When you get sick, you go to the doctor. And the doctor will, of course, prescribe medicines. You will go and buy medicines. You take them, and hopefully, you get well.
This is how the health profession goes on nowadays ñ a cycle of diagnosis and prescription.
If anyone were to give you herbs for medicine, you would probably say that that person was a quack.
But nowadays, studies are being conducted to see if there are really is any merit to what is called natural medicine.
Natural medicine is the use of natural methods, herbal medicines, and traditional practices to heal ailments. Every culture has a form of natural medicine. In ancient cultures, village medicine men served as the doctors of the community, passing on medical knowledge to the apprentices that followed them.
Many categories of the healing methods fall under natural medicine. Among these are traditional medicine, complementary medicine, and alternative medicine.
Usually, natural medicine refers to medical practices that were in place before the advent of modern medicine.
This includes herbal medicine, or phytotherapy, which is prevalent in Chinese, Ayurvedic(or Indian), and Greek medicine.
Upon the advent of modern medicine, many professionals discarded the use of herbs in favor of man-made medicine. The fact that these treatments are based on the healing properties of some herbs was forgotten.
For example, opium, digitalis, quinine, and aspirin all have their roots in traditional medicine.
Natural medicine can be considered as a lost art. This does not mean that it has lost efficacy over time. In some cases, natural therapy is actually better than modern medicine. This leads some doctors to seriously consider and study the possible uses of natural medicine
Before we continue, it is important to stress that not all the natural remedies are legitimate. It would help to only try those remedies which have been thoroughly studied and are relatively risk free.
Take herbal medicine for example. There are many well-documented and studied herbal remedies available. However, only those that deal with minor ailments such as cough, colds, fever, skin rashes, and its ilk are likely to be recommended by health professionals. These remedies are sometimes superior to synthetic medicine. This is because herbal medicines are less likely to cause negative side effects.
Currently there are numerous organizations that study the effects and advocacy of natural medicine among which is herbal medicine. Some governments and health agencies openly advocate the use of natural methods since they are inexpensive and relatively risk-free.
As their studies compile, more herbs and treatments are added to the list of accepted medicines. However, many herbs and treatments have been proven to be bogus medicine. This represents a challenge for both the user and the agencies because they have to ascertain that the treatments they either use or advocate are legitimate.
There exist today many alternative medical treatments that fall under natural medicine. However, not all of them have been proven to be effective. You could mention homeopathy, aromatherapy, acupuncture, and other alternative medical treatments. It would pay to consult the experts as to the legitimacy of these treatments.
Natural medicine should also be thought of as an accompanying medicine. Right now, the current collective medical thought suggests that natural medicine be used only to supplement accepted modern medical practices. In that case of minor ailments your expert we actually advise you to take natural therapies instead.
The practice of modern medicine revolves around diagnosing an illness and prescribing treatments for such. Natural medicine is helpful because it suggests that treatment be not necessarily given only when sick. Natural medicine strives to make each patient practice good health habits. These habits include good diet, healthy living, and the regular natural treatment.
It is this same line of thought that leads our parents to tell us to eat our vegetables. Yes, a healthy lifestyle and will do no harm to our well-being. And this is the foundation of natural medicine ñ may it be massage, herbal medicine, aromatherapy or others.
It is funny but true that science, in its quest for excellence, is studying the knowledge of sages past. This, surprisingly, leads us back to the remedies nature offers. The possibilities of finding remedies to everyday illnesses in natural medicine are encouraging. So staying tuned to studying these remedies is worthwhile until we can verify that these therapies are truly helpful to our health and our society.
I just want to say that natural medicine is the only real form of medicine, in my opinion. It has helped me and my family a lot and I would never want to resort to anything but natural methods of healing. To be honest, I don’t feel I need a scientific study to validate whether it works or not as long as I am seeing improvement. My fiance was a huge skeptic of natural medicine at first, but after he healed his ailments using only homeopathy, he changed his mind. 🙂
That’s right, I feel the same way because we have all felt the benefits of natural medicine, so we don’t need any external validation. Sadly lobbies demand certification, but the goal of this is just to sabotage natural medicines.
