I agree that if you are categorically opposed to taking drugs to help with illnesses, due to the fact that drugs are "toxic," then if you are not also opposed to "medicinal herbs" you are being absurdly inconsistent -- because they are toxic also -- and this is either a sure sign that you have little or no education in any kind of science whatsoever, or if you do, that you are telling untruths, for the purpose of conning people.
In some cases the synergistic effect of an array of related compounds makes an herb a better choice than its main compound, either isolated, or imitated; in other cases an herb has good and bad compounds, together.
Some herbs are so complex that it is hard to figure out which is better, the whole herb, or the main active element. This applies to opium. The fact that the morphine is mixed with codeine and other morphine-related alkaloids, in my opinion, makes opium, in one way, a better choice than purified morphine. However the fact that that opium also contains meconic acid, a chemical that does little more than make you nauseaus, makes morphine, in one way, a better choice than opium. Perhaps a better solution than having to choose between whole opium, or pure morphine, would be for chemists to simply remove the meconic acid -- this was the first step in the way morphine was isolated in the 1930's -- called the Gregory process -- and serve up the "crude morphine," or "raw morphine" that remains, instead of pure morphine. This is also the first step in the process that illegal heroin producers use today; legal morpine today is made by one of several more complex processes that are more economcial on a larger scale, but too complex for small scale or medium-tech factories. This "raw morphine" of the gregory process contained codeine (the second most prevalent opium alkaloid) as well as morphine, and other alkaloids, as well as various impurities which are harmless if eaten. You can't inject this stuff, but I'd bet it is better for eating than pure morphine, mg for mg. It was always further purified, never sold this way. For no reason except it was the culture of the industrialized world to make "pure" chemicals, if reasonably possible. You can do the gregory process in your kitchen, with "chemicals" that you can buy at any garden center.
Today, however, in regard to senna leaf (as a commercial laxative, the main ingredient in "Swiss Kriss), we do things the medium tech way, in contrast to the high-tech way we deal with the opium poppy fruit. We usually use whole senna leaf, that is, the plain herb, or we use partially refined senna, called "standardized senna concentrate," containing an array of sennasides -- in preference to complete isolation of a single sennaside. I would guess the reason for this is that either it is just too damn impractical and expensive to isolate a single sennaside, or that chemists don't even know the relative potencies of the various alkaloids, or both. Look at the ingredient list on your senna laxative (Senakot). It doesn't list a single isolated chemical; it lists "standardized senna concentrate." Taking Senacot is analgous to taking standardized opium, or standarized poppy tea, rather than taking morphine.
How is opium "standardized?" You mix up a large single homogenous batch of opium, remove a tiny sample and weigh it, isolate the morphine from the sample and weight it -- then you know how much morphine there is in any piece of your homogenous batch. Then you add a filler to the batch, to make it conform to the opium standard of 100 mg of morphine per gram of opium. Senna may be standardized differently -- perhaps using some kind of animal test or tissue test, for acutal laxative ability rather than percent of the main chemical. Because, again, perhaps chemists haven't yet figured out the relative laxative capablilty of each of the dozen or so, i think it is, chemicals, in the sennaside array. And my guess is that each batch of senna leaves may have a different relative amount of the various sennasides. Even each leaf might.
You can also get the benefit of morphine by making tea out of crumbled, dry poppy fruits (called poppy straw when supplied with a few feet of attached stem). I'm not really sure if opium is a better choice, or poppy straw tea is a better choice. The comparison is just too complex. Poppy straw tea, like opium, contains meconic acid, plus other awful chemicals that opium doesn't have.
Again in my mind, neither plain poppy fruits, nor isolated morphine, is the best choice for pain relief, control of non-productive (dry) coughs, or prevention of accumulation of fluid in the lungs due to heart attack, or diareah -- the traditional main uses of morphine, until 50 years ago. In my opinion the best choice is something in between.
These days morphine is rarely used for coughs or diarhea. A synthetic opioid which relieve coughs but has very little affect on pain, is commonly prescribed (dextromethorphan). It's molecule is very similar to the morphine molecule, but it is just about useless for pain, by itself -- but one peculiar thing -- take it along with morphine, and it makes the same amount of morphine relieve more pain. Same thing for diarhea -- loperamide has replaced morphine. It is uselss for analgesia. I don't think it improves the analgesic effect or morphine tho. I wonder whether morphine may improve the anti-dire-real effect of loperamide?