Talk:Herbal supplement

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This Alternative medicine related article has been awarded BRONZE status for quality. It's getting there, but could be better with improvement. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.


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Result 5. Unique Identifier 15047038 Authors Bent S. Ko R. Authors Full Name Bent, Stephen. Ko, Richard. Institution Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, USA. Title Commonly used herbal medicines in the United States: a review.[see comment]. [Review] [78 refs] Comments Comment in: Am J Med. 2004 Oct 1;117(7):533; author reply 533; PMID: 15464717 Source American Journal of Medicine. 116(7):478-85, 2004 Apr 1. Local Messages JOURNAL OWNED BY THE BEAUMONT ROYAL OAK AND TROY MEDICAL LIBRARIES. TROY RETAINS CURRENT FIVE YEARS ONLY, AVAILABLE VIA SCIENCEDIRECT STARTING IN 1999, NOTE: VOLUMES OLDER THAN 1996 ARE IN OFF-SITE STORAGE Abstract Herbal medicines are widely used in the United States, with approximately one quarter of adults reporting use of an herb to treat a medical illness within the past year. Herbs contain complicated mixtures of organic chemicals, the levels of which may vary substantially depending upon many factors related to the growth, production, and processing of the herbal product. While many manufacturers attempt to provide products with consistent levels of suspected active ingredients through a process known as standardization, this technique has uncertain effects on the safety and efficacy of the final product. Herbs are considered to be dietary supplements in the United States and therefore are subjected to a very limited form of regulation and oversight. Although herbs are often believed to be "natural" and therefore safe, many dangerous and lethal side effects have recently been reported, including direct toxic effects, allergic reactions, effects from contaminants, and interactions with drugs and other herbs. Of the ten most commonly used herbs in the United States, systematic reviews have concluded that only four are likely to be effective, and there is very limited evidence to evaluate the efficacy of the approximately 20,000 other available herbal products. Because herbs may contain potent bioactive substances and are often marketed to treat specific diseases, many have argued that they should be subject to more stringent regulation, similar to over-the-counter drugs. To improve the safety and consistency of herbs, additional research is needed to define the pharmacology, stability, and bioavailability of these products. [References: 78] Publication Type Journal Article. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't. Review.

I'm surprised and appaled that this article is considered gold quality[edit]

It's really not that well put together, and it has a laughably poor cherrypicked selection of information on the few supplements it barely covers. For example, the statement it makes on Ginko Biloba - which isn't even sourced - is just a stub blanket statement. Let's compare that to the actual state of evidence based medicine on Ginko Biloba. I mean, come on - we're the ones paying no attention to medical science in this piece. What is absolutely clear to me is that we must move away from making statements on specific supplements in the article, and instead focus on the over-arching problems of "ayruvedic medicine" (which isn't medicine), "traditional chinese medicine" (which isn't medicine), the many problems with the international supplement industries (heavy metals, fillers, bacteria, fake labeling, lack of regulation etc) and just generally direct people back towards evidence-based medicinal science and away from the woo. Currently, this is not the case with our article whatsoever. I am formally petitioning that we demote this article to bronze or possibly silver until it gets a big rewrite that reflects the great importance of the topic (which is highly important and woo-laden). The current article is by no means of even near-gold quality. Signed, a dedicated pharmacology nerd. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 12:08, 1 April 2016 (UTC)

