When you get sick, you go to the doctor. And the doctor will, of course, prescribe medicines. You will go and buy medicines. You take them, and hopefully, you get well. This is how the health profession goes on nowadays – a cycle of diagnosis and prescription.
If anyone were to give you herbs for medicine, you would probably say that that person was a quack. But nowadays, studies are being conducted to see if there really is any merit to what is called natural medicine.
Natural medicine is the use of natural methods, herbal medicines, and traditional practices to heal ailments. Every culture has a form of natural medicine. In ancient cultures, village medicine men served as the doctors of the community, passing on medical knowledge to the apprentices that followed them. Many categories of the healing methods fall under natural medicine. Among these are traditional medicine, complementary medicine, and alternative medicine. Usually, natural medicine refers to medical practices that were in place before the advent of modern medicine. This includes herbal medicine, or phytotherapy, which is prevalent in Chinese, Ayurvedic (or Indian), and Greek medicine.
Upon the advent of modern medicine, many professionals discarded the use of herbs in favor of man-made medicine. The fact that these treatments are based on the healing properties of some herbs was forgotten. For example, opium, digitalis, quinine, and aspirin all have their roots in traditional medicine. Natural medicine can be considered as a lost art. This does not mean that it has lost efficacy over time. In some cases, natural therapy is better than modern medicine. This leads some doctors to seriously consider and study the possible uses of natural medicine. Before we continue, it is important to stress that not all the natural remedies are legitimate. It would help to only try those remedies which have been thoroughly studied and are relatively risk free. Take herbal medicine for example. There are many well-documented and studied herbal remedies available. However, only those that deal with minor ailments such as cough, colds, fever, skin rashes, and its ilk are likely to be recommended by health professionals. These remedies are sometimes superior to synthetic medicine. This is because herbal medicines are less likely to cause negative side effects. Currently there are numerous organizations that study the effects and advocacy of natural medicine – among which is herbal medicine. Some governments and health agencies openly advocate the use of natural methods since they are inexpensive and relatively risk-free. As their studies compile, more herbs and treatments are added to the list of accepted medicines. However, many herbs and treatments have been proven to be bogus medicine. This represents a challenge for both the user and the agencies because they must ascertain that the treatments they either use or advocate are legitimate. There exist today many alternative medical treatments that fall under natural medicine. However, not all of them have been proven to be effective. You could mention homeopathy, aromatherapy, acupuncture, and other alternative medical treatments. It would pay to consult the experts as to the legitimacy of these treatments.
Natural medicine should also be thought of as an accompanying medicine. Right now, the current collective medical thought suggests that natural medicine be used only to supplement accepted modern medical practices. In that case of minor ailments your expert will advise you to take natural therapies instead. The practice of modern medicine revolves around diagnosing an illness and prescribing treatments for such. Natural medicine is helpful because it suggests that treatment be not necessarily given only when sick. Natural medicine strives to make each patient practice good health habits. These habits include good diet, healthy living, and the regular natural treatment. It is this same line of thought that leads our parents to tell us to eat our vegetables. Yes, a healthy lifestyle and will do no harm to our well-being. And this is the foundation of natural medicine – may it be massage, herbal medicine, aromatherapy or others.
It is funny but true that science, in its quest for excellence, is studying the knowledge of sage’s past. This, surprisingly, leads us back to the remedies nature offers. The possibilities of finding remedies to everyday illnesses in natural medicine are encouraging. So, staying tuned to studying these remedies is worthwhile until we can verify that these therapies are truly helpful to our health and our society.