What’s really sad is that a lot of the wisdom of ancient people has been lost to time. For example, the majority of North American native tribes did not have writing systems, and due to the sudden loss of population and assimilation policies of governments, a lot of wisdom has been completely lost. Just imagine what sort of natural herbal medicine and treatments are available for testing in North America alone!
I would say that natural medicine has declined so greatly due to the pharmaceutical companies. They seek to make money from people’s ailments, and if there is a readily accessible remedy in nature, they surely don’t want you knowing about it. That would lose them millions and millions of dollars.
I am in agreement that natural medicine also has it uses alongside modern medicine. There is no doubt that modern medicine is necessary, but it doesn’t have to be a money hungry game. If something exists in nature to help us, make it available. Don’t make money off of it…
And I have to agree with what you are saying Joshua. Pharmaceutical companies just want to make money and not to cure us, so it’s good business to give something that cure fast, but causes side effects…
Natural or not, I just want to know if the medicine will work, so I think testing is very important. If I, or a family member, are seriously ill then I don’t think it’s appropriate to take medicines that ‘might’ work or go by hearsay. To be honest, if something isn’t backed by science then I’m not particularly interested.
The use of herbs to cure an illness was used long before what we call modern medicine. Todays medicine has taken the compounds of herbs to make medicine, has improved and concentrated the dose amount to help get a quicker results.
The problem is the side effects of some of the medicines given can cause death, although this is true of herbs also.
When the cost of the medicine is not affordable more and more people are turning to the more natural way of curing their illness.
There are so many treatments available today by “modern medicine” that only treat and do not cure. Scientists along with pharmaceuticals will be the last to admit that. In my opinion, why would a multi-billion dollar industry admit that herbs can cure and treat just as well or even better than the toxins they compose? Our ancestors did not rely on “modern medicine” they instead treated individuals on a case by case basis. The sicknesses we see today are no different than 200 years ago. The difference is that today we have to continue keeping people sick and the easiest way to do so is by telling people not to try holistic approaches. The human body is incredible. Think about times where you have been feeling great- went to the doctor and your “paranoia” kicked in because you were given a “diagnosis”. Of course you are going to feel worse- you are stressing yourself out! I find it quite intriguing how doctors are paid to sell certain brands and medicines to their patients… this comes along with a quota they must meet. Do you really think they genuinely care about your health? There are very far and few doctors to genuinely care- those will be the ones who will tell you to please go get a second and third opinion and by all means lets try holistic approaches BEFORE I start prescribing foreign elements for you to ingest.
I am all natural. Personally, I don’t believe anything that comes out of an MD’s mouth. There is no way that someone can tell me they are going to treat and heal me better than I would. After all, we are our own beings and know our bodies better than anyone else. To add icing to this cake- What may have worked for 100 people may not work for me. I will take my chances and believe that the LORD has given me a body capable of healing itself through faith and natural substances.
I, unlike some previous posters it seems, have had a fine experience with western medicine and tend to trust doctors and the scientific method. However, I believe that there is a significant amount of benefit to ‘natural’ remedies. These types of remedies do not have large, well-funded, double blind studies backing them up because there is no financial benefit for pharmaceutical companies to fund those studies! If they are shown to be efficacious, people can just walk into their backyard and grab some dandelion or buy some herb seeds and plant them in a window box, there is no big payday promised for someone to fund that research. With this in mind, I try to be open to the possibility that herbal remedies could be very helpful, but I prefer to source them myself rather that buying vitamins or tinctures at the store. You just never know what you’re getting in that bottle!
In my family, we have been using natural remedies since I can remember. Most of the herbs we used were grown in our garden or purchased from farmers markets. While we have had great results with natural remedies and we will always use them, I agree with Dee Storm. Western medicine has also yielded good results for us. We will continue to use both in faith and in the knowledge that each of us must do what is best for our bodies and our health.
