Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine – A Review
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.
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:
- First, do no harm
- Nature has healing powers
- Identify and treat the cause
- Treat the whole person
- The physician is a teacher
- Prevention is the best cure
- 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.
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.
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
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Ear Infection
- Food Allergies
- Migraine Headache
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+