Arsenic and Alternative Medicines
The practice of medicine has existed for thousands of years, but “modern” medicine (often called Western medicine) has developed more recently with the evolution of scientific discovery. A large proportion of the developing world’s population relies on traditional medicines, largely plant-based or herbal in nature. As people move around the world, these traditional practices are finding a place in North American and European societies. There is a vibrant market in this field of “alternative” medicine, but it is often criticized as being unsafe because the products do not receive the same scrutiny that pharmaceutical preparations do. Here, we examine how several countries have dealt with these concerns. We then elaborate on how arsenic is used in Ayurvedic medicine from India, traditional Chinese medicine and homeopathy.