Traditional herbal medicine research is increasingly being funded by governments, international agencies, and companies. We use principles from a comprehensive ethical framework for clinical research to apply worldwide traditional herbal medicine research in this study. We look at three crucial, unappreciated elements of the ethical framework. International herbal medicine research raises particularly challenging questions: social value, scientific validity, and a favorable risk-benefit ratio. Across transnational research collaborations, determining common ideas of societal value, scientific validity, and a clear risk-benefit balance poses significant problems.
In Africa, an HIV treatment study is being conducted by a government body from a developed nation. Africa Flower, a traditional herbal remedy, has been used to treat wasting symptoms linked with HIV for decades. Africa Flower, according to local traditional medicine practitioners, is a potent antiviral. It’s already commonly used to enhance immunological function in AIDS patients. Animal models reveal liver damage at extremely high dosages, while in vitro pharmacokinetic investigations imply possible vaccination interference. There have been no reports of systemic side effects in people in the literature.
These kinds of cases raise complicated concerns about the role of traditional herbal remedies in public health. International research on traditional herbal remedies should, in general, be held to the same ethical standards as all other research involving human beings. Emanuel et al. ethical .’s framework, which has been updated for international study, is an excellent place to start thinking about global traditional herbal medicine research ethics. These ethical standards are universal and comprehensive, but they must be tailored to the specific social environment in which the study is carried out.
Every piece of study should have the potential to be of societal benefit. The societal value of traditional medicine research may be viewed differently by various entities. Officials in charge of public health are frequently keen to define the safety and efficacy of herbal treatments for diseases like malaria. Unscrupulous usage of plants like Africa potato, on the other hand, might cause damage. While some argue that such medications have “stood the test of time,” they nevertheless offer significant problems to investigators and regulators in industrialized nations, whose evidence criteria are strongly connected to RCT efficacy.
In the United States, the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine spent about US$ 33 million on herbal medicines in the fiscal year 2005, and the National Cancer Institute spent nearly US$ 89 million in 2004 to research a variety of traditional therapies. 12 While this expenditure is little concerning the pharmaceutical industry’s total research and development costs.
To create a collaborative relationship, parties might use structured democratic discussion processes to develop a common language and study topics. These techniques have been used to bring various stakeholders together in a safe and collaborative decision-making process. Over time, collaborations could “cross-train” basic and clinical investigators to better understand the concepts and practices of traditional herbal medicine traditions. Developing host countries would need to improve conventional medicine practitioners’ basic literacy, knowledge, and skills to recognize the value of rigorous clinical research.