Is Alternative Medicine Right for You?

September 11th, 20124:40 pm @

Is Alternative Medicine Right for You?

Whether prescribed by Chinese herbalists or tribal shamans, humans have used various roots and herbs to heal themselves for millennia. Despite its long history, alternative medicine has only recently returned to the forefront of medicine in the United States.

Ignoring its ancient history or citing it as nothing more than mumbo jumbo, many people deride alternative medicine. Despite its detractors, herbal medicine is also somewhat scientifically untested. As a result, there is much we don’t know of the potency and dangers of herbalism.

Another major concern is the labeling of dietary supplements and remedies as herbal medicines. This may be one of the largest detractors to alternative medicine, primarily because people misunderstand the nature of alternative medicine.

It is also important to recognize the possibility of drug interactions due to alternative medicines. Many people don’t consult their doctor before self-administering herbal drugs. Limited scientific research also leaves unanswered questions regarding the safety of some medicines until it’s too late.

But don’t let all that scare you too much. There are many potential benefits to alternative medicine. Its holistic (whole-body) approach encourages general wellbeing as well as treating an existing condition. As a result, many practitioners consult with their patients more extensively than traditional doctors.

Herbal medicines are also much cheaper than many traditional prescriptions.

Alternative medicine’s holistic focus has applications within traditional medicine as well. As more insurance companies accept alternative treatments, traditional doctors may be encouraged to spend more time with their patients and offer more diverse treatment options.

In concert with traditional medicine, alternative medicine allows doctors to offer greater treatment options, but it’s up to an individual to decide whether alternative medicine is right for her or him.