Herbal Remedies vs. Modern Medicine

herbal remedies vs. modern medicine

This topic is widely discussed and somewhat controversial.

Many people have a different opinion about herbal remedies vs. modern medicine and what the best course of action is. Everything from going all natural, somewhere in between or using strictly modern medicines.

In this article, I will present facts along with personal stories and in the end, you can make your own mind up as a reader of what you believe.

This is not to push you one direction or another, it’s merely a way to explain the holistic point of view and compare health benefits.

I love natural approaches to health and learning the benefits your body gets from using plants, fruits, spices, and vegetables.  For thousands of years, families used and knew the benefits of herbal remedies and simple tinctures which nature provided.

They knew about them by experimenting and using what was all around them. I read an article once that described how nature grew the type of plant where it might be needed. For instance, an herb that helps will broken bones and bruising is found on hillsides where one might fall and have such an injury as a broken bone.

If you research this, it is amazingly true for a large number of your herbs that grow in the wild. Ever heard of willow bark tea? It is the original form of aspirin which I have personally made and used by peeling the willow bark off my tree and making a poultice.

These are just two examples of how our creator is a mastermind and knew we would need medicine, so provided it. Not only did He provide it, but He placed the plants where we would need it. In a way, it was a kind of idiot proof way of helping mankind first find out how to use plants as herbal remedies/medicine.

 herbal remedies vs. modern medicineAlthough original medicine came from plants, and other natural origins, we took shortcuts and added fillers and synthesized the natural compounds to keep up with the quantity of medicine that was needed.  I feel that’s when we also got rid of the quality.

Today, so many medications are given without the doctor knowing what’s wrong. Steroids are a perfect example. They try something which then produces side effects upon side effects, changing your bodies chemistry and that something might not even be what you need.

I have personally experienced this when my son had a problem breathing. After taking him to the doctor they prescribed for him a steroid inhaler. I specifically asked if this would help and the reply was, “I’m not sure but let’s give it a try.” That answer did not leave me feeling confident or comfortable.

Because I was not going to give my son something that MIGHT help him but might also make the problem worse because of the side effects of the medicine, I decided to take a different approach.

Side effects are not something a person should overlook. Changing your bodies chemistry is a big deal and not something you should ignore.

To finish the story about my son, I ended up using an oil diffuser when he was having a hard time breathing. This worked extremely well, and I was so thankful I could help him naturally and not give him steroids every day.

Now, you may think I’m not a fan of modern medicine, but that’s not exactly true.  I know some modern medicines have had great effects on healing people. Outbreaks of diseases are one.

treating each patientTreating each individual patient and their health should be the goal of every doctor, whether they are practicing modern medicine or are a holistic doctor. A lot of medications prescribed would not be needed if this was more of the standard.

Doctors are busy and only allow so much time to see a patient. This has caused prescriptions to be given without the proper amount of time to decide what is actually wrong. Not all cases are this way but there are a lot.

Another thing our health care system could improve upon is telling and giving people information about nutrition and natural ways they can change their health before a prescription is prescribed.

A prescription can cost a large amount of money which might not even be necessary. Food, diet, and exercise can help an enormous amount of health issues without ever having to pop a pill. Here is a piece from, Joslin Diabetes Center, answering the question;

diabetes“Can I Treat Diabetes Without Drugs?”

“If you have type 2 diabetes. Many people can keep their blood glucose in a healthy range without medications (either oral diabetes medications or insulin injections). That is if they lose weight and keep their weight down, are regularly physically active, and follow a meal plan that helps them keep portion sizes under control and helps them spread the amount of carbohydrate they eat at each meal throughout the day.”

Here is another piece that was written by, Mayo Clinic, describing how you can lower high blood pressure without taking medication.

watching your weight10 ways to control high blood pressure without medication

“If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you might be worried about taking medication to bring your numbers down.

Lifestyle plays an important role in treating your high blood pressure. If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you might avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication.

Here are 10 lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure and keep it down.

1. Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline

Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Being overweight also can cause disrupted breathing while you sleep (sleep apnea), which further raises your blood pressure.

Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes for controlling blood pressure. Losing even a small amount of weight if you’re overweight or obese can help reduce your blood pressure. In general, you may reduce your blood pressure by about 1 millimeter of mercury (mm Hg) with each kilogram (about 2.2 pounds) of weight you lose.

