ARE YOU A BLIND BELIEVER IN NATURAL REMEDIES?
According to the WHO, “Adverse drug reactions to alternative medicines have more than doubled in three years.”. If you are one ardent, but a blind believer in natural remedies this statement ought to shake you a bit.
But only for your good!
Abundant goodness does abide in natural drugs and alternative treatments. Even scientists and medical experts say so. But you got to be cautious. As you take off now rose-tinted glasses, you might like to have some guidance for your venture with the natural remedies.
You Need to be A Smart Customer Of Natural Remedies
Herbal medicines constitute a large chunk of natural remedies that people lap up without prescriptions and without understanding their therapeutic appropriateness. Natural remedies make for a teeming business, but not all what is sold is genuine or accompanied with adequate information.
In the name of ‘natural,’ you could be given counterfeit or substandard products or treatments. Adopting the following guidelines would instill your confidence in considering natural remedies.
#1 Read the Label Carefully
Natural or alternative remedies aren’t regulated by any State authority; hence you as the customer need to collect all pertinent information before the purchase of product or services. Neither are they examined scientifically or strictly regulated to check their quality standards. But what helps us to examine all the information provided on the label.
First and foremost, you are required to choose the right brand. It is safer to go for products of a reputed company, and once you feel satisfied with them, stick to them. Reputed brands would have their drugs and supplements tested by independent sources such as Consumerlab.
On the label, look out for the list of ingredients which would be in the supplement facts column or beneath it.
#2 Consult Your Doctor
Always consult your doctor before purchasing herbal drugs or supplements. Often, patients do not inform their doctor about their intake of alternative medicines. A medical practitioner will not only enlighten you on the quality of the drug but will also assess for you its compatibility with the regular medicine.
Certain herbal medicines may interfere with or disrupt the line of medical treatment. For instance, Ginkgo biloba is a well-known herbal medicine to prevent and treat vascular disease and to enhance blood circulation. Some herbs are also known to cause serious side effects when mixed with prescribed medications, such as aspirin, blood thinners or blood pressure drugs. However, its intake can cause excessive bleeding during the surgery phase of treatment.
#3 Interpret In Light of Scientific Studies
Herbal medicines or natural remedies like acupressure or magnetic therapy are not liable to produce evidence for their claims to a regulatory body, for example, the FDA in the case of USA. Hence, they can get away from state action for disseminating misleading claims.
Hence, as a consumer, you have to act smartly. Don’t get carried away by product’s marketing and start amassing the stuff. Instead, search for scientific, objective, research-based information for the purpose of evaluating a product’s claims. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and the Office of Dietary Supplements are reliable sources for garnering required information.
#4 Natural Isn’t Synonymous With Safe
There is a myth in the minds of people that natural means safe. Hence, in the name of the plant extracts people blindly take herbal medicines from a chemist’s counter. It has been reported by medical experts that some natural drugs if taken in high doses could be toxic or result in severe side-effects. For example, take the case of Kava.
It is an herb used to treat insomnia, anxiety, menopause symptoms, and a few other ailments. However, FDA has issued a warning against its use as it causes severe lung damage.
So, never go in for herbal treatments out of the assumption that natural means safe.
#5 Look Out For Reliable Practitioners
Alternative treatments also include practices such as acupressure, acupuncture, yoga, magnetic therapy, etc. Scientific evidence supports the preventive and curative benefits of herbal of these treatments. Acupuncture, which has found acceptance worldwide, has the backing of scientific evidence to prove its effectiveness. About 90 % of pain clinics in the UK adopt acupuncture treatment.
However, for effective results, you need to find a good practitioner. An inexperienced or inefficient practitioner brings out more harm to your body than good. Under the care of unqualified acupuncturists, patients have reportedly suffered from pneumothorax caused.
Photo by Antonika Chanel
Adopt Natural Remedies Copiously, But Cautiously
A new awareness shows how blind trust in natural remedies could be perilous for your health. Natural remedies have bounteous goodness and benefits, provided they be manufactured and practiced by the right experts.
Photo by Chinh Le Duc
Hence, it is worthwhile for you to explore natural remedies and make use of them with caution and wisdom.
Mitravinda is a Nutritionist at DietChart with a doctoral degree in Food Science and Nutrition. She is a teacher, researcher, and author. Her passion for the subject prompted her to start writing blogs on various nutrition-related topics such as Home Remedies for Glowing Skin, Diet Chart for Weight Loss, Health Benefits of Green Tea, etc. Through her blogs, she wishes to help people gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between food, nutrition, lifestyle, and health.