Is there any danger in using traditional remedies?
Smet, P.A.G.M. de.
The question, whether the use of traditional drugs can entail a health risk, is a rhetorical one. It is well-established that all sorts of vegetable, animal and mineral remedies used in a traditional setting are capable of producing serious adverse reactions. In fact, the medical and toxicological literature is so replete with examples that any attempt to cover them in just thirty minutes would be futile. Instead, the lecture will be largely devoted to a general outlook that may help to put ethnotoxicological case reports and research data in a realistic perspective. The principle that the expected benefit of a drug must outweigh its potential risk applies as much to traditional products as it does to synthetic drug preparations. No patient deserves to be treated with a remedy that is worse than the disease. It is essential, however, that traditional drug therapies are submitted to an appropriate benefit/risk analysis. With respect to the expected benefit, not only pharmacological efficacy should be appraised, but also the social utility of the drug in its cultural context. With regard to potential risk, it is of vital importance to account for confounding factors, such as intuitive risk perception. To assure that ethnotoxicological research efforts have an optimal impact on public health care, practically relevant results must be disseminated in a manner respectful of traditional medicine.Show more [+] Less [-]