Whatever annoyances I may have with this aisle, Neil tops me and then some. I just got around recently to reading his really amazing blog post on organics, homeopathy and the like. It's witty, and smart and bitingly funny. I'm going to post some of it here, but really, read the whole thing.
Herbal medicine - I can't stand to hear people who are completely distrustful and skeptical of the pharmaceutical industry (as they rightly should be) talking about echinacea like it's god's gift. Just because the hippy-nutraceutical industry isn't quite as big, and doesn't have intellectual property lawyers up the wazoo, doesn't make them any less crooked. If someone tries to sell you anything to cure something, *be skeptical*, whether they're wearing a suit or hemp. At least the pharmaceutical industry has the FDA to hold them to some basic standards of safety and efficacy.
But no, we like to follow the latest trends, because it's 'natural' and 'chemical-free'. Maybe I can popularize hemlock as a cure for headaches? Or chewing poison ivy as a cure for palpitations? Hell, I don't have to prove jack, because it's a plant. You can't sue me the way you could sue pharma, and I can say whatever the fuck i want on the label as long as I put the 'FDA has not evaluated these statements' warning on it.
Read it all