Besides shedding pounds, you generally should also keep an eye on your waistline. Carrying too much weight around your waist can put you at greater risk of high blood pressure.

In general:

  • Men are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches (102 centimeters).
  • Women are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches (89 centimeters).

These numbers vary among ethnic groups. Ask your doctor about a healthy waist measurement for you.

walk for health2. Exercise regularly

Regular physical activity — such as 150 minutes a week, or about 30 minutes most days of the week — can lower your blood pressure by about 5 to 8 mm Hg if you have high blood pressure. It’s important to be consistent because if you stop exercising, your blood pressure can rise again.

If you have elevated blood pressure, exercise can help you avoid developing hypertension. If you already have hypertension, a regular physical activity can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels.

Some examples of aerobic exercise you may try to lower blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing. You can also try high-intensity interval training, which involves alternating short bursts of intense activity with subsequent recovery periods of lighter activity. Strength training also can help reduce blood pressure. Aim to include strength training exercises at least two days a week. Talk to your doctor about developing an exercise program.

eating healthy can reduce high blood pressure3. Eat a healthy diet

Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure by up to 11 mm Hg if you have high blood pressure. This eating plan is known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.

It isn’t easy to change your eating habits, but with these tips, you can adopt a healthy diet:

  • Keep a food diary. Writing down what you eat, even for just a week, can shed surprising light on your true eating habits. Monitor what you eat, how much, when and why.
  • Consider boosting potassium. Potassium can lessen the effects of sodium on blood pressure. The best source of potassium is food, such as fruits and vegetables, rather than supplements. Talk to your doctor about the potassium level that’s best for you.
  • Be a smart shopper. Read food labels when you shop and stick to your healthy-eating plan when you’re dining out, too.

4. Reduce sodium in your diet

Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet can improve your heart health and reduce blood pressure by about 5 to 6 mm Hg if you have high blood pressure.

The effect of sodium intake on blood pressure varies among groups of people. In general, limit sodium to 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day or less. However, a lower sodium intake — 1,500 mg a day or less — is ideal for most adults.

To decrease sodium in your diet, consider these tips:

  • Read food labels. If possible, choose low-sodium alternatives to the foods and beverages you normally buy.
  • Eat fewer processed foods. Only a small amount of sodium occurs naturally in foods. Most sodium is added during processing.
  • Don’t add salt. Just 1 level teaspoon of salt has 2,300 mg of sodium. Use herbs or spices to add flavor to your food.
  • Ease into it. If you don’t feel you can drastically reduce the sodium in your diet suddenly, cut back gradually. Your palate will adjust over time.

limit drinking to one glass a day5. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink

Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. By drinking alcohol only in moderation — generally one drink a day for women, or two a day for men — you can potentially lower your blood pressure by about 4 mm Hg. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.

But that protective effect is lost if you drink too much alcohol.

Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can actually raise blood pressure by several points. It can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.

6. Quit smoking

Each cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure for many minutes after you finish. Stopping smoking helps your blood pressure return to normal. Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your overall health. People who quit smoking may live longer than people who never quit smoking.

7. Cut back on caffeine

The role caffeine plays in blood pressure is still debated. Caffeine can raise blood pressure up to 10 mm Hg in people who rarely consume it. But people who drink coffee regularly may experience little or no effect on their blood pressure.

Although the long-term effects of caffeine on blood pressure aren’t clear, it’s possible blood pressure may slightly increase.

To see if caffeine raises your blood pressure, check your pressure within 30 minutes of drinking a caffeinated beverage. If your blood pressure increases by 5 to 10 mm Hg, you may be sensitive to the blood pressure raising effects of caffeine. Talk to your doctor about the effects of caffeine on your blood pressure.

reducing stress in your life8. Reduce your stress

Chronic stress may contribute to high blood pressure. More research is needed to determine the effects of chronic stress on blood pressure. Occasional stress also can contribute to high blood pressure if you react to stress by eating unhealthy food, drinking alcohol or smoking.

Take some time to think about what causes you to feel stressed, such as work, family, finances or illness. Once you know what’s causing your stress, consider how you can eliminate or reduce stress.

