We need to take care with herbs and natural remedies.
Reading through various hubs I have noticed, from several comments, recently, that some readers are a little confused about the use and validity of natural remedies.
It is incumbent on each of us not to blindly follow suggested cures or remedies without question or thought, you would not do this in everyday life and there is certainly no reason to do it when it comes to your, or others, health – however re-assuring the advice sounds.
Over many centuries apothecaries, herbalists and pharmaceutical chemists have investigated many remedies, including those that have grown up based on old wives tales and ancient writings. Some were discounted at the time either because they weren’t understood or the active ingredients could not be identified.
I have been involved in both pharmaceutical medicine and natural remedies, including herbs, oils, vitamins and minerals for a very long time now and I far from know everything. Over time I have amassed information on hundreds of natural remedies ranging from those used in ancient civilisations through native products up to modern discoveries of herbs etc. that are leading the way to new more effective cures. However, I have a golden rule insofar that I don’t recommend anything unless I have accredited clinical trials information. If I do mention some uncorroborated remedy then it is with the proviso that it is for information only and requires further investigation and discussion with your doctor or specialist.
Any of us that give guidance or information concerning natural remedies will not have details of the person’s full medical history and even with an accurate diagnosis of the problem you will not know of any other factors in health or lifestyle.
When we are ill we, quite rightly, go to the doctor who will have your full medical history in front of him/her and can ask pertinent questions face to face. Natural remedies come into play when modern medicine cannot offer an acceptable solution or you may just wish to use nature to help you. Don’t be fooled into thinking nature is good and conventional is bad – they both have their place.
I would always advise that the patient talks to their doctor about any natural remedy they want to try in case it will clash with any existing pharmaceutical medication or condition they may be suffering.
We all know the modern world of drugs has its basis in extracts of herbs, flowers, roots, plants and oils. What is not widely appreciated is that these drugs are selective of the perceived active ingredient which is then synthesised. Often the natural buffers present in the original herb etc. are ignored and yet another drug has to be synthesised to counteract the side effects of the first. Modern science is at last starting to look at the whole herb etc. and only removing the adverse part, if one exists.
In my early pharmaceutical days with a large drug company we had a department that specialised in investigating folk medicine and “old wives tales” to see if there was any truth in them. It was really quite illuminating and required a certain amount of lateral thinking. Just as an illustration we looked at an ancient Middle Eastern cure for mumps which entailed taking the patient to pat a donkey. How can this possibly bring about a cure ? Seems impossible yet we knew it worked more often than not. Eventually we borrowed a donkey and a child and using high speed photography filmed the child patting it. What we could see was dust rising from the animals hide and being inhaled by the child. Well to cut a long story short the dust from the hide contained a powerful natural anti-viral which we could synthesise into a workable product.
Another which we never did crack and this was true of many North American Indian cures, was to stop deep inner ear pain. The basis of the cure itself was quite simple and involved the medicine man, who secures the help of the spirit world, including the Great Spirit (Wakan Tanka in the language of the Lakota Sioux), for the benefit of the entire community. He just lit a pipe, burning an unknown substance, and blew the smoke into the ear accompanied by suitable chants. We tried looking at different tobacco types from the area plus other known herbs. We drew blanks with all of these and decided that perhaps the cure was in the breath of the medicine man. They were well known for chewing various herbs but quite honestly the combinations were forbidding. As I said this passed us by or was it Wakan Tanka ??
It was a fascinating period and many cures came from the investigations over the years.
Both ethical pharmaceutical and natural medicine have a place in modern society and are equally powerful. Most doctors are happy to work in conjunction with natural medicines so don’t be reluctant to talk to them about it. However if they are dismissive or extremely anti then perhaps you should be thinking of changing to someone more open minded.
All people such as myself can do is to make you aware of the existence of the natural remedy and it’s known pro’s and con’s, your contribution is to determine if such a remedy fits your medical condition and to do that sometimes requires a face to face consultation with a bona-fide practitioner.
Have you used natural remedies such as oils, herbs and flowers ?
© 2012 Peter Geekie