I am a diabetic and medicines are part of my life. Without medicines, I will kick the bucket, way before my time. As a food blogger my work is my number one hazard. That is why it is important for us to make sure that we eat at the right amounts, avoid drinking sodas (I have not been successful in this endeavor) and try to get some exercise. I am only beginning to do that because I recently noticed how rotund I have become (yeah I have been in denial for the longest time). I knew looking at my pictures were a bad idea. So is looking in the mirror.
Because I am asthmatic and diabetic at the same time I make sure that I always buy the brand my doctor prescribes. Self-medication is a complete no-no, not just for me but also for anyone who is in need of medical treatment.
Most of the time, we like experimenting with cough and cold medicines, because most of us think it’s no big deal. In reality, it is. I dread having coughs and colds because it triggers my asthma. After the runny nose, come the incessant coughing that is just so disruptive at work and when I go sleep. When I do suffer from coughs, I cough so hard that I sometimes see little bright lights. My doc says it’s not a good thing. I can’t always take asthma medication because it’s not an asthma attack. My lungs have that icky phlegm that it needs to expel but can’t because it has gotten too thick.
I have never taken those shady herbal cough medicines available over-the-counter. Many of these so-called herbal medicines are made from indigenous plants that have been traditionally used to treat coughs, asthma attacks, even remove boils and worms. Traditional medicine advocates recommend that the leaves are prepared and taken as a tea. Now they came up with cough syrups and tablets from a mixture of these plants. I personally believe this is no better than cherry syrup. Cherry syrup hardly has any cherry in it, it’s mostly food color and sugar. Real cherry is sour and is never sweet. This makes me think that manufacturers cannot apply for a license for these medicines because they have not been proven to be effective. There is a reason why pharmaceutical companies go through testing and regulation; they are going to sell us chemicals that will affect our physical well-being. If a manufacturer cannot get a license for their products, why should we buy it?
The problem with herbal medicines is that they are largely unregulated in the Philippines. In the US and the UK, protocols have been in place to regulate testing and distribution of herbal medicines. It is safe to assume that with the lack of such protocols in place in the Philippines, we cannot trust any herbal drug that does not bear DOH approval.
Though it is true that there are ten herbs approved by the Philippine Department of Health as medicinal, there has been no mention of how these herbs are to be handled and who is authorized to make these into capsules. In the provinces, we do have remedies for minor ailments that are made using indigenous plants. Although they work for minor cuts, bruises and even hiccups, these medicines are not regulated and tested enough to determine their long term effects on the liver, kidneys and other vital human organs, when ingested as a tablet or when mixed with food.
I can’t be the guinea pig of these herbal manufacturers who are just out to make a quick buck.
If you have health problems, go to a professional and buy the right medicines. Don’t scrimp on a few bucks for your health. After all, it is truly your only lasting wealth in this uncertain world.