If you can’t eliminate all of your stressors, you can at least cope with them in a healthier way. Try to:

  • Change your expectations. For example, plan your day and focus on your priorities. Avoid trying to do too much and learn to say no. Understand there are some things you can’t change or control, but you can focus on how you react to them.
  • Focus on issues you can control and make plans to solve them. If you are having an issue at work, try talking to your manager. If you are having a conflict with your kids or spouse, take steps to resolve it.
  • Avoid stress triggers. Try to avoid triggers when you can. For example, if rush-hour traffic on the way to work causes stress, try leaving earlier in the morning, or take public transportation. Avoid people who cause you stress if possible.
  • Make time to relax and to do activities you enjoy. Take time each day to sit quietly and breathe deeply. Make time for enjoyable activities or hobbies in your schedule, such as taking a walk, cooking or volunteering.
  • Practice gratitude. Expressing gratitude to others can help reduce your stress.

blood pressure9. Monitor your blood pressure at home and see your doctor regularly

Home monitoring can help you keep tabs on your blood pressure, make certain your lifestyle changes are working, and alert you and your doctor to potential health complications. Blood pressure monitors are available widely and without a prescription. Talk to your doctor about home monitoring before you get started.

Regular visits with your doctor are also key to controlling your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is well-controlled, check with your doctor about how often you need to check it. Your doctor may suggest checking it daily or less often. If you’re making any changes in your medications or other treatments, your doctor may recommend you check your blood pressure starting two weeks after treatment changes and a week before your next appointment.

10. Get support

Supportive family and friends can help improve your health. They may encourage you to take care of yourself, drive you to the doctor’s office or embark on an exercise program with you to keep your blood pressure low.

If you find you need support beyond your family and friends, consider joining a support group. This may put you in touch with people who can give you an emotional or morale boost and who can offer practical tips to cope with your condition.”

garlic infused oil to cure an earacheThese were two examples by clinics. Now here are a few of my personal examples on how to treat a condition without medication:

  1. I use garlic instead of antibiotics to cure earaches and infections. Garlic is also used as an anti-inflammatory. You don’t get the side effects of antibiotics eating your good intestinal bugs or the harsh chemicals found in your anti-inflammatory creams and pills.
  2. For a cancer preventer and to treat colds and detox the body I use turmeric.
  3. To treat fungus, use tea tree oil.
  4. Instead of harsh acne medications use apple cider vinegar and a turmeric mask.
  5. For heartburn, I use apple cider vinegar instead of an antacid. It works within minutes.

Now if a person has consistently tried herbal type remedies through poultices, food diet or by way of exercise and their symptoms do not go away or become worse, then that’s where modern medicine would come into play. Not the other way around.

I know multiple people and families, including my own, that rarely go into the doctor’s office. Not because we are against doctors but because we use herbal remedies vs. modern medicine to cure the majority of our family’s illnesses. Why dump medication into your body when you can cure it naturally? To me, that’s not a question but more of a statement.

I’m happy to say there is a movement of the people who want to get back to a more natural and healthy approach to life and medicines.  This is amazing to see and to hear testimonies about how well they are working.

We have people suffering and dying from auto-immune disorders across the country.  With so many people being affected it leads me to believe it’s from our water or food supply.  Processed foods are a killer, literary, but people get lazy or run out of time.

We have gotten away from home-made meals and growing a garden to buying everything from the stores which have a lot of chemicals and unhealthy ingredients. Soy, aspartame, and high fructose corn syrup are a few.

family working in a gardenHurry up or get left behind is the motto these days but hurry up and health doesn’t fit well in the same sentence.  Sometimes you must decide what’s more important.

“You are what you eat,” “You are how you live.”  These quotes are so true.  Your body will eventually reflect the time and strain you put in and on it.”  Do I get a prescription or try changing my diet using natural approaches first?  Everything comes down to a decision and no one can make it but you.

I want you to understand these are my opinions alone.  Does eating healthy mean you’ll never get sick?  No, but if your body is healthy from the beginning it will have a fighting chance.  What would it hurt for you to try a natural approach first?  Even if you have cancer as my sister and I have had, there is always a choice.  My sister would have died without modern medicine and I was able to use a natural approach. You need to do what you feel is best in the end.

This article was to inform you of the difference between herbal remedies vs. modern medicine and that there is a natural approach to health which I encourage you to become more educated about. Staying healthy is the main goal, no matter which way you choose to do it.

Heather Earles

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