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Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine – A Review

Updated on September 3, 2013

There is a growing dissatisfaction among many people when it comes to modern medicine. Many are looking for an alternative to the sometimes dangerous ‘side-effects’ and high cost of prescription drugs.

Natural medicine, and natural alternative treatments are gaining wider acceptance now that the efficacy of naturopathy and vitamin supplements are scientifically well established.

The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Michael Murray, N.D & Joseph Pizzorno, N.D. – Three Rivers Press) is an outstanding work. While it is occasionally technical, don't let that put you off..it is still eminently readable and very interesting. You'll learn just what natural medicine is, and how you can safely and effectively take back control of your own health and wellness.

After reading this book, you’ll likely swear off prescription drugs forever, unless it’s an emergency. If you follow the natural diet, vitamin, and exercise recommendations, you’ll be well on your way to not needing them anyway.

Photo by Luke Hansen, via stock.xchng
Photo by Luke Hansen, via stock.xchng

So…just what is natural medicine?

Natural medicine is the practice of utilising naturally occuring substances, as part of a diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, etc., to enable your body to maintain a correct chemical balance, and promote a natural, excellent state of health.

Natural medicine is based on 7 basic principles:

  1. First, do no harm
  2. Nature has healing powers
  3. Identify and treat the cause
  4. Treat the whole person
  5. The physician is a teacher
  6. Prevention is the best cure
  7. Establish health and wellness

Natural medicine is obviously aimed at treating the underlying causes of health problems, and addressing associated exterrnal issues that may have some bearing on your health and wellness.

Photo by Zsuzsanna Kilian, via stock.xchng
Photo by Zsuzsanna Kilian, via stock.xchng

Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine - Part One:

The Four Cornerstones of Good Health:

A positive mental attitude is particularly interesting, as it addresses, at length, the mental / emotional connection to your health. It presents a questionaire to establish whether you are a pessimist or an optimist, and offers a number of useful ways of becoming more optimistic and relaxed in your attitude towards life around you. If you’re interested in mental health, this is an excellent read.

A healthy lifestyle shows how exercise is so vitally important, not just for the obvious physical reasons, but how it affects your mental well-being. In fact, regular exercise can relieve stress and moderate depression, and a number of other physical and mental problems. This section also presents some interesting information on the importance of adequate sleep and dreaming.

A health-promoting diet includes recommendations that are not substantially different than those espoused by most dieticians and nutrition counsellors, such as:

  • eating primarily plant-based whole foods
  • a much higher intake of fibre
  • reducing consumption of meats and animal fats
  • minimizing your consumption of salt and sugar
  • drinking more water.

However, in addition, this section includes some important information about food additives and preservatives, and how they are the source of many food allergies. Environmental pollution and pesticides are also implicated in many health issues.

Also, The Healthy Exchange System is introduced to enable you to easily choose among a number of common foods and food groups to establish a natural, balanced diet to meet your caloric needs, depending on your size, weight and lifestyle.

Supplementary measures is about enhancing your health with vitamins such as C, A, E, and zinc. You may need more of these essential vitamins, even though you follow the dietary recommendations. The anti-oxidant properties of these vitamins actually enhance your immune system’s efficiency at dealing with environmental toxins and metabolic imbalances.

Proper breathing, posture and bodywork (physical therapy) is also covered in detail.

Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine - Part Two:

Enhancing Key Body Systems:

