Advice on Taking Natural Remedies

People have been using natural remedies for thousands of years to treat a huge variety of ailments. In fact many of the well known conventional medicines in use today have originated or are extracted from common garden herbs and other natural products.

For example digoxin which is an effective treatment for disorders of heart rhythm comes from the digitalis plant which was used to treat a weak heart for hundreds of years before the discovery of digoxin. Penicillin which is arguably the most remarkable discovery by modern medicine originates from penicillium, a naturally occurring fungus.

There are many examples of commonly used natural remedies which later prove to contain useful active ingredients. So the question we ask is: Why should I take a natural remedy if modern medicine can provide the concentrated active ingredients? Well, there are two main reasons to choose a natural remedy over a modern ‘drug’.

Firstly, although modern medicines do contain the concentrated known active ingredient , some hold the theory that a natural remedy provides a more complete and balanced cure. That is that within the plant nature has provided other less known ingredients which act to balance the effects of the medicine. The second is that natural remedies are often gentler in effect than modern medicines and tend to produce less side effects.

Some caution is still required with herbal and other natural remedies. Although generally well tolerated many herbal products may still have serious side effects if taken inappropriately or carelessly. I recall an incident where several patients taking a ‘cure-all’ Fijian herbal remedy which contained 18 different plant types needed hospital treatment for gastric problems.

My advice in choosing a good natural remedy is to seek the advice of a qualified naturopath or other practitioner first. This way a specific remedy can be chosen for your illness.

While modern medicine certainly has its place in the treatment of acute and life threatening illness, in the treatment of chronic diseases natural remedies often provide gentle and effective treatment with significantly less side effects.