Alternative Medicine Vs. Conventional
Alternative medicine can be loosely defined as any method or practice claiming to heal medical problems not treated by conventional medicine. With today’s continuously rising high cost of healthcare and recently discovered adverse effects of some conventional medicine, it’s no wonder people are seeking alternatives. Alternative medicine is fulfilling that need.
In fact, enterprising individuals are attending schools and opening businesses in what most had considered a new career field. Courses offered at various alternative medicine schools include:
· Gem Therapy
· Herbal Medicines
· Holistic health Herbal studies
· Natural health
· Electro Homoeopathy
· Bach Flower Remedies
· Psychological Counseling
· Bioenergetics and many more.
Students quickly learn alternative medicine is nothing new and predates written human history. As far as it can be determined, there were no drug stores or licensed physicians in the Garden of Eden. Most schools offer diploma, bachelor and post graduate programs on alternative medicines.
Alternative medicine is frequently used in conjunction with complementary medicine or integrative medicine, usually referring to mainstream techniques. Together they are known as (CAM). However, critics argue both terms are deceptive by giving an impression of conventional medical backing.
In 2004, a study indicated nearly 30% of adults had used a herbal remedy or alternative medicine. More recently that figure has increased exponentially. Interestingly, many common prescription and over the counter medications used today contain naturally occurring substances. For instance, opium from poppy plants, aspirin from the bark of willow trees and Quinine made from cinchona trees.
But, it’s not necessary to attend a school to learn basic herbs and spices people are using. Ten of the most familiar herbs used in the United States for common ailments are:
· Milk Thistle - Believed to rejuvenate liver cells damaged by jaundice and cirrhosis of the liver, have anti-inflammatory properties and treat the gallbladder.
· Peppermint - Improves digestion and helps alleviate gas calm anxiety, treat headaches and nausea. Peppermint oil is also used on skin irritations and found in some chest rubs to treat chest colds.
· Ginger - Soothes upset stomachs and digestive problems.
· Ginkgo Biloba - Believed to aid brain function by improving circulation and treating mild short term memory loss. Also considered to be an antioxidant and being tested for treatment of Alzheimer's and dementia patients.
· Chamomile - Thought to have anti-inflammatory properties and used as a mild sedative, usually as a tea. May also calm abdominal pains.
· Garlic - Used for treating everything from acne to high cholesterol. It is known to fight bacteria, free radicals and boost the immune system.
· Echinacea - Believed to boost autoimmune response and often taken at the onset of a cold or sore throat. Many take it as a supplement during cold and flu season.
· Ginseng – Also thought to boost the autoimmune system and used with Ginkgo Biloba to improve brain function.
· Goldenseal - Believed to fight bacteria and parasites. Used in tea or pill form, thought to be effective in fighting colds, respiratory infections, and sinusitis. It has also been used to treat skin ailments, sore gums, throats, gonorrhea and other vaginal infections. Not recommended for extended periods of time as it may cause nausea and vomiting and can interfere with other medications.
· Valerian Root - Used as a mild natural tranquilizer. Valerian is commonly found in teas or pill form.
However, it is important before switching to any herbal remedy or combining herbs with medication to check with a doctor or pharmacist for any known drug interactions.