The current overview describes the present scenario and attempts to predict the future of Chinese herbal medicine. Differences between traditional Chinese medicines and conventional medicines Although superficially similar, there are three critical differences between traditional Chinese drugs and traditional Chinese medicines: whole plant use-herbalists usually do not include several different ingredients. Use purified plant extracts. These have claimed to be able, act synergistically; the effect of the whole herb is more than the sum of the results of its ingredients. The use of whole herbs instead of isolated actives (buffering) has also claimed to reduce toxicity. Two samples of a particular herbal medicine may contain ingredients in different proportions, but practitioners claim that this generally does not cause clinical problems. I've also observed that different work environments often provide totally different nutrients--such as physical setting, hours of operation, promotional opportunities, and financial incentives. Individuals also have different needs that directly influence the type of environment they seek out. You may need to have a job that offers freedom in choosing job assignments, with financial incentives being significantly less important, while for another person, the opposite holds true. You may need a highly affectionate mate, while another man or woman prefers a less demonstrative one. Finding the right match is crucial. The better the match between your emotional nutrients and those offered by the environment you seek (or are in), the more likely that you are putting yourself into an environment that will help you develop and establish your niche. An environment rich in nutrients might seem appealing, but if they are not in sync with your emotional nutrients, you best look elsewhere. To play well on Mother Nature's course, you have to be good at match play. Your match play depends on the nature of the environment you are to assess, but a couple environmental nutrients are universal: safety and security. Safety and security for your ancestors took their dominant form in the physical--having a shelter that would be difficult for other clans to access and having access to key resources yourselves. What about its reality basis? If we add in the assumptions of the learned helplessness model from which explanatory style sprung, then we might assert that there is a (past) reality basis, but typical research does not look at this (Peterson, Maier, & Seligman, 1993) perhaps it is best to say that like dispositional optimism the explanatory style construct does not make this distinction. Regardless, when we start to investigate what explanatory style does and does not capture, we again see oversimplifications.

For example, a recent study has linked pessimistic explanatory style to increased mortality as a result of accidental trauma (Peterson, Seligman, Yurko, Martin, & Friedman, 1998). On the face of it, this finding may reflect helplessness on the part of pessimists - They are poor problem solvers and do not do a good job removing themselves from harm's way. But followup studies have suggested a different interpretation - Those with a pessimistic explanatory style lead a more risky life and may actually prefer potentially dangerous settings (Peterson et al, 2001). What this might mean is not yet clear, but pessimists are not acting in helpless fashion--just in a foolish fashion. Inasmuch as other studies show that pessimistic explanatory style indeed predicts helpless behavior in some circumstances (Alloy, Peterson, Abramson, & Seligman, 1984), we must conclude that this form of pessimism indexes different ways of behaving, some well-described by the learned helplessness model and others not. A close look at which features of optimism or pessimism are tapped by a given operationalization suggest the mechanisms that lead from these psychological states to various outcomes of interest. To continue the example under discussion, if the key feature of a pessimistic explanatory style is diminished agency, then we would expect that pessimistic individuals would respond to unpleasant circumstances by seeking external solutions, like putting themselves in situations that promise to distract them. There is experimental evidence that certain herbal supplements have synergistic and buffering effects, but it is unclear to what extent this applies to all herbal products (Vickers and Zollman, 1999). Herbal Combinations-Several different herbs often used together. Practitioners argue that the principle of synergy and buffering applies to plant combinations and that herbal blends improve efficacy and reduce adverse effects. This is in comparison to traditional practices where polypharmacy has generally avoided where possible (Vickers and Zollman, 1999). Diagnostics-Herbal practitioners use different diagnostic principles than conventional practitioners. For example, when treating arthritis, you can observe that the patient's excretory symptoms are not working correctly and determine that the arthritis is due to the accumulation of metabolic waste. Second, a combination of herbal diuretics, bile, or laxatives, in addition to herbs containing antidiabetic drugs, can prescribe inflammatory properties (Vickers and Zollman, 1999). The evidence of human use of plants for healing why people use herbal medicine dates back to the Neanderthal era (Winslow and Kroll, 1998). Currently, an increasing number of patients do not usually report concurrent use of herbal medicines to clinicians (Miller, 1998). There are several reasons patients turn to herbal remedies. With these nutrients in place, the clan could begin to develop. Today, safety and security take their form in emotion and feeling. Do you feel safe in disclosing your deep thoughts to your partner?

