Saturday, January 20, 2007

Choice Herbal Information

Choice, the consumer magazine, has looked at natural first aid. Sadly, the reality of these products falls far short of the claims:

Claims for natural remedies’ use as first-aid treatments are more often than not based on traditional use, and often aren’t backed up by evidence from clinical trials (where patients are methodically treated and observed in a clinical setting). This doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t work: often no clinical trials have been carried out due to lack of funding. Generally speaking, though, the lack of large, good-quality clinical trials explains why natural remedies are unlikely to be used as first-aid treatments in a conventional medical setting.

This may come as shocking news to the purveyors of such products, from the corner herbalist to the major pharmacy chains, but it's very unlikely to affect sales of a multimillion dollar market.

Though the fact that it has been covered on national commercial television news certainly gives it wide exposure, and the statement by the Choice media spokesperson indicates some consumers are uncertain about the barrage of advertising posing as science:

"We've received a number of queries from consumers over the last year about which remedies they should buy and why," Ms Naidoo said.

The television report concludes with Australian Integrative Medicines Association president Professor Marc Cohen crying poor. It's the usual "how can we afford research when it costs so much?" which is a bit like Bill Gates asking for change for a cup of coffee.

The report is also covered at Terra Sigillata.

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