What is the role of natural remedies in conventional medicine?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Natural products are often regarded as “alternative” therapies that aren’t supported by science. However, it is important to note that many of the drugs that are currently available -- in fact, even the most commonly used drugs -- are derived from nature. In the past decade alone, more than 20 newly approved drugs were derived from natural sources, including plants and microorganisms. It has been estimated that 50% of contemporary drugs (those used in the past few decades) are either directly extracted or chemically derived from naturally occurring compounds.

Notable examples include the opiate painkillers, such as morphine and oxycodone, which are derived from the latex sap of the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). Opiates represent one of the best-selling classes of prescription medications. Another example is aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), which has been described as “the most popular painkiller in the world.” Aspirin is the world’s first-ever synthetic drug and is derived from salicylic acid, which is found in willow (Salix spp.) and meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria, formerly Spirea ulmaria).
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.