In the past, herbal remedies were mostly prescribed for coughs, sore throat, sore eyes and sinus infections.
Now, the herbal medicines market is worth $5.4bn (£3.9bn) a year and has seen a surge in popularity among the older, poorer and less educated, as well as those with chronic conditions.
The trend has been driven in part by an ageing population and the rise in antibiotic use.
But many experts believe the herbal medicine market is still a long way from the mass market, and some worry that many products will be labelled as medicine or labelled as dietary supplements and not for any medical purpose.
In some cases, the products may contain ingredients that are not currently available on the market.
But the manufacturers of herbal remedies argue that they are simply helping people with their ailments and offer no additional benefits.
The main ingredients are plants that can heal and promote a wide range of ailments, such as garlic, sage, ginger, basil and other plants that are often used in traditional medicine.
But there are some ingredients that do not usually make it into traditional medicines, such on-the-go treatments or as food supplements.
Some people with chronic pain or anxiety can be prescribed herbs for relief, but they are also sometimes sold as herbal remedies.
One product that has attracted widespread attention is the herbal tea.
Many herbalists, such, Dr David Schmitt, have been touting their products as a way to help manage chronic pain, particularly migraines, but their use has become controversial.
Some doctors are concerned that the herbal products may be over-the, or over-medicalised, and that the herbs are actually promoting certain medical conditions, such chronic heart failure.
Many people have also complained that herbal products have been linked to the use of prescription painkillers.
But herbalists argue that most of the herbs in herbal tea have been proven safe and effective in treating some chronic conditions, including arthritis and fibromyalgia.
And Dr David Burdon, a professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota, said that although some herbs were over-used, there was “no evidence” that they were causing any harmful effects.
“There’s no evidence that they cause adverse reactions,” Dr Burdons work with herbalists Dr Burt, and Dr Burch said the herbal remedies could be useful for some conditions, especially for people who have had chronic pain for some time.
But he said the best way to manage chronic health conditions was to get proper medical advice, and there was no evidence to suggest that using a medicinal herbal product is helping people manage their conditions.
He said it would be very difficult to find a product on the shelf that was safe for everyone.
‘The herbal medicine industry is a very niche market’ Source: ABC News article The herbal medicines industry is worth a combined total of $5bn a year, with about $3.4 billion coming from the US alone.
There are more than 10,000 herbal products on the shelves of pharmacies across the country.
But Dr Schmitt said there was a “huge market” for these products and there were no signs of competition.
“The herbal medicines trade is a tiny niche market,” he said.
“A small number of manufacturers can make a lot of money off of a small group of patients.”
There is also concern about the quality of some herbal products, particularly in some regions, where the quality varies greatly from the best available in the UK.
The National Herbal Products Council said it had identified problems with some herbal remedies and said it was working to improve the product.
But experts are concerned about the marketing practices that some herbalists use to get their products to market, such advertising and misleading claims.
Dr Schimdt said the lack of competition was one of the main reasons for the rise of herbal products in the market and warned that consumers needed to be careful.
“If you want to see a market, you need to be patient,” he explained.
“You need to understand the market, the risks and the benefits.”