You can’t be taking paracetamol daily to prevent a headache!

Phytotherapy, which is my core practice may be new in Singapore and in many parts of Asia. I started my clinical practice in 1999 and at that time nobody understood what I was talking about. Recently, I mentioned it to some doctors working in the Malaysian’s ministry of health and they didn’t know what is it all about either.

However, phytotherapy or science-based herbal medicine is already classified as part of conventional medicine in Germany and many parts of Europe. More than 70% GP in Germany favored the use of herbal medicine than pharmaceuticals. Medical doctors in Germany are also required to study naturopathy as part of their curriculum.

I was often told that many people are ‘skeptical’ about alternative or complementary medicine. But what is so skeptical about herbs when –

1. Herbs are used for thousands of years by our ancestors for healing illnesses. Our ancestors are not so stupid to use something that didn’t work or unsafe.
2. Today, herbs are used by more than 80% of people in the world as primary medicine.
3. Modern pharmacy evolved from herbs. For example, your aspirin is a compound derived from the herb I used in my clinic – white willow.
4. Many herbs in phytotherapy are scientifically validated, an example in German commission E of the Ministry of Health (Germany).

Ok, let’s talk science. You are concerned about the quality of herbs, safety, evidenced based, possible toxicity, dosage, and contamination etc. This is classified as phytotherapy in Europe. Presently, most of the herbs in phytotherapy are Western herbs. But increasingly, we see more Asian herbs in the list such as garlic, amla berry (as in Phytolec) and turmeric.

This is also why I am quite meticulous in sourcing for herbs, making sure they are of the highest quality, safety, and efficacy. They must strictly be produced in pharmaceutical grade GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) facilities. Most health supplements are made in only food grade GMP facilities.

Dr. Ciuman of Marien hospital (Department of Otorhinolaryngology) in Germany added that phytotherapy and chemical pharmacotherapy are not in competition but complete each other, an example in infectious diseases.

Wellness doesn’t have to sound and look high-tech. Wellness and preventive health care should be something that you can make it part of your lifestyle – eating, drinking, recreation, relaxation etc. You can’t be taking paracetamol daily to prevent a headache!

We, human beings, are part of nature and image of the Creator. Only nature medicine such as herbs can be part of your lifestyle. And this is the best insurance against diseases and premature aging.

To further educate and share with the public this exciting area of health care, I will be co-organising the first Herb Festival – The Herb Fest, in Singapore. It will be held on August 5, 2017.

Please mark your calendar and join us for an exciting and healing weekend with delectable vegetarian luncheon specially prepared by Seeds Garden Restaurant of Melaka (



About sliew

I am a practicing Medical herbalist and doctor of naturopathy from Singapore.
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