Drugs Vs. Herbal Medicines Vs. Supplements

What is the difference between drugs, natural medicines and dietary supplements / herbal products? Below are the main…

What is the difference between drugs, natural medicines and dietary supplements / herbal products?

Below are the main features of each product category separately listed:


These are  purely chemically defined substances. Drugs are authorized and issued by the authorities, and are subject to strict conditions for marketing.  A drug must prove its efficacy and safety and must have disclosed manufacturing processes. Import, wholesale and retail of drugs will need a special permission. Some drugs are approved for use in certain diseases.

Drugs are sold in pharmacies only with two exceptions; flúorlyf and nicotine which can be sold outside pharmacies in the smallest packages available. They nevertheless also have a marketing agent. Prescription drugs can not be advertised to the public.

Herbal medicines-

These include one or more active ingredients prepared in a simple way from living organisms, minerals or salts. Herbal remedies may only be recommended for oral or topical use on skin or mucous membranes. Herbal medicines may be marketed; however they must also demonstrate their efficacy. Manufacturer is permitted to refer to peer-reviewed scientific sources but he can not perform research himself, as required for drugs. Strict requirements for production processes and quality tests are needed


Supplements are often complex mixtures of many substances. Generally there are no claims made by the authorities and the manufacturers. The manufacturer can demonstrate the performance or production quality and safety of the product to market.

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