In Canada, very few doctors would actively recommend that their patients use herbal remedies. Yet, in Europe, especially Germany and Switzerland, doctors routinely prescribe herbal medicines such as Saw Palmetto to help treat symptoms of an enlarged prostate.
Why does this difference exist? It cannot just be because of medical science or proof of effectiveness – this would mean that doctors in Switzerland or Germany are happy to prescribe a medicine which (in the view of Canadian doctors) has no proof that it works!
The answer, in our opinion, is that doctors are just people and are influenced by their personal and professional experiences, and what people around them think and do.
In Canada, few pharmacy or medical schools discuss nutrition or complementary therapies, including herbal medicine. This means that unless they have a personal interest, healthcare professionals have little exposure to the science behind herbs and the part they can play in patient care.