People who argue against natural medicine seem to base their reasoning on the idea that it doesn't work. It seems absurd to me that anyone would waste the amount of time and resources involved in natural health if it didn't work. Nor would we risk our lives on ineffective methods.
The bottom line of any decision is that the strategy used to acheive good health must be effective! A medicine given, whether it be a herb or a pharmaceutical must do the job it is intended for. It is interesting to note that placebos are a feature of the pharmaceutical industry and not the alternative health movement.
Herbs are the traditional medicine of this world, and I restrict the use of the words "traditional medicine" to mean this, and not to mean modern pharmaceuticals.
Many of the the modern drugs are synthetic versions of naturally occuring substances in herbs and other plant sources. The most well-known example of this is probably Aspirin, which is a synthetic copy of salicylic acid, one of the active ingredients in White Willow Bark. You can purchase White Willow Bark and use it for pain and fever just the same as Aspirin, but without the risk of ulcers. You may have noted that I said "one of the active ingredients", and this is one reason that the natural source works best, because it is a full recipe and not one selected ingredient.
One of the common reasons given for the use of pharmaceuticals over herbs is just this, that it has been purified. Herbalists see this purification as a negative factor, that the other helpful ingredients in the organic source have been removed, and that the singled out ingredient cannot work as effictively alone. In the example I have just given, it is the tannins that are removed from White Willow Bark, which would otherwise protect the stomach lining from the pure salicylic acid.
Another reason frequently given is that the pharmaceutical has been measured and doseages can be more accurate. This is obviously an important issue in such plants as digitalis, from which a cardiac drug is made. In overdose the digitalis would be fatal. However it is noteable that pharmaceuticals are frequently prescribed at the wrong doseage, with often tragic results, so it would seem that these safeguards fail.
The main problem with using pharmaceuticals instead of natural methods of health, is that while they often do indeed cure one problem, they frequently cause another. These are known as side-effects. These can range from the diarrhoea frequently caused by antibiotics, to the fetal abnormalties cause by thalidomide. Thalidimide certainly worked just fine, it cured Morning Sickness. My Mother took Ginger Root tea instead, it was very effective, and I have all four limbs. This is why natural medicines are known as an alternative. They do the same job as the pharmaceuticals, without the associated problems.
With all the information and technology we have available to us today it would make the most sense if modern methods were used for diagnosis and for conditions that defy natural medicine. In other words if we could work together. Sadly, many doctors have an irrational fear of natural medicine, despite all their education as to how medicinal substances work. But fortunately an increasing number of doctors do know better, and many are recommending herbs and other natural treatments to their patients. So there is hope.
In my detailed description of each Herb I give the explanation as to how it works. This is no mystery, it is basic science. Drugs and herbs fall in the same categories, e.g.
Where natural medicines differ is the emphasis on prevention of disease, rather than always waiting for it to happen and treating afterwards. This is what we mean by Holistic Health. With good nutrition, and care of the immune-system, and the whole body, many diseases will never occur in the first place.
If you need a pharmaceutical drug because you have been unable to find a natural way to cure or treat your condition, it is still possible to help by using natural medicine alongside pharmaceuticals, especially to relieve the side-effects of the prescription drugs.
Because herbs ARE an effective medicine, they should be treated with respect. The same mindset that allows some people to think that they do not work, also allows people to think they are harmless. It is possible to overdose on herbs, and it is possible to cause adverse reactions between two herbs, or between a herb and a pharmaceutical. That is why care should be taken and the advice of a reputable and experienced herbalist sought. Self-medication, should only be done after extensive research.
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