Herbal Medicines: Challenges in the Modern World. Part 4. Canada and United States

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Similar to other nations North American people used herbs for thousands of years to treat diseases and purify their spirits. By the middle of the 1900s, evidence-based conventional medicine received wide acceptance in Canada and the United States (US). Nowadays, people are going back to their roots and actively using herbal medicines (HMs) and natural health products (NHPs). Areas covered: This article is focusing on use and regulation of the HMs and NHPs in Canada and the US, raises concerns regarding HM and NHP safety and efficacy, offers suggestions on how to overcome these problems. Materials available from legislative and governmental websites, PubMed and news media were used. Expert commentary: Use of HMs, especially dietary supplements is widespread among adults in Canada and US. HMs and NHPs are regulated in both countries, but minimum criteria for product approval and post-market surveillance have been set. Concerns of quality, contamination, adulteration, and efficacy in are of central importance in the discussion of HMs and NHPs. Detailed product description and research are of vital importance to ensure safety and efficacy of these products. Additionally, 'herbal' education of healthcare providers and patients is needed to guarantee further successful integration of HM and conventional medicines.



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