Choose alternative medicine wisely

WITH globalisation and advancement in technology, consumers are exposed to new products that may come with claims of providing quick remedy to your health problems.

Some may describe it as “miraculous” or “wonder medicine” claiming to make you slim overnight or even healing chronic diseases such as diabetes, stroke and obesity.

While some traders would make such claims to just sell their products, consumers have to be more cautious.

They need to question the validity of these claims especially if it is medicine or any product claiming to be a lifesaver. Health is wealth, hence, we should be careful of what type of medicinal products we consume.

Herbal/traditional medicines and treatments still have an important place in our culture when it comes to curing illness or staying healthy.

Herbalist or traditional doctors are aware of incurable diseases and costly treatments that some individuals have to endure.

Some herbalists are no doubt “god-gifted” and have successfully helped people. They have acquired the gift of healing from their ancestors, however, some are seen capitalising on the concept of alternative medicines.

The rise in demand for traditional medicine has also resulted in many vendors filling the corners of our streets.

They are found selling their traditional medicine and sadly some making exaggerated claims for healings offered by their product.

They fail to state the credible scientific or experimental evidence to back up their claims.

Hence, the burden lies on the consumers to “act responsibly”.

Consumers should know that any product that claims to have therapeutic effects — such as being able to treat, cure or alleviate illnesses and medical conditions must be approved and registered by the Fiji Medicinal Products Board (FMPB) under the Medicinal Products Decree 2011.

Consumers should not blindly buy products that they believe would cure them against serious illnesses and medical conditions.

One should not hesitate to question claims such as “Cure diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, body pains, arthritis, heart diseases, cancer, AIDS and many other chronic diseases”.

Consumers opting for traditional medicine is their choice but the council will continue to advocate on promoting safe products in the markets.

While herbal medicine may be easily accessible and less costly and stressful to acquire, seeking modern medical treatment is always advisable.

Most consumers tend to look for easy and fast solution to problems whether it be for healing, beauty or weight loss.

Unfortunately, these consumers become victims to exaggerated claims.

The Commerce Commission Decree 2010 highlights that false and misleading representation about the standard, quality, grade, composition, performance characteristics, etc. of goods and services are illegal.

Next time, you want to try out traditional products for healing purposes, please consider:

* Checking with your doctor.

* Herbal remedies can decrease the effectiveness of some prescription drugs and increase the potency of others.

* That can lead to you getting more or less effective medication than you need.

* Some herbs and supplements may cause you harm if you are pregnant, nursing, about to have surgery, or taking prescription medicines for an acute or chronic condition.

* Conducting your own research before you decide to choose herbal/traditional medicine.

* Request for scientific evidence to substantiate the claim that the miracle cure actually works.

* Obtaining written instructions on the use of traditional or complementary medicine.

* Don’t exceed recommended dosages or take the herb for longer than recommended

* Keeping track of what you take to determine if it is effective.

* Make a note of what you take, how much for how long and how it affects you.

Remember don’t be so trusting by promises laced with miraculous phrases or testimonies of healing.

Words can be deceiving. Look for evidence to back up your instinct!

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