I am writing with regard to the report “Drug-selling herbal stores in Taif not being regulated” (May 22). In my opinion herbalists have the right to have shops and to sell their products. However, it should be clear by the name of the shop what type of products it sells, or there should be a particular section of the shop called “alternative health choice.” The products should also be clearly labeled so that the consumer will know what they contain.
People have the right to make their own choices about the kind of treatment(s) for their own health that they prefer for themselves. No one should force people to choose something that they do not want for themselves. As people are more educated today than in the past and have more access to information than ever before, it is easier now to make informed decisions about personal choices.
Pharmacies, doctors and hospitals need not feel threatened by alternative treatments, because competition is healthy and good for society. After all, herbal shops are using plants Allah created for us to provide natural healing and to encourage our bodies to tend toward certain behavior, such as, for example, burning more or less calories. However, shop owners should be cautioned not to make false promises or exaggerated claims while dealing with their customers. They should say a certain product has been known to have such and such an effect, and that perhaps it may also help you if you try it.
Rather than shutting down such shops, it would be better to have a sign inside the shop that says “please consult with your doctor if you are currently taking medicine for any ailment which may react with an herb. We do not claim any miracle cures.”
I have a relative who was taking blood sugar lowering medicine, and also on top of it tried a very bitter vegetable grown and recommended to her by someone in the subcontinent. When she ate perhaps too much of it, instead of trying it gradually, her sugar level lowered so suddenly she actually became dizzy, so she had to counteract that by eating a biscuit. People would do well to try the herbal assistance route when their case is still easily managed, before their ailment becomes so severe that they end up having to take chemically made medicines, which may also have adverse side effects.
We are responsible for the health that Allah has granted us when we were young, and what we choose to put into our bodies does affect us sooner or later. It is really deplorable when people abuse their health or others try to force them to submit to certain remedies or medicines that they do not choose to accept.
Elderly people had and some still have knowledge that the current generations may not be aware of. It would be prudent for us to gather as much of this knowledge as possible before it is lost to us. I am certain that Taif residents have access to or are familiar with certain plants that may benefit us that perhaps the rest of the world is not even aware of. Plants have been discovered in remote rainforests to help cure cancer, for example. It is not impossible that Allah also blessed the Arabian Peninsula with plants which can help us.
Aesha Lorenz Al-Saeed