How is traditional medicine putting humans’ lives at risk?

What is traditional medicine and how it works?
For thousands of years, people have been using various methods of traditional medicine to treat and heal people from different diseases.
World Health Organization (WHO) defines traditional medicine as “the total of the knowledge, skill, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness.” However, time doesn’t measure quality, and even if traditional medicine has been helpful for a long time, there are new methods in modern medicine showing the high effectiveness of diagnostic treatment. Despite how conventional medicine provides some treatment for people, numerous clinical cases occur every year due to using traditional medicine among the majority of people, which leads to tragic consequences.
According to WHO, traditional medicine includes using different components of nature, such as plants, herbs, and animals, and even several religious and spiritual practices.
For instance, African traditional medicine based on the holistic healthcare approach consists of divination, herbalism, and spiritualism. Imagine a person suffering from the last stage of cancer. Is it not likely that oncologists would agree on the possibility of treating cancer by implementing traditional medicine? The risk of complications of the disease increases in traditional medicine. The thing is that traditional medicine is still used by many people worldwide, and it leads to negative consequences when it is preferred over modern, evidence-based medicine.
There are several cases of implementing herbal medicine. For example, a 5-year-old boy was diagnosed with lead poisoning after ingesting "Tibetan herbal vitamins" over four years. Another case involved a young boy with retina cancer, whose parents resorted to a traditional Indian remedy that caused arsenic poisoning.
Roger Byard
a pathology professor at the University of Adelaide
A 2018 study by researchers from the Department of Experimental Pharmacology & Toxicology at the University of Port-Harcourt reviewed the clinical case reports of herbal hepatotoxicity in developing countries. "Studies in Nigeria have highlighted a possible correlation between the use of herbs and liver disease. In Uganda, an association between the use of traditional herbal medicine with liver fibrosis was demonstrated. Reports from China have revealed incidences of acute liver failure due to herbal medicine use."

Relying on data from a 2015 study by Konstantinos Tziomalos and Evangelos Stournaras, herbal medicine-related hepatotoxicity represents the second most common cause of drug-induced liver injury (DILI) in Western countries.

“In the United States, the drug-induced liver injury network, which studies liver toxicity related to conventional medications or herbal supplements, constitutes the largest database of herbal medicines-related hepatotoxicity. Herbal products also represent the most common cause of DILI in the East. In a prospective Korean nationwide study on DILI, these products were the causative agents of 232 of 371 reported cases of DILI (62.5%).”

Herbal medicine
the second most common cause of drug-induced liver injury (DILI) in Western countries
Unlike modern medicine, traditional medicine is not scientifically proven, and clinical trials should be conducted. Also, it is not regulated by Food and Drug Administration as conventional medications; therefore, their safety and efficiency are not certain.
Many people make mistakes preferring traditional medicine and missing a chance of proper treatment using the evidence-based approach
To conclude, many people make mistakes preferring traditional medicine and missing a chance of proper treatment using the evidence-based approach. The side effects of traditional medicine outweigh that of conventional medicine, which was already checked by several clinical trials to test its effectiveness. Not only the usage of traditional medicine harms health by causing adverse effects, but it also aggravates the treatment of diseases by interaction. It is important to follow a scientifically proven and evidence-based approach for the proper treatment. We always have a choice and take responsibility for our decisions.

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