Do you feel your partner is protective of you? Think along the same lines in respect to your work environment. Are you genuinely encouraged to voice your thoughts, even to criticize your boss? Do you feel protected by your work colleagues? Feeling safe and secure in your environment is empowering to your growth because it allows you to experiment with new behaviors (or products), and this newness is what leads to growth. A good action to take would be to generate some self-reflective questions that help you figure out how safe and secure you feel in your environments. I've also become keenly aware that some environmental nutrients empower some people and yet are toxic to others. This is exactly what we have found in our research, along with an interesting twist along the lines of gender - Women with a pessimistic explanatory style report that they respond to bad moods by eating, whereas their male counterparts report that they respond to bad moods by doing something dangerous or reckless (Peterson et al, 2001). Most of us casually treat optimism and pessimism as simple opposites. Indeed, we often measure these constructs with the same scale, anchored at one end with optimism and at the other with pessimism. Literally hundreds of studies using a variety of operationalizations and designs show that when people are placed along a continuum from pessimistic to optimistic and examined with respect to some measure of adaptation, optimism seems to be correlated with good outcomes and pessimism with bad outcomes. The conclusion follows from these findings that optimism accompanies flourishing, whether our focus is on good mood and morale on perseverance and active problem solving on social connectedness on academic, military, political, and vocational success or on good health, longevity, recovery from illness, and freedom from trauma (Peterson, 2000). These data have been the subject of numerous reviews, and we therefore do not enumerate the relevant studies. What we do instead is to direct the reader's attention to Figure 3. 1. The x-axis of the graph represents an pessimism-optimism continuum, and the y-axis represents any and all outcome measures of interest. Both axes have identified midpoints. Often referred to as control, mental comfort from behavior that explains why many people who take herbs have a chronic or incurable illness. Diabetes, Cancer, Arthritis, or AIDS. In such situations, they often believe that conventional medicine has failed.

Herbal Drug Safety Issues Traditional herbal products are inherently heterogeneous. They pose several challenges for qualifying control, quality assurance, and regulatory processes. Most herbal products on the market today do not undergo a drug approval process to demonstrate safety and efficacy. Some of them contain mercury, lead, arsenic (Kew et al. , 1993), and corticosteroids (De Smet, 1997) and harmful amounts of toxic organic substances. Liver failure and even death after taking Chinese herbs have reported (Chattopadhyay, 1996). Prospective studies have shown that 25% of corneal ulcers in Tanzania and 26% of blindness in children in Nigeria and Malawi are associated with the use of traditional ophthalmic drugs (Harries and Cullinan, 1994). Some people, for example, flourish in a highly structured environment while others find the same environment stifling. They grow best with little structure. Many desire corporate cultures that are warm and fuzzy while I've worked with many individuals who prefer a nonpersonal environment. Some students find themselves in big universities while others need small classes in a small town to foster their development. Long before anyone else, Mother Nature sang, Different strokes for different folks. To ensure that you enter an environment that empowers you and to avoid one that is hazardous, you will do well to remember that shelter seeking is an active process: One of the ways you can make shelter seeking an active process is to scout your environment to be. It's common practice for social insects to have scouts whose function is to seek out areas that contain favorable environmental elements, such as a bed of flowers for pollination. The scouts report back to the others, and if the news is good, others join the environment. Just like Christopher Columbus and Ponce de Leon, the scouts report and provide a heads-up of whether it makes sense for the group to immigrate to the new world. Scouting out, or exploring a potential new environment, allows you to decide whether it's what you are looking for, whether its environmental nutrients are in tune with your core needs. For the x-axis, the midpoint corresponds to the individual who is neither pessimistic nor optimistic--the average Joe or Josephine. For the y-axis, the midpoint is average, typical, or unremarkable functioning with respect to the measured outcome - mood, health, achievement, and so on. A family of hypothetical lines is shown, all of which would be described by the positive correlation coefficients consistent with the typical interpretation of the optimism-flourishing literature.

The important point is that each line suggests a different conclusion about the relationship of optimism and pessimism to well-being. Suppose the outcome measure reflects only degrees of good functioning. Then it is only possible to have lines a, b, or c. The only literally straight line among these is b, which shows that pessimism has a cost and that optimism has a benefit. Line a in contrast shows that pessimism has a cost but that optimism has no particular benefit it captures what has been dubbed the power of nonnegative thinking. Line c shows that pessimism has no cost but that optimism has a benefit. The remaining lines can be analogously interpreted. The side effects of some medicinal plants are under investigation (Gupta and Raina, 1998). Sometimes patients use traditional and traditional medicines at the same time. The in vivo interaction of these two drugs can be dangerous and can raise serious concerns about patient safety among physicians (Chattopadhyay, 1997). If the patient is taking conventional medicine, herbal preparation should be used with extreme care and only with the advice of a herbal expert familiar with the relevant traditional pharmacology. There have been cases of serious adverse events following the administration of herbal products. In most cases, the herbs involved has prescribed and purchased over-the-counter or obtained from sources other than registered practitioners. Recently, several women developed rapidly progressing interstitial renal fibrosis after consuming a herbal medicine prescribed at a slimming clinic (Vickers and Zollman, 1999). Belgian physicians have recently discovered that the Chinese herb Aristolochia fang chi is not only associated with renal failure but can also cause cancer (Kew et al. , 1993). After dozens of diet physicians at the weight loss clinic developed symptoms of renal failure, the study found that Belgian pharmacists were misusing them labeled Chinese herbal medicine to assemble a diet drug ( Greensfelder, 2000). Many people get themselves into mismatched settings because they do not give themselves an effective scouting report. They often rely on the scouting report of others and find out--too late--I knew I never should have listened to him. I should have visited the school personally instead of listening to my sister.