs”. A few are quite potent and have significant side effects. Some of these alternative products have been favorably reviewed in mainstream journals and are being utilized by western medicine (allopathic) practitioners. The effects of these agents need to be taken seriously, and when appropriate, they should be prescribed and administered judiciously.
Arnica is just one good example of a safe remedy when used appropriately. What follows is a short consultation written by one expert in the field. An in-depth article on more topics in Integrative Medicine is forthcoming.