Despite the popularity of botanical supplements, many herbal products on the market are of low quality and dubious efficacy. Scientists, clinicians, and consumers are often concerned about safety, effectiveness, and consistency of herbal preparations. Their apprehension about these qualities is due to a plurality of unknowns. These include a variety of poorly controlled factors such as raw herb quality, processing methods used to make the preparations, the complex biochemical heterogeneity of herbs, potential adulteration, unpredictable consequences when herbs are combined, unpredictable consequences when herbal remedies are combined with conventional medications, and an apparent lack of scientific validation (24-27). It is not surprising that TCM, a medical paradigm that relies mainly on anecdotal data and tradition of use, frequently cannot withstand the scrutiny of evidence-based medicine.
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