Some home medicines can cure simple problems and relieve the symptoms of some diseases, but there is much more fiction than fact in books on herbal remedies. It is well to keep in mind that there are no herbal cures for most diseases and that herbs are unlikely to be as effective as modern medicines. Some of the old medicines had a physical effect only because of an alcohol content above 50% or an opium or cocaine content.
If an alternative medicine must be taken, do not give it to children. The illnesses of babies and young children tend to end quickly without treatment. If not, the problem is almost always serious enough to require professional diagnosis and the best modern medicine. For adults, most herbs are harmless in small occasional doses but some can damage internal organs with large, frequent, or long-continued doses. Finally, a mixture of three herbs probably contains two or more inactive ingredients.
The remedies listed here are believed to be effective or useful, and nearly all are safe for occasional use. However, an effective dose of some drugs is close to a harmful dose, and good sedatives and stimulants can be addictive.