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Plant-Based Medicines as an Alternative Treatment

Updated on August 4, 2016
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Introduction of the Importance of Plants

Is the human race slowly dying? Is it because we as humans have forgotten how mother nature designed our bodies heal itself? The world as evolved over centuries and everything within it has evolved. Plants have evolved to adjust to its surroundings (National Library of Medicine, 2016). The history of medicine and its evolution is fascinating. It illustrates the cleverness of humans in figuring out the best ways in curing and/or treating illnesses (National Library of Medicine, 2016). Plants have grown and continue to grow freely. Certain plants allow for the treatment of ailments. Plants are part of the earth's ecosystem. Plants are needed to maintain a balance of fresh oxygen. Looking at how plants have helped humans along evolution is essential in understanding and making the decision on whether one should take pharmaceuticals or alternative medicines.

Plant-based treatments have evolved over centuries and are to this day still utilized in many countries. Medicine Hunter (2012) indicated that although humans have advanced in treating ailments and eradicating certain diseases; we have lost sight of the benefits that plant-based treatment may have. Researchers discovered documents from the Anglo-Saxon’s that has the potential to cure the so-called superbug MRSA (Thompson, & Smith-Spark, 2015). It is interesting to note, that although we have had advancements in medications, humans are unable to cure MRSA. Yet, the recreation of the Anglo-Saxon medication was solely based on plants and fish (Thompson, & Smith-Spark, 2015).

The question remains, why have humans become reliant on pharmaceuticals instead of plant-based treatments? Sarris, McIntyre, and Camfield (2013), as well as White (2009) highlighted the potential concerns on the continued use of pharmaceuticals that include but are not limited to heart failure, liver damage, nerve damage, etc. There are countless uses for plant based treatment. However, it appears most humans take the word of his or her physician as an absolute. Never questioning if there are potential alternative approaches. According to Webster (2013), money appears to be the main driving force behind prescriptions; although, prescriptions are derived off the original plant that could have provided relieve in a less chemical induced approach.

History of Medicine

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The View of Medicine

The reality remains that although humans have evolved in many areas over a continuum. It appears humans may have forgotten the importance of resourcefulness (Social Psychology Network, n. D. ). Through explorations, experiments, trials, and errors; humans have created and learned to treat ailments with medications (National library for Medicine, 2016). As mentioned before, humans have become industrialized by relying on man-made products, especially in regards to medications.

Nonetheless, after centuries of treating ailments with plant-based medications; governing factions decided that it would be best to control what humans could or could not ingest (National library from claiming Medicine, 2016). Legislation determined that plant-based medications were not as effective as those produced in laboratories and tested in trials to calculate the effectiveness on various age groups (Preston, O'Neal, & Talaga, 2013). Even though plant-medications were the only approach in treatment for centuries. Furthermore, when viewing components of countless medications, most hold contents of the chemical compounds of plants to provide similar, if not the same effects as the plant itself (Sarris, McIntyre, & Camfield, 2013).

Should we take these pharmaceuticals? How will long-term use effect us? There are restrictions on medications made by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and some people remain skeptical on the benefits regarding man-made medications. That being said, the restriction created by the FDA, at times may seem unrealistic to herbalists or other cultures that use primarily plant-based medications to treat ailments. For example, poppy seeds provide several benefits for a person's daily life, which includes but is not limited some niacin and folate, as well as source of minerals (e.g. calcium, iron and zinc) (Bush & Deman Media, n. d.). However, when a woman is in labor and is drug screened, poppy seeds could cause a false-positive test results by indicating that the woman may have ingested opium.

The world roughly holds 7 billion humans. The united states is occupied by roughly 5% of the world's population. That being said, the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) announced that there is an alarming increase of medications being prescribed by doctors in the United states (Center for infection control and avoidance (CDC), 2016). This increase is highly alarming, when compared to the world's population. According to the CDC and information gathered by Sarich (2014), the United States takes over 50% of the pharmaceuticals produced. No other country is prescribed as many medications as the United States. What could possible influence such a high demand for medications?


Do You Really Need Medication?

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Questions and Ethical Concerns

There are symbolic meanings and definitions associated with everything and they have great varieties, according to Aksan, Kisac, Aydin, and Demirbuken (2009). However, there are questions on how the variety could potentially contribute to an individuals or group behaviors, actions or reactions? Is there a true need to rely solely on prescription medications? How can plant-based medications provide the relief that pharmaceutical companies can only provide with chemicals that are engineered? And why do physicians not want people to know or educate his or her clients about alternative approaches? There are countless question that arise for most topics. I am sure you as the reader can think of several questions as well.

There are countless reasons why people think that change needs to occur in a specific field or nationwide. The reasoning for choosing alternative medical approaches varies greatly. The primary reason for seeking change in the how medications are prescribed is the lack of communication between the doctor, patient, and his or her health insurance (Webster, 2013). Countless times have I witnessed as a professional that doctors write prescriptions easily to their clients, without regards of finding alternative solutions first before giving the prescription that may cause dependence or contribute harm to heart, liver, or kidneys (CDC, 2016; Hall & Queener, 2007).

Do you not feel as though pharmaceuticals are being pushed harder now then they were years ago? Although this statement may seem presumptuous, but nowadays every other commercial on television or throughout magazines represent a medication that could potentially make you feel better or make you be deemed more suitable for society standards (Akans et al., 2009; Social Psychology Network, n.d.). Moreover, many times clients/patients rely solely on what his or her doctor advises them of. Is it out of fear? Or because insurance companies only allow so many visits?