As of yesterday I have officially been sick for a month. What started out as a funky couch quickly turned into full blown bronchitis among other things. At this point I have taken 3 rounds of antibiotics which have not done much to help. I am slowly realizing that we must get away from modern medicine and turn to natural remedies. We rely on doctors so much that it is incredibly frustrating when they keep prescribing harmful antibiotics. I trust a doctors opinion and it would be so helpful if they could think outside of their pharmaceutical minds for one minute to offer some insight into natural alternatives. But alas that is not what sells and is not what makes doctors money. Thus we are left to figure it out ourselves. I am up for the challenge. More natural, less modern medicine.
I’ve often wondered how many of the natural medicine success stories are actually cases of the placebo effect. I’ve been reading that the placebo effect can be just as effective as taking an advil. I suspect a lot of healing has to do with our brain believing we’re being healed. If you believe that a special dance will cure you, or a special herb, or a little white pill, that belief may really be what’s helping make you feel better.
I’m not exactly sure if ‘natural medicine’ has all the cures. It really depends on what you’re treating. For example, I wouldn’t use natural medicine to cure cancer (if I happened to be diagnosed with it), but I would use it, for example if I had a headache (Native Americans actually used a certain type of tree to treat these). My only advice when it comes to natural medicine is always to research what you’re taking and make sure you’re not being duped.
All the best.
I definitely trust natural medicine more than western medicine. Natural medicine has been working for thousands of years and, unfortunately, nowadays pharmaceutical companies have corrupted natural medicine and have “bought out” doctors. I think it’s really sad that this has happened because doctors used to really care and cure ailments. This is not the case today; they are taught to push pills onto people. And the pills they push never really cure the problem, which makes them more money because you’ll be coming back for more help. Western medicine has come so far as to say that there are thousands of studies that prove that homeopathic methods don’t work AT ALL. Which is absolutely ridiculous; how about the thousands of years that its worked…
I think you hit on a really important point here. Not all natural medicine is the same, just like not all standard medicine is the same. It is too bad that some people in the natural medicine world do not have the patient’s health first, but that certainly does not prove that natural medicine is any less helpful. It just means we need to be sure to look at all the options before making our decision.
As an athlete I have always stayed away from NSAIDS and would rather use herbal alternatives to reduce inflammation and enhance recovery. I drink a lot of turmeric tea and sometimes ginger. I also stay away from antibiotics as much as possible as it can disrupt your natural gut flora which can cause a number of negative effects in your gut and digestion when you get rid of the good bacteria in your stomach.
I went on a trip to Vanuatu in the Pacific many years ago and on some tour or another my family and I were shown through the jungle by a local guide. He was incredibly knowledgable and pointed out all these different plants that had various medicinal properties. There were so many! There were some leaves that would stop a blood nose, a different type of leaf that generally clotted blood on an open wound, roots that would get rid of headaches, smoking a certain palm had the same calming effect as smoking tobacco, and so on. Even the basis for Coca-cola can be traced back to the coca leaves chewed in Peru to help people overcome altitude sickness. It’s amazing the medicinal properties mother nature has embedded in her creations, and I agree with some of the comments above; sadly I think this fact is being less appreciated as time goes on and it’s a wealth of knowledge big pharmaceutical companies would be happy to see die out.
Western medicine regards itself as the be-all and end-all of healing. I think often we forget that doctors often write prescriptions based on incentives from pharmaceutical companies and that despite the technologies available to us, the health care system is more industry than service. There is something to be said about looking to the natural world for cures and treatments. Of course, this too should be taken with a grain of salt. Our culture prizes money over most things and it is up to us to somehow sort out fact from fiction and find some way to heal ourselves.
There are so many modern medicines available to us today that we forget about the natural medicines. Many of us do not have much knowledge about these as this has been lost through the decades. We do no use much medication in my home, but we are moving more and more towards the use of natural medication. I have seen from working on the internet that there are so many sick people out there who are suffering and modern medicine has not been able to diagnose or help their ailment in any way. I do believe that the world is moving back to a more natural way with food and medicine.
