Herbal medicines need investigation


RECENTLY we have noticed an increase in the number of individuals and groups selling health products which they claim offer miracle cures and instant good health to the sick.
These are mostly money-making schemes which target the gullible, the poor and those who may have lost confidence in our health system.
These products, because they lack proper certification and endorsement by government health authorities, should be viewed with caution.
People who take them, as Health and HIV/AIDS Minister Sir Puka Temu rightly points out, are putting their lives at risk. He says that those potions are “illegal”.
If those selling them really believe that their products can cure illnesses quicker and more effectively than the medicine our qualified doctors prescribe, then people have to question why they have not been endorsed by government pharmacists and doctors.
If indeed people coming up with these products are genuine, they can transform the world’s health systems and share their gifts with medical science.
But none has ever been willing to do that and we should all ask them one very simple question: Why?
Many of them depend on the hopeless and the ignorant for their existence. Knowledge is their enemy.
Indeed if these so-called medicines being sold on the streets are able to cure the sick, the lame or those experiencing mental illness or some kind of physical disability, as claimed, our health authorities would have already endorsed them and made them accessible to the people.
If they are able to cure the many forms of cancer and lifestyle diseases as claimed, our hospital wards will be empty – a big burden off the back of taxpayers.
But we can see that the illegal sale of these products has not deterred the desperate, the weak or the gullible who seek miracle cures to end their suffering. They have to be made aware of the risks these “magic” potions pose to their health.
At the moment there is no proof of the effectiveness of these health products and whether they carry any side-effects. These individuals and groups are no different to faith healers who abound in the world and who offer miracle cures for money.
As Christians, the only miracle cures we believe in are in the Bible, effected by Jesus Christ himself. “Pick up thy bed and walk,” he told the cripple. All Christians know the miracle of Lazarus. But Christ’s miracles were performed in the full glare of publicity. The public saw what happened – and he sought no thanks, no recognition and certainly no recompense.
To operate outside the health systems and in the shadows– as these chalatans do – create doubt and suspicion.
If these individuals and groups can truly heal the sick quickly and effectively, let them prove that to qualified health professionals for all to see. If they succeed, the world will thank them for it.
It is in the best interest of the public that Sir Puka and his health officials clamp down on these illegal activities and those behind the schemes.
There is no shortage of sick people waiting to be cured. But they should not be duped into taking unproven products which may endanger their lives.