Review, Critique, and Guidelines for the Use of Herbs and Homeopathy

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The number of Americans that use alternative therapies, including herbal products, is increasing by overwhelming proportions. Hundreds of herbal products and homeopathic remedies are available to the consumer, but most of these have not been proved safe or effective. Consumers are now turning to their health care provider for guidance concerning the quality, proper use, adverse effects, and precautions associated with these products. Health care providers must develop a thorough understanding of the available literature concerning herbal products and homeopathy to provide patients with truthful, unblased information regarding the potential risks and benefits of each herbal product. This article addresses the distinct difference between herbalism and homoepathy, the importance of standardization, and general use precautions concerning herbal products.

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