  • Heart and Cardiovascular Health is an obviously important subject and is discussed at great length here, although it is sometimes a difficult, technical read. The main takeaway is: lowering your cholesterol by cutting way back on meats and animal fats and eliminating junk food, stop smoking, stop worrying, and doing more exercise.
  • Detoxification describes how the liver, assisted by other body chemicals, filters the toxins we come in contact with, either as environmental pollutants, food additives, anti-biotics and prescription drugs, or bacteria produced by digestive processes. But they need your help to work efficiently. This is where a natural diet, a healthy lifestyle and essential vitamins can make the biggest difference.
  • Digestion and Elimination One of the most important functions of the human body, for sure. Problems such as indigestion, heartburn, bloating, constipation are discussed in much detail, although here again the text gets a little technical, but is still very interesting and informative. Consider this essential reading.
  • Immune Support suggests many ways to enhance your immune systems. Mostly by reducing stress, sugar intake, and alcohol consumption, maintaining a normal weight, and supplementing your diet with vitamins such as A, C, E, iron, zinc and selenium. A daily dose of flax seed oil is also recommended.
  • Longevity and Life Extension is an interesting, though not essential read. It discusses some things you can do to maintain health and wellness into your later years. It also discusses many myths about extending your life.
  • Stress Management gives you many useful techniques to deal with stress. Since stress response is a very individual thing, you’ll have to decide what methods are likely to work best for you. You should really pay appropriate attention to stress. It has so many far-reaching effects on your health, it’s well worth your time to read this section and implement the suggestions.

Photo by Claudia Meyer, sxc, Paris
Photo by Claudia Meyer, sxc, Paris

Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine - Part 3: Specific Health Problems

This part takes up the bulk of the book, and it covers in detail, natural solutions to common problems from Acne to Varicose Veins. Other ailments covered include:

  • Athsma & Hay Fever
  • Candidiasis
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Depression
  • Ear Infection
  • Food Allergies
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Impotence
  • Menopause
  • Migraine Headache
  • Osteoarthritis
  • PMS
  • Psoriasis

Just to name a few of the 75 topics.

All of these chapters are very interesting, but none more so than the osteoarthritis chapter. There’s an exceptional study showing how glucosamine sulfate (a natural substance) dramatically improves or even reverses the breakdown of cartilage, the spongy substance that cushions the joints from stresses and strains. This is also the main cause of the associated pain.

This is in dramatic contrast to the usual pharmaceuticals (aspirin, ibuprofen, Feldene, etc.), which, in spite of relieving the outward symptoms, appear to hasten the further destruction of the cartilage, and impair your immune system’s attempts to heal the underlying problems associated with osteoarthritis.

Throughout the book, there are many more such studies, proving over and over again how nature knows best, and that your body is uniquely designed to repair itself, given half a chance. It’s up to you to give it every opportunity.

Here’s to your natural health…

The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine is a must have reference source.


This article ©2010 by timorous+

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    • timorous profile image
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      timorous 6 years ago from Me to You

      Hey, thanks katrinasui. Yes..I've used many of these natural remedies, and yes, they do work...just not as quickly as the pharmaceutical products. But at least they're completely safe. It's a great, informative book as well.

    • katrinasui profile image

      katrinasui 6 years ago

      Very well researched and informative hub. I always prefer natural remedies to medicine. Great hub Timorous.

    • timorous profile image
      Author

      timorous 6 years ago from Me to You

      Thanks for the compliments reversecharles. Now go and read the book! :)

      Hello sofs, my dear. Natural health of course is profoundly old-fangled. It's something you were born with, but most people seem to move away from, since quick foods and snacks are so readily available. Thanks for the vote too. I will endeavour to write more. I have a few ideas on the back burner, waiting for the right inspiration.

    • sofs profile image

      sofs 6 years ago

      Hi Timorus, your words would have sounded like a new fangled idea to me if I had not gone through what I did and learnt my lessons the hard way. The wisdom of the ages.. that is the phrase that comes to me..Please write more Timorus, you will help change lives. God bless you Timorous, voted it awesome!

    • reversecharles profile image

      reversecharles 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Thanks for a great review!

    • timorous profile image
      Author

      timorous 7 years ago from Me to You

      Hey Cagsil. Thanks for the promo..much appreciated. I thought this hub was getting stale, no one's read it in quite a while.

