Shridhar Sharma's Comment

James W. Jefferson: Herbal Psychopharmacology.
ASCP Model Curriculum in Psychopharmacology 4th edition. 2006

            James W. Jefferson's Power Point presentation on Herbal Psychopharmacology has raised a pertinent issue. Primarily, the issue of the flooding of the US market by Herbal Products.   Certainly the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act and related acts in the USA have played an important role in this development by promoting herbal products.

            Before 1940, we hardly had any modern drugs and there was wide use of products like arsenic, bromides, paraldehyde and mercury in various conditions. During that period, herbal products certainly played very positive role in treatment. We are all familiar about the use of extracts from the   roots of Rauwolfia, serpentine, (snakeroot plant), an Indian herb that was used to treat both psychosis and hypertension.  Marijuana was a commonly used herb to treat anxiety.

            Recently the flooding of the market by herbal products is also due to a powerful herbal product lobby.

            There is another side of the story. In the recent past, the World Health Organization started to promote the use of herbal medicines.

            Herbs certainly have therapeutic potential if used judiciously. It is wrong to condemn them without any further research in the field that would generate the necessary information for taking a balanced view about their use in treatment.


November 23, 2017