My grandmother has never really trusted doctors or prescriptions. She uses a wide array of natural herbs and is 94-years-old. She has a healthy mind, still works, still gardens, and is very active for her age. On the opposite end of the spectrum, she also uses butter to cook, drinks one beer or glass of red wine every night, and eats fried foods quite often. On that note, I think what is most of important is what works for you. I am also a believer in certain herbs and natural remedies, however I require a daily prescription that I will need for the rest of my life. I believe that you can find a good balance between the two, if needed.
I come from a Chinese background, but herbal medicines were not very evident my childhood years. I saw a Chinese doctor not too long ago and it was quite a weird experience. He held my arm and felt my pulse throughout the session and asked me about my problems. Then, his assistants brewed up some herbs that would “balance my body”. The herbs were powdered and to be mixed with water and drunk. It was disgusting. I don’t believe it even helped me at all…
I am a big fan of natural medicine and I am not the only one. If we look closely to the medicines sold, most of them are herbal based, meaning that the active principle in the drug is an herb. I think medicine should aim at curing and not curing something at making a lot of side effects like happen these days.
It is a fact that there are many claims of natural medicine working, when in fact it does not! In my country there are many money making scams like this which target the masses. This is not to say that all natural remedies do not work. There are many that work and there are many western medicines that work as well. I think that it is important to have a balanced view and to also do your own research before using something that you have been given.
That’s the big deal, when the regulation is not clear one bad alternative doctor is enough to give a bad name to the whole class. That is why regulation is something so important, to separate the good from the bad doctors, being them alternative or not.
The very sad thing about these natural remedies is that they very rarely receive the big budget studies to prove their efficacy as the large pharmaceutical companies can devote to unnatural (and for them, more profitable) drugs. Take turmeric for example – great for fighting inflammation, and with very real cancer-fighting properties when taken in its natural form. Instead of telling people, “Just add turmeric to your diet.” – a very cheap and readily accessible food for almost everyone, they devote millions to trying to extract and synthesize chemicals in their labs that they can sell at a ridiculous profit. With so many things in human development, the truth is Mother Nature almost always got there long before us!
And you know why that happens Cat? Simply because if we started to use natural medicines more often the huge billion making pharmaceutical companies would be out of business and with them the billions of taxes governments receive…
I’ve had a homeopathic doctor for over 30 years and have only very rarely had to resort, on his advice, to antibiotics and painkillers. I’m of an age now where I’m offered a flu vaccine at the start of each winter, but I take a homeopathic preventative and I’ve never had flu, and in the last 8 years have had 2 mild colds. Friends who have taken the flu jab have had more colds and one even had full blown flu.
That is great Julie, simply great! I always give natural medicines priority too, but at the same time I have allergies and I didn’t get good results with natural medicine, so I had to go back to the conventional way. Always open to try something new though.
Well it kind of just makes me wish that I could go get some opium the next time that I have some pain, but sadly I know that this is not the case. It is so true, though, and I am glad that these natural remedies are finally starting to make their way into mainstream medicine. My guess is that the big health companies do not want people to know this stuff, though, and it would dent their profits, so I would not be surprised to hear some negative news getting thrown around out there. Interesting stuff, though, and thanks for sharing.
I think that natural medicine should always be used unless there is absolutely no other option. I also think that whether that medicine is natural or not, it’s only going to completely heal a person if that person truly believes that it will. So, if that is actually the case, why not choose natural medicine? I think that while western medicine may help the problem that it was prescribed for, it will also create problems in other areas.
I grew up in a Chinese family and while there has only been a few occasions of my family using Chinese herbs, I do remember taking Chinese branded medicine. There was this cough syrup that I had to take everytime I started coughing. It was minty and tasted bad. It had the after taste of Chinese medicine. I guess compared to the generic stuff we get in the drug store, this is just as effective as those.