      You're quite right..the Pharma companies have their bottom line at stake, and they've tried all kinds of smoke and mirrors to fool the public into thinking the vitamins and minerals aren't safe. [shakes head in disbelief]

      Hi suziecat7. Yeah, it's a fascinating book (though large). Just take it in small doses and you'll learn a lot. Btw, you could click on the Amazon ad if you like, but hey..it's not like I'm being greedy...I don't make much from Amazon. Your choice...

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 7 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Great review - I'll have to buy the book - thanks.

    • Cagsil profile image

      Cagsil 7 years ago from USA or America

      Hey Timorous, I used to work for a company called General Nutrition Centers, and sold all sorts of a vitamins and supplements. I learned about a lot of different things that I believe the Pharma companies would rather people did not know about. It's very important for people to realize that the stuff created in a lab isn't all good. It's also important to find the correct amounts of vitamins and nutrients the body requires to sustain itself. The body makes a lot on it's own, but it's only the basic minimum required for living and not really enough to improve health. You have a great hub here and more people should realize it. I have shared with FaceBook and my entire follower base. I hope more people come to read it. Thank you for sharing. :)

    • timorous profile image
      Author

      timorous 7 years ago from Me to You

      Thanks D.A.L. Yes, it's a really good book, and fairly easy to read. Just don't let the 800 pages intimidate. Thanks for dropping by.

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 7 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      timorous, well done your informative hub should bring awareness to alter our diets to more natural and healthy food. There is plenty out there to choose from. Thank you.

    • timorous profile image
      Author

      timorous 7 years ago from Me to You

      Well Hey 2U 2. I can hardly keep up with you Kimberly.

      I'd be happy to help you move towards a better diet. I'm sure Chris would be just as happy to help you along.

      It's not rocket science, it just takes a while to wean yourself off the crap, and have a more consistent, but relaxed approach to your diet. The biggest stumbling block is realization, and actually wanting to move in a better direction.

      xo

      Tim

    • profile image

      kimberlyslyrics 7 years ago

      Just here again to say

      Hey

    • profile image

      kimberlyslyrics 7 years ago

      oh my Tim Tim

      another area that is a completely a different language to me. So here too I shall start to learn some remedies. Natural ones. God knows I need as much medical help as possible and in all this time have never once tried a natural path.

      Seems silly now. OK gotta go read again. Thanks for opening up my eyes. Another great hub!!!

      Kimberly xo

    • timorous profile image
      Author

      timorous 7 years ago from Me to You

      Hey thanks prasetio30, glad you enjoyed it. Thanks also for becoming a fan. I'll be trying out a couple of different hub topics next. Stay tuned.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      this is good Encyclopedia of natural medicine. good work. thank you very much.

    • timorous profile image
      Author

      timorous 7 years ago from Me to You

      Thanks so much for your critique, sord87.

      I hope to have another hub ready this week on a completely different subject.

    • profile image

      sord87 7 years ago

      This is a very good and well formed review,keep it up!

    • timorous profile image
      Author

      timorous 7 years ago from Me to You

      Hello Maita. Thanks for reading the review. Pass it on.

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

      Hi timorous, prevention is the best cure I agree with this one. Your hub is expensive and this is a very copmprehensive review with good insights, Maita

    • timorous profile image
      Author

      timorous 7 years ago from Me to You

      Hi Cathi;

      Thanks for your comments.

      It's a big book, but don't let that stop you. It's very interesting and informative. I could suggest clicking on the Amazon link in the article, but that would be greedy of me, since I stand to profit ever so slightly. Heheh..

      Thanks also for becoming a follower.

    • Cathi Sutton profile image

      Cathi Sutton 7 years ago

      Very well written! I personally use many natural remedies, plus vitamins, and give them to my kids. I will have to look for this book now to continue learning. Thanks!

    • timorous profile image
      Author

      timorous 7 years ago from Me to You

      Thanks Ann Nonymous;

      I'm still waiting for Amazon to approve the affiliate thing. There'll soon be a link to buy the book in question (and a few related books, I suspect).

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 7 years ago from Virginia

      Sounds like an intersting read! Thanks for your review and great hub, timorous!