Introduction to Herbalism
Shortcomings of Conventional Medicine: Lesson 1, Page 4 of 5

The best answer is certainly false. Conventional "modern" medicine has its place. If I were in a serious accident, I would certainly be thankful for it! But modern medicine has proven itself to be most useful in crisis situations. When it comes to the prevention of disease, or the treatment of the chronic conditions that plague modern societies, conventional medicine is sadly lacking. This is where many believe that nutrition, herbalism, and other holistic methods of health care fit in.

It is important for people to take responsibility for their health and not just rely on modern medicine to "patch them up" with drugs and surgery. In order to take responsibility, a certain amount of knowledge is required. That brings us to the Purpose of this Course; to give you the tools that you will need to make better decisions with regard to your health and the health of those you care for.

Many are discovering that high tech and high price do not guarantee the highest quality when it comes to our health. People living in less technological societies are often way ahead of us when it comes to the use of herbs and natural methods; and our ancestors, who lived in simplier times, had a vast amount of knowledge about herbs and other natural methods that we have mostly lost in our modern world. And consider that; even though we spend more per person on health care in the United States than in any other country, we lag far behind many other industrialized and pre-industrialized nations when it comes to our health.

In 1940, health care costs in the United States were $4 billion, or 4% of the gross national product (GNP). In 1992, health care costs had increased to over $800 billion a year, or 14% or the GNP. In 1999, health care costs had exploded to $1.01 trillion. By 2004 Americans were spending over $1.6 trillion on health care each year and in 2007 we spent $2.24 trillion on health care! That amounted to 16.2 percent of our 2007 gross domestic product of $13.8 trillion and to $7,421 per person living within our borders.

Considering these figures, you would think that we would have the best health care system and would be the healthiest people on earth. But according to a recent report from the World Health Organization, even though the U.S. health system spends a higher portion of its gross domestic product than any other country, the U.S. ranked 37th in overall health performance out of its 191 member nations! Consider also that the Institute of Medicine estimates that between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans die each year from medical errors. Many more die or have permanent disability because of inappropriate treatments or mistreatments. Furthermore, studies have found that as much as $300 billion is spent each year on health care that does not improve patient outcomes—treatment that is unnecessary, inappropriate, inefficient, or ineffective.

True or False:

In order to use herbs effectively, one must make an accurate diagnosis.