Natural medicines made from herbs and plants have been around since the dawn of mankind. The advent of modern medicine has made natural healing less common. However, in recent decades, the interest in natural medicine has been revived. Bear in mind, it is important to work with your physician when you take natural medicines to avoid dangerous complications.
Finding a Physician Who Is Knowledgeable in Natural Medicine
Patients who are interested in natural medicine should find a general practitioner or family physician who is skilled with the type of natural medicine you are interested in. For example, those interested in traditional Chinese remedies should find a physician who knows enough about the remedies to be able to work with them in conjunction with their Western style of medicine. The physician does not necessarily need to practice the form of medicine, but they must understand its principles well enough to avoid prescribing a medication that will interact with your herbal medicines.
Finding a Natural Healer
Although there are many highly skilled, experienced natural healers, keep in mind that anyone can claim to be a natural healer. Very few natural forms of medicine are regulated by any sort of accrediting body or governed by a state licensing agency, which means that there are unscrupulous people claiming to be able to heal when in fact they cannot. Ask the healers detailed questions about where they received their training. Beware of those without medical training who claim to be self-taught. Their training may not be adequate to provide any helpful advice in the form of natural medicine that they claim to practice, and even worse, they may inadvertently cause harm through their lack of knowledge. Look for a healer that has completed an educational path or who has apprenticed with another healer. Then, ask for references.
Purchasing Natural Remedies
Most natural remedies, or the ingredients to make natural or herbal medicines, can be purchased at a natural foods store. However, it is important to ask the healer detailed questions before you make any purchases. Some herbs are made in several forms and strengths, and one form or strength may be less effective or even have a different effect than another. Even worse, because natural remedies are medications, patients can accidentally overdose on them. Before you make your purchase, read labels. Make sure that the remedy is the form and strength that you need. Do not substitute without consulting your natural healer.
When to Consult a Physician
The physician should always be consulted before beginning any natural medicine regimen. Always tell your physician about any natural remedies you are taking, and always tell your natural healer about any medicines you are taking. Natural remedies and medications can cause dangerous drug interactions that can cause serious health problems or even fatalities. Even supplements that sound harmless can have dangerous side effects or may render other medicines useless, or even worse, ramp up their effectiveness, causing an overdose.
Finding Out More about Natural Medicine
The best place to find out more about natural medicine is from someone who has had extensive training in the practice. However, the local library and some university or organization-run websites may also be credible sources of information about the natural medical tradition. However, patients should not put themselves on any natural supplement or medicine without consulting a physician and a natural healer, if one is available.
Natural Medicine and Traditional Medicine
Many people feel that they must choose between natural and clinical medicine. This is not the case. When used judiciously and safely, natural medicine may be a safe addition to, or even an alternative to, clinical medicines. In fact, in many cases, natural remedies may be even safer than their clinical counterparts.