Asia is a continent in the world that is rich in indigenous medicine. These medicines have been used for centuries before advancement of the modern medicine. However, in the modern world, traditional medicine is referred to as an alternative or complementary, yet most people in Asia give it the first priority. Indeed, Asian indigenous medicines have myriad of benefits. It is argued that pharmaceutical medicine cannot duplicate the advantages of the indigenous medicine.
Some of the merits of Asian indigenous medicine include the following: firstly, indigenous medicines are able to address and indentify the underlying cause of any given body problem (Eldredge 38). Indigenous medicines such as Valerian root do not have side effects, yet they are in a position to treat the same disease just like other modern medicine (Laguerre 18). Moreover, when dealing with indigenous medicine, people do not address the symptoms, they attack the disease. The body systems are strengthened stimulating the body’s ability to resist disease through developing self healing mechanisms.
Bacopa monnieriis isan Indian plant that is used for enhancing the memory of a human being. This is a type of a creeping plant that is high esteemed by traditional medicine users as it helps to enhance the level of thinking without having any side effects, as it is the case with other types of stimulants. Other important medical plants include: the ayurveda, unani, siddha among others. Aloe Vera is used for mouth ulcer treatment (Heinrich et al. 238). It is a very famous type of plant, as it is widely used in several parts of the world due to its ability to treat myriad diseases. Yoga is another source of Asian traditional medicine that has led to development of a billion-dollar industry in both Asia and in United States. Asians maintain that these traditional plants reflect their traditional knowledge of herbal treatment (Mainka 21). Despite efforts by countries such as United States to get patents for some plants, Asians in their respective countries have aggressively opposed such patents to the extent of going to the court of law.
Notably, about four-fifths of the total population in Asia use traditional medicine to treat different ailments. Indeed, there are about 430,000 ayurvedic medical practitioners who are registered by the government of India. Thus, it is true to state that traditional medicine in Asia is a source of employment for millions of people. For example, the government of India has established a department, which has to oversee the traditional medical industry in the country (Acharya & Anshu 320). Traditional medicine in Asian countries is relatively cheap compared with the pharmaceutical medicine. For example, Gupta argues that for the west to produce bolkbuster drug, it takes $ 15bn for about 15 years. Due to the expensive nature of modern medicine, Asia has been on the forefront to protect its rich biodiversity to enable it continue developing new drugs and crops that are medical in nature (Acharya & Anshu 204). Indeed, traditional medicine can be used to generate a new herald of cheap drugs all over the world. This offers a natural remedy as well as isolates active ingredients that compose the modern medicine.
Other essential traditional medicine in Asia include: ginger, which is used for treating obesity. Extracts from ginger are very helpful in treatment of obesity as well as other related disorders. Citrus peel extract is used to treat skin disorders as well as injuries. Therefore, it is a key ingredient in treating various skin diseases (Eldredge 34). Brassica rapa is used for preventing colon cancer. As a result, it is medically used for treating stomach ailments. It is worthy to note that different herbs may be combined with each other. For instance, herb such as Echinacea is very helpful, when combined with other herbs as it results into a synergistic reaction in the body. This nature of a concoction is able to treat myriad of disease at the same time (Heinrich et al. 211). This is contrary to modern medications that are only specified for a certain disease. This gives indigenous medicine an added advantage to the pharmaceuticals. Virtually, there have been concerted efforts by the Asians forcing their governments to cease giving patent rights to other states, as they have the desire to retain their cultural diversity and ensure that they continue to use their rich traditional medicines. This shows that they highly benefit from these traditional medicines and are eager to continue using them, despite advancement in technology in the medical sector.
In most Asian countries, traditional medicine has also negative consequences to both the country as well as to international community. Firstly, rhino horns form one of the traditional medicines. For this reason, there has been increased poaching of rhinos in order to obtain their horns to make the medicine. As a result, the environmental watchdog has raised an alarm over the increased poaching of rhinos (Heinrich et al. 222). The rhino horns are used to make medicine that is used to treat fever. Due to the increased demand, more and more rhinos have continually been poached over the years something that not only endangers the cultural heritage of the Asians but of the whole world since rhinos are poached from other countries and their horns exported to various Asian countries, where the demand is high (Mainka 41). This has highly discouraged the preservation of world life as they are substituted for medicines.
On the other hand, the use of several plants for traditional medicine has resulted into their shortage. Virtually, these plants have been used over generations and continue to be used till today. This has posed major challenges as these plants are either uprooted or cut down completely in order to get the required parts to make the medicine (Acharya & Anshu 56). Despite that fact that plants such as Aloe Vera are being artificially grown in most Asian countries; some indigenous herbs are still got from the forest. This threatens the loss of cultural diversity as men encroaches the forest in the name of finding traditional medicine to treat various ailments. These may result into cultural problems as communities lose their heritage (Heinrich et al. 216). With the rising cost of bio-medically based health care, coupled with the increasing number of diseases over the years around the world, medical experts have been forced to take traditional medicine as the only alternative (Acharya & Anshu 123). This implies that more and more plants will be needed to alleviate the increasing number of healthy problems. Thus, there is a likelihood of destroying the rich cultural diversity among the people in Asia countries. Moreover, there are instances, where traditional medicine can be adulterated or counterfeited. This affects the life of people in a great way.
In conclusion, it is evident that the merits of indigenous medicine in Asia are more than the demerits. For centuries, Asia has been using its traditional medicine to treat various ailments. Thus, it has been known as a good source of traditional medicines. Despite the cultural problems arising from the continued use of indigenous medicine, it has proved that traditional medicine industry is source of income for several families in Asia as well as in other parts of the world.