Glenn’s Strategies for Well-Being: Using Caution with Natural Medicine

*Although herbal medicines are natural, and some have been in use for thousands of years, this does not necessarily mean that they are always safe and without side effects.

There may be problems of quality control, standardization, and impurities among the patent herbal therapies. They can cause herb-drug interactions, induce allergies, and cause other adverse reactions. Some are toxic and some contain little or no active ingredients.

The federal government does not require that herbal remedies and dietary supplements be tested in the same way that standard medicines are tested before they are sold.

Herbs, and their extracts, have been used for thousands of years for their medicinal properties. Many traditional uses are based on superstition, or spiritual basis, with no clinical trials or research to support the results. Some traditional medicinal herb use is based on trial and error, and is supported by real-world, results based evidence. Traditional medicine is based strongly in herbal remedies, whether supported by real-world results or spiritual basis.

Western medicine is beginning to look at the use of herbal remedies as alternatives to synthetic drugs as well. Most modern pharmaceuticals have a historical base in herbal medicine, and many are derived from herbal extracts, at least initially.

I shudder when I hear of people who brag about ignoring their doctors’ recommendations because either “they don’t believe in Doctors’ medicine”, or because “an herbalist looked into their eyes” and said that they had just the thing for their medical condition.

I recently heard a story about a tragic example of how wrong these types of decisions can go, and how costly (in terms of life and permanent risk to health).

For years, I have not written or spoke publicly on my disdain for what I consider to be charlatan (somebody who falsely claims to have special skill or expertise) behavior in the name of “healing’ people, and helping them learn the “natural way”. But as these incidents continue to happen more and more, and families are devastated by the senseless loss or injury of a loved one, I am silent no more. I have to live with my own conscience. I have been given the privilege of being a source of trusted and valued information, and so add this to the growing list of topic I will write about.

The use of dietary supplements has risen tremendously in recent years. Increasingly, people now take herbs and other “natural” substances in addition to vitamins and minerals. These so-called nutritional products are not as strictly regulated under the law as prescription drugs, however, and to use them wisely, consumers should know about the risks and benefits associated with supplements. Dietary supplements are billed as immune triggers, weight-loss wonders, “brain power”, muscle-expanding elixirs, and much more. They can be bought from the shelves of health food stores, drug stores, and supermarkets. They are a category of nutritional additives that once included just vitamins and minerals, but now also encompass herbs, amino acids, fish oils, hormones, and many other substances. Not only is the array of supplements …read more
Source: Electronic Urban Report