I agree. Compared to homeopathy, for instance, this article is not very good.--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк) 22:43, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
It's rather short, perhaps worth of silver but not of gold. I suppose it was considered superior quality one day, but the standards have changed.--JorisEnter (talk) 22:45, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
I wouldn't put this article past bronze based on the content - if even bronze, and I'm serious. What's worse, it gives a completely unscientific discussion on specific herbs. A source here and there, no sources... Compare that to the link I gave above. It's an atrocity, truly. I find that this article (Herbal supplement) alongside Nutritional supplement, Vitamin supplement and Pseudovitamin (to name a few) need a massive revamp for sake of basic quality. Several of them will need to be merged alongside the partial or majority rewrite. As it stands now, they're truly atrociously poorly written and outdated with regards to the science. I'm not spewing vitriol here, I'm just lamenting that they fall so very far below the standard of quality we all aspire to build for RW articles that are of high import to the mission, never mind front page articles. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 22:53, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
And for the record, the article was approved as a cover article eight years ago (in 2008), and even then, it was seemingly a very thinly motivated decision. The standards for our articles have improved in that time period, as has research and study analysis on herbal supplements (see link to Examine). This article needs to be pulled from the pool of frontpage articles until it's been massively reworked along the lines I mention above. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 11:01, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
I see now that Joris had already demoted it from Gold to Bronze. Well done, Joris. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 11:48, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
Thanks Percy. Quite some cover stories were golded up a long time ago on indeed a very thin motivation. Most of them have now been demoted to bronze or silver (such as New Age and Chelation therapy).--JorisEnter (talk) 12:08, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
I agree with Percy, this article was over-rated as gold. It definitely could use more work. The list of medicinal plants might be a start, which generally has some good references but is more of an outline. Bongolian (talk) 18:30, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
A good addition would be a summary of the German Commission EWikipedia reports. These are useful reports for the researcher, but they have also come in for some important criticisms. Bongolian (talk) 18:57, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
Another obvious omission on this page is the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994Wikipedia, which regulates dietary supplements in the US. The act basically hamstrings the FDA under most circumstances and was created using scare tactics by the supplement industry with the help of Mel Gibson, Orrin Hatch (senator from the supplement industry state of Utah) and woo-meister Senator Tom Harkin. Bongolian (talk) 06:11, 9 April 2016 (UTC)

Partially or entirely carcinogenic herbs[edit]

"Some herbal medicines are carcinogenic either in whole (e.g. birthwort and betelnut) or some of their chemical components (e.g. dong quai and sassafras)." This sentence does not appear to make much sense. It seems to be saying that some plants are carcinogenic, while others merely contain non-carcinogenic amounts of potentially carcinogenic substances. If this is so, then the latter statement has no business being in the article. If it is saying that some plants are entirely composed of carcinogens, and other only partially so, the sentence is still absurd and should be removed.--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк) 02:44, 10 April 2016 (UTC)

Vast portions of the current article literally makes no sense. We're in the process or rewriting this article to such an extent that, once we're "finished", I doubt that more than 20% of the original phrasings will remain. If that. It's just been a wound on this site for so long now. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 02:45, 10 April 2016 (UTC)
I have revised that sentence; it should be acceptable now. Bongolian (talk) 04:35, 10 April 2016 (UTC)

At least there is some sort of physiological effect unlike Homeopathy[edit]

Might not be a positive effect but something still happens (even if it kills you or gives you cancer)--Rationalzombie94 (talk) 16:31, 28 November 2016 (UTC)

Facepalm Reverend Black Percy (talk) 16:43, 28 November 2016 (UTC)

External links are of poor quality[edit]

The 2 external links at the end of article are both a joke.

Just look at the first link. It claims fish oil is very harmful, you can find fish oil at bottom of graph.

And it says one should eat egg shell membrane, which in the market because it's cheap to manufacture, not because it has a lot of science behind it.

And where is Berberine? Examine says: "Berberine is a compound extracted from a variety of herbs. It is supplemented for its anti-diabetic effects, which rival the potency of some pharmaceuticals". (talk) 10:37, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

The first link is not as bad as you're portraying it. The bottom of the graph does link to explanatory information and actual scientific references. There are several fish oil/omega 3s in the graph. The one in particular that you refer to was in regard to study on fish oil treatment for cancer, in which it had a negative effect.
If it were me, I wouldn't present the data this way though. If one is going to treat an herb like a drug, you need to do a risk-benefit analysis just like any drug. If the benefit outweighs the risk for a treatment and the risk-benefit is better than options, then it can be recommended.
The second link is just photos of products reported as contaminated and posted by the FDA itself. What's the problem with that?
Bongolian (talk) 18:07, 14 November 2017 (UTC)