Why is herbal research important?
A viewpoint sometimes seen in this forum is that traditional uses and anecdotes involving herbs are all-important, and that rigorous research into safety and efficacy of herbal products is unnecessary or even undesirable.
"Thus far, clinical trials on HMPs have provided a rather indefinite and even bleak view about their therapeutic benefits. However, it is quite possible that the current gold standard, a placebo-controlled randomized double-blinded trial, is unable to provide a relevant outcome about medicines that are primarily intended for personalized and holistic use, as is the case with Chinese herbal medicines. Nonetheless, the FP7 GP-TCM project has agreed on a guideline on randomized controlled clinical trials of Chinese herbal medicines, which should serve as a plausible starting point for further development."
The authors don't explain just why they think herbal drugs might be exempt from established guidelines for drug development, and gloss over problems associated with complex herbal mixtures (they describe chemical compounds with opposing actions in a single herbal drug, for instance). But at least they do recognize that research will be vital in finding out just which products may be beneficial.