modern Herbalism and apothecary medicines.


My SO is constantly trying to get me to see that products like Black Seed Oil and shakes made from peppermint leaves and natural herbs are just as effective as pharmaceuticals. I have been trying to find research on the subject but all I can find are those damned MLM schemes explaining why essential oils are so good for you. I’m not looking to prove to my wife she’s wrong. I’m just trying to find out for myself if these treatments are comparable to modern medicine.

In: Technology


All you really need to know is that “supplements” are not regulated nearly as strongly as food or drugs. There is no reason to believe that the “supplements” even contain what they claim to contain, let alone that it will do you any good.

It’s difficult to respond to your questions in a thorough way, because your wording is a bit vague. You specifically mentioned Black Seed Oil, and a quick Google search brought up this meta-analysis:

Before you decide to either dive into or discount the world of natural medicine, you should remember a few things:
1) The scientific field of pharmocognosy, whereby researchers look for plant constituents with medicinal properties that can be synthesized into a pharmaceutical drug, is evidence that plant-based medicine can have validity. The most ubiquitous example of this is acetylsalicylic acid, originally derived from White Willow bark, now synthesized as Aspirin.
2) If you decide to buy an herbal product, do your research. There are reputable manufacturers and there are companies who are only interested in making a buck. Black Seed Oil, in particular, can be cold-pressed seed oil that is clean and tasty, as any seed oil would be, or it can be extracted using a solvent, which is not anything you would enjoy ingesting.
3) Just a quick point that Black seed oil is not an essential oil, and neither is a shake made with peppermint leaves. Don’t let the bad MLM market keep you from something as benign as enjoying peppermint leaves, which are a food and can be quite calming to the stomach.

I wouldn’t venture to “debunk” or support what your SO is telling you without knowing more about what she is recommending.

Natural remedies are, in most cases, not comparable to modern medicine. Don’t mean to be hateful towards natural medicine, it’s just that the concentrations of active ingredient in modern medicine is optimized (after a series of enzymatic assays, computational modeling, pharmacological and pharmacokinetic studies using theoretical and animal models, then human clinical trials) to a degree where the medicine in its prescribed dosage is effective, and not toxic to subject.
Nature doesn’t work that way. Things in nature can be extracted to mankind’s benefit, but often in their crude form they are usually not effective enough on a universal level like modern medicine is, or they are toxic/poisonous.

P.S, I don’t have any affinity to pharmaceutical corporations nor do I work at one, I am just a Medicinal chemist. In my opinion, placebo effect is all too real. Belief/Faith is often more powerful than what it is placed in. Both modern medicine and natural remedies need to be observed for placebo effect. Which modern medicine is, during clinical trials. And natural remedies aren’t, because they are not regulated and don’t need any official trials to be on the market.