White (2009) pointed out that homeopathy approaches are rarely discussed or even mentioned. Even though the homeopathy approach may be the solution to the clients issue. Considering that the homeopathic or alternative approach may be the only thing the client could afford, due to lack of insurance or insurance not paying for the prescription recommended by the physician. However, this could lead to several ethical issues according to the code of ethics by the American Psychological Association.

One potential ethical issue could be viewed under Advertising and Other Public Statements: 5.01 Avoidance of False or Deceptive Statements, as not all clients will understand the need for medications or alternative medication (American Psychological Association, 2010). Another potential conflict and ethical issue could be the question of competence on the professional's understanding of medications or alternative approaches, which is defined under Competence: 2.01 Boundaries of Competence (American Psychological Association, 2010). These are just two of the potential issues that could arise for professionals.


Plant-based Equivalent Medicine Examples

Plants
Pharmaceutical or Medical Equivilant
Treatment use Examples
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Lorazapam
Anxiety
Galphimia (Galphimia glauca)
Anxiolytic
Anxiety
Kava (Piper methysticum)
SSRI and GABA
Sleep Disorders
Sage (Salvia spp.)
Anxiolytic
antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects
Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
Benzodiazepine, GABA and glutamine
anticonvulsant, relaxant and nervous system
Sarris, J., McIntyre, E., & Camfield, D. (2013). Plant-Based Medicines for Anxiety Disorders, Part 2: A Review of Clinical Studies with Supporting Preclinical Evidence. CNS Drugs, 27(4), 301-319. doi:10.1007/s40263-013-0059-9

Final Thoughts

There will be readers that completely disagree with this blog and then there will be others that completely agree. however, the overall main goal of this post is to open the eyes of the readers that there is more to the information that we are given. People just need to find the courage to speak up and find different ways to treat issues with his or her body. This writer is not stating that all medications are bad, but the overall goal of this blog was to highlight that there might be different routes in seeking treatment. These different options may be located in your backyard or grocery store.

Essentially, you as an individual has the power to discover your overall well-being. What do you need to increase or influence your well-being. Moreover, it is understanding that sometimes thinking or looking outside of one's comfort zone might actually provide relief (Cohen, 2009; Corey, 2009). Lastly, Hall & Queener, (2007) and White (2009) pointed out that doctors also have their restriction according to state laws and what the legalities are in regards to some alternative medications, before recommending such medications or alternative treatment options towards a client.

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References

References

Aksan, N., Kisac, B., Aydin, M., & Demirbuken, S. (2009). Symbolic interaction theory. Procedia, 902-904. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2009.01.160

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5) (5th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing.

American Psychological Assosciation (APA). (2010). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. Retrieved September 21, 2014, from American Psychologist Assosciation: http://apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx

Bush, S., & Demand Media. (n.d.). What Are the Benefits of Poppy Seeds? Retrieved August 01, 2016, from http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-poppy-seeds-5632.html

Castelli, L., & Carraro, L. (2011). Ideology is related to basic cognitive processes involved in attitude formation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47(5), 1013-1016. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2011.03.016

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Therapeutic drug use. Retrieved June 12, 2016, from Center for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/

Cohen, A. (2009). Many forms of culture. American Psychologist, 64(3), 194-204. doi:10.1037/a0015308

Corey, G. (2009). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Higher Education.

Hall, D. H., & Queener, J. E. (2007). Self-medication hypothesis of substance use: Testing Khantzian's updated theory. Journal of Psychoactive drugs, 39(2), 151-158. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02791072.2007.10399873

Leafly. (n.d.). What are the best cannabis strains for anxiety. Retrieved April 2016, from Leafly: https://www.leafly.com/news/strains/what-are-the-best-cannabis-strains-for-anxiety

Medical Daily. (n.d.). How marijuana relieves or exacerbates anxiety. Retrieved April 2016, from Medical Daily: http://www.medicaldaily.com/how-marijuana-relieves-or-exacerbates-anxiety-270717

Medicine Hunter. (2012). About Plant Medicines. Retrieved July 11, 2016, from http://www.medicinehunter.com/about-plant-medicines

National Library of Medicine. (2016, January 12). National Library of Medicine. Retrieved June 12, 2016, from National Library of Medicine: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/

Pohl, M., & Smith, L. (2012). Chronic pain and addiction: Challenging co-occurring disorders. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 44(2), 119-124. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02791072.2012.674621

Preston, J., O'Neal, J., & Talaga, M. C. (2013). Handbook of clinical psychopharmacology for therapists (7th ed.). Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.

Sarich, C. (2014, April 20). Only 5% of the World Population, U.S. Takes 50% of Big Pharma Drugs. Retrieved June 11, 2016, from Natural Society: http://naturalsociety.com/composing-5-percent-world-population-americans-take-50-percent-pharmaceutical-drugs/

Sarris, J., McIntyre, E., & Camfield, D. A. (2013). Plant-based medicines for anxiety disorder, part 2: A review of clinical studies with supporting preclinical evidence. CNS Drugs, 27(1), 301-319. doi:10.1007/s40263-013-0059-9

Sue, D. W. (2004). Whiteness and ethnocentric, monoculturalism: Making the 'invisible' visible. The American Psychologist, 59(8), 761-769. doi:10.1037/0003-006X.59.8.761

Thompson, N., & Smith-Spark, L. (2015, March 31). Medieval Anglo-Saxon recipe may kill MRSA superbug. Retrieved July 11, 2016, from http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/31/health/anglo-saxon-potion-mrsa/

Webster, L. R. (2013). Pills, polices, and predicaments: The unintended consequences of a health care system's policy towards opioids. Pain Medicine, 1439-1440. doi:10.1111/pme.12271

White, K. P. (2009). What psychologists should know about homeopathy, nutrition, and botanical medicine. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 40(6), 633-640. doi:10.1037/a0016051

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