What is a natural remedy?
by N J Howell
You don't have to look far in the drug store or supermarket to see the word "natural". It's all over the place. But all that is natural does not constitute a "natural remedy" in the sense that I use it here at the wellness library.
When I say "natural remedy" I mean a whole-plant-based synergistic formula, not a chemically altered or concentrated concoction made from extracted properties which, while technically still "natural", do not support a synergistic whole-plant effect.
Most of the so-called all-natural weight loss formulas are actually adulterated formulas that contain extracted concentrations of one or two ingredients which may naturally occur in a plant.
Are Natural Remedies Safe?
The amount of these concentrated natural extracts can be dangerous, just as any other overdose of anything might be dangerous.
Unless a person has an allergy to an herb or is taking a prescription drug that interacts in a harmful way with an herb or vitamin, most natural remedies (that is to say any remedy that maintains the synergistic, whole properties of the plant and does not chemically altar, enhance or change the synergy) are exceedingly safe.
There are over 100,000 deaths a year as a result of prescription drug-related complications. Many believe that numbers should be far higher, due to under-reported cases.
Most resources I consulted varied in the statistics but all were over 100,000 a year so that's a good marker to keep in mind.
Even with the new and intense scrutiny of natural health products from the FDA in recent years, documented death from uncontaminated, whole plant herbal formulations, homeopathy and other alternative health formulas remains virtually non-existent.
The few reports that make the news do so because of contamination (which can happen with prescription drugs too, as was reported with flu shots a while back) or from concentrated extracts far above the amount one could reasonably ingest if taking the whole-plant remedy.
In fact, every case I've ever read about where harm came to anyone from taking natural remedies involved either contamination (which is absolutely no reflection on the safety of the same formula in uncontaminated form) or massive overdose.
In all cases I've researched, the people who died were taking an extracted, concentrated single ingredient such as was the case with the natural phenphen diet pills or they died because there was an undiagnosed allergy or because they were on prescription drugs that interacted with the natural remedy.
In spite of these contrasting statistics, sites like the skeptic dictionary focus on the one case of pneumonia-related death which occurred with someone who chose homeopathy to address their illness or the two cases in which accupunture which were blamed for cases of hepatitis. Accupuncture causing hepatitis? Does that seem logical to anyone reading this?
Since a sterile needle cannot cause hepatitis, no matter where you inject it, the issue here is contamination again, not risks inherently associated with acupuncture as an alternative health therapy.
And as for the statistics on complications reported by GP's (a very small study, by the way) on this same site.....I wonder how many of those were due to interactions with controversial prescribed drugs the patient was also taking? The degree of potential dangerous interaction between prescription drugs is mortally high, in my opinion. Add to that possible complications from natural remedies, and you've made an already dangerous situation more so.
Skeptical about the Skeptics Dictionary:
I don't mean to keep harping on one website but the skeptics dictionary really does seem to represent the prevelant view among scientists and medical doctors so it's as good a reference for counter-argument as I can find. I'll refer to it's findings once more with regard to cancer:
We read on the dictionary site that cancer diagnosis was delayed by those using alternative health care remedies. Obviously, if a person takes a natural remedy for suspected cancer, INSTEAD of getting a diagnosis and knowing for sure, the diagnosis would be delayed, the operative word being instead.
Natural remedies, taken as adjunctive therapies approved by your doctor, or taken while under the care of a qualified naturopathic clinic after complete medical diagnosis and apprisal of what the medical community has to offer, can extend life and quality of life. Ask a Healer article on cancer
A responsible homeopath or herbalist or naturopath is not going to tell a person not to get a diagnosis. They are going to say, regardless of how a person chooses to address their health care, a person should always be fully informed as to the medical conditions involved. This requires medical testing. I'm a firm believer in medical testing, so that a person knows exactly what is wrong.
After medical testing and medical diagnosis, in this land of the free, people still have the option of self-treatment.
I haven't seen any statistics that prove a person with cancer has a better chance of surviving the disease with chemotherapy and radiation than they would if they chose to treat the cancer alternatively. It would be useful if someone would do a double-blind study that documented people with similar cancers, at similar stages of development, and compared the results between those who went through chemo and radiation and those who used anti-cancer substances of an alternative nature.
I do know there was a woman with a remarkable record of curing cancer without chemo, radiation or surgery. She was a woman of courage and conviction. Her remarkable practice was shut down and all her precious documentation destroyed. Now, all that is left are those whose lives she saved, those who are still alive years later to tell her story.
Continue....... The Caisse Legacy
Health Disclaimer: Whether you see a medical doctor, alternative health care practitioner or some combination of both to address your health issues, awareness and active participation in your own health care is vital. Be educated and ask questions about the drugs you choose to take, as well as the natural supplements your naturopath might suggest. It's your health so take charge of it.