Estimates vary of the number of Americans (not to mention citizens of other countries) who are killed each year, very directly, by FDA approved drugs which are used according to doctors orders and FDA approved pharmaceutical company recommendations. A minimum is 25,000 and if it were ever sorted out thoroughly, it is believed the number would exceed 100,000. Recently a drug named Viagra came out which apparently is great at bypassing treatment of the causes of male impotence and simply producing an erection. Naturally, the quick fix oriented American consumers jumped on this drug. As of this writing (only a few months after its introduction), the drug has killed in excess of 30 users. The FDA considers this OK and has not threatened to pull the drug off the market. Compared to some of the other drugs approved by the FDA, Viagra is rather safe.
One of the alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs are herbal medicines. Herbal medicines are plant derived and have been in clinical research for thousands of years, having originated in China, perhaps around 5,000 years ago. There is a Pharmacopoeia of herbal medicines which includes a way to treat just about every condition under the sun. The advantage herbal medicine has over pharmaceutical drugs is the factor of safety. When was the last time you heard or read of someone dying from a reaction to an herbal preparation. Of course, one can overdose on anything. Enough water can kill you. However, taken as directed, herbal preparations are extraordinarily safe, and in the experience of most people, at least equally effective. Another plus is the fact that they are considerably less expensive than many pharmaceutical drugs.
The FDA would love nothing better than to shut down the sale of herbal medicines in the U.S. since it represents a serious threat to the economic health of the American pharmaceutical industry. However, by law, they are limited to removing substances which are unsafe. Therefore herbal medicines will survive, at least until the law is changed. However, all this could come to a swift reorganization if Codex Alimentarius is approved.
Herbs should be used with guidance. Unless you are an expert, consult an expert. Do not try to self medicate. Do not take herbs directly from nature unless you are an expert. Some herbs are of poisonous nature.