Approximately 220 million adults take some form of herbal remedy or natural supplement. Natural weight loss and bodybuilding supplements, as well as alternative forms of hormone replacement and herbal remedies for allergy relief are some of the most popular forms of natural medicine.
In recent years, herbal remedies and natural supplements have been attacked again and again. Governments, doctors, pharmacists and even segments of the general population constantly question their safety. In this article, I hope to consider the facts and see if all this concern is warranted.
Herbs and Natural Supplements are Safe
Three thousand years ago a healthcare system called Ayurveda was established in India. Ayurveda means “the science of life” and in this medical system, herbs were used to treat every disease imaginable. Ayurvedic practitioners prescribed herbs to promote length and quality of life. It is not a coincidence that today scientists are identifying the active compounds which made (and still make!) these herbs effective forms of treatment.
Every day millions of adults are taking at least one dose of a natural medicine, and yet no deaths and only a few side effects have been reported as a result of natural remedies and supplements.
One in every six people will experience food poisoning, ten people die every day by accidental drowning and 200 thousand people every year are killed by medical malpractice. Considering these statistics should we be putting so much emphasis on the safety of natural products?
Behind the Scenes: Pharmaceutical Companies
Herbal remedies and natural supplements are safe, they are effective and they are optional. No one is forcing everyone to use them. Then why are they constantly under attack? Who pressures government agencies to develop stricter laws to control the production and sale of natural products? Who publicly casts doubts on natural medicine? The answer is the Pharmaceutical Industry. Pharmaceutical companies develop and sell conventional medicines all over the world. Their market is worth well over $250 billion dollars every year. These multinational companies are reluctant to see any of their profits go to the producers of natural products, but their greatest fear is that herbal remedies may eventually replace some of their own medicines.
Conventional Drugs are Dangerous
Every year over the counter and prescription drugs cause the death of seven thousand people and injure at least one million more. Despite these startling facts, governments quickly approve new medications and doctors begin using them without a second thought. Independent research is showing that pain medications, antihistamines and antibiotics have potentially toxic effects in both children and adults, while medications containing opioids are causing addiction in thousands of individuals.
Pharmaceutical companies enjoy the hefty profits from all these medications, while we are left with the side effects and even possibly death.
You Can be Healthy without Conventional Drugs
We all have a medicine cabinet full of modern medicines and it is hard to imagine life without it, but it is possible and advisable. Here are some tips for improving your overall health and reducing the need of such medicines:
- Proper Nutrition. A healthy diet involves much more than simply decreasing calories or avoiding sodium. Eating healthily means consuming adequate amounts of carbohydrates and starches, fruits and vegetables, milk products and proteins, as well as healthy oils every day. For best results, much of what you eat should be raw and from organic sources. When you must eat commercially prepared foods, choose those that are processed the least and that have the fewest additives. Avoid refined sugars, hydrogenated oils and sodium, which have all been linked to chronic diseases.
- Omega 3 and 6. Our bodies can synthesize some fatty acids, but it can not produce Omega 3 and 6. These healthy fats can be found in fish oils, flaxseeds and some nuts. