No doubt, people around the world have been using natural remedies to find relief from various common ailments. For example, colds, cough, different types of pain,etc. Also, the use of these remedies has risen considerably in the recent times. In fact, nearly one-third of Americans are seeking relief outside the realm of prescription drugs. But the big question is, are they worth their claims? Can you replace prescription drugs with so-called natural healing? Or, at least, should you give up on your doctor’s prescription pills? Here is an insight into the prescription drugs vs natural healing war.
An Overview of Prescription Drugs and Natural Remedies
Prescription drugs represent a wide range of medications that you can get only with a doctor’s prescription. Meaning, you cannot use prescription drugs on your own. Examples include:
- Narcotic pain medications like morphine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone and their combinations.
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs.
- Blood pressure lowering drugs.
- Water pills also called diuretics.
- Drugs for diabetes.
Remember this is in contrast to OTC (over-the-counter) drugs that you can use on your own. But you will need a prescription if the product contains a combination of prescription and OTC medications.
What Are Natural Healing Agents?
As a matter of fact, there is no standard definition of natural remedies. One reason might be that these cover a wide range of therapies. Nonetheless, other related terms well defined. They include:
- Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine defines CAM as “a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine”
Note: Doctors may use the complementary approaches in conjunction with the mainstream therapies. But alternative approaches are used to replace the mainstream therapies.
- Herbal Medicine. Also called botanicals or phytotherapy. Herbal medicines are a type of dietary supplement. They come in different forms. For example, capsules, tablets, liquids, and powders. Remember last time you bought garlic capsules?
- Traditional medicine (TM). According to the WHO, TM is “the sum total of the knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness“.
- Integrative medicine (IM). As the name suggests, IM is a collaborative approach consisting of both the usual medical and complementary approaches. In fact, more and more physicians are using this approach these days. In addition to the botanicals, it also covers non-drug therapies like yoga, chiropractic, homeopathy and special diets.
Natural healing approaches or remedies may involve any of the therapies mentioned above. Therefore, it would be wiser on your side to know which type of natural remedies you are using. That way, you will have a clearer idea of the ingredients and possible beneficial/harmful effects.
Prescription Drugs vs Natural Healing: Two Entirely Different Approaches of Disease Treatment
Prescription drugs become available in the market only after a lengthy process. Essentially, it involves tests on animals, healthy volunteers and those with the disorder. In a normal case, the whole process starting from the beginning of a drug research to its market availability takes more than a decade. In essence, the researchers want to make sure the drugs in the experiment are safe and effective. Moreover, the US FDA approval is needed for all the prescription drugs.
On the contrary, the natural healing approaches do not undergo such stringent regulations. It is because they are not considered drugs by the FDA. Simply put it, the FDA considers the natural remedies safe as long as there are no reports of proven toxic or undesirable effects. Thus, it is clear that these supplements enjoy a greater degree of freedom when it comes to the tests for safety and efficacy.
Can You Replace Prescription Drugs with Natural Healing Therapies?
Not every product in the market with a label “natural and safe” is safe or effective in reality. If you are already taking some other prescription drugs, they can interact with the “natural” products.
Considering the lack of enough data on their safety and efficacy, you should not use any natural remedy in place of the prescription drugs. Doing so may worsen your condition. At the worst, such practice may be potentially fatal.
However, you may use alternative therapies or supplements after consulting your doctor. In fact, an expert consultation is invariably necessary to ensure you do not develop any complications.
In fact, there is no single natural remedy that has been scientifically proven to be as effective as the prescription drugs.
What You Can Do
To ensure your health, consider using the following tips.
- Avoid buying any product with a claim of cure or replacement for the prescription drugs.
- Read the labels on the natural remedies carefully. Note the language and product description. If you suspect anything wrong with it, do not use.
- Take an extra caution if you are buying a supplement from the online vendor. It would be best to avoid such practice.
- Do not take a supplement if you are using other prescription and OTC drugs. Moreover, pregnant or breastfeeding women should never take any supplements on their own.
- In any case, DO NOT use any supplement or other natural healing therapies without first consulting your doctor. If you have any signs of a major health issue during the use, stop taking it immediately and seek a professional help.
Want to Know More?
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