India is home to some of the world’s most renowned herbal medicine brands, with some of them making their way to the UK, US and other parts of the European Union.
However, many patients don’t seem to be using them as their primary health care option.
“The market is flooded with these kinds of products,” said Dr Ashish Bhatia, an assistant professor of public health at the University of Oxford.
“There are all kinds of different kinds of brands.
People have different requirements.”
With this in mind, Bhatias team conducted a study in collaboration with researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), the University College London and the University Hospitals of St Andrews, which looked at the usage of herbal medicine in the UK and US.
The researchers found that herbal medicines account for the majority of all medical treatments across the two countries, accounting for about two-thirds of all treatments, compared to just under a quarter for non-medical treatments.
The team analysed patient records from the NHS in England, the US and the UK from January to December 2016.
The data was used to develop an algorithm to classify herbal medicine as either ‘non-medicinal’ or ‘medicine’.
“It’s not just a matter of the ingredients, there are also different ways people use them, so there are differences,” Bhatiat said.
“It does take a lot of people who have a lot more information about the medicines they’re using, but there are different ways of using them and there are ways of doing it that are more effective than the others.”
Bhatiya and his team compared herbal medicine sales data for the UK to the US, France and Germany.
They also compared the numbers of herbal medicines sold in the NHS and private pharmacies in England and the US.
“What we found was that herbal products are very popular in the US,” he said.
This is especially true for products sold in drug stores.
Bhatiamas team also found that the UK also had a high level of herbal products used for dental purposes.
“They’re very popular for that as well, and for cosmetic use,” he explained.
The research suggests that there may be a large amount of overlap between the herbal medicine market in the two nations.
“If you look at the numbers from the US for medicinal and non-medics, you’ll see that there’s quite a lot going on in the market,” Bhattia said.
Bhattiat and his colleagues published their findings in the journal BMC Health.
They say their findings could inform patients’ decisions about which medicines to use in the long term.
“When you look back in the future, it’s important that we know what to look out for when we’re thinking about the use of herbal medication,” he added.
“I think it’s a big step forward in understanding how we treat people with these diseases.”
“So we need to look at how we can make the dental profession more productive in terms of getting more dentists on staff and in the field.” “
We have an oversupply of dentistry staff in the country, and that’s leading to a high rate of patients who aren’t getting the treatment they need,” he noted.
“So we need to look at how we can make the dental profession more productive in terms of getting more dentists on staff and in the field.”
Bhattias team is currently working on ways to increase the availability of herbal treatments in the near future.
“As we move forward, we need better understanding of how these medicines work and where they’re used in the body,” he concluded.
The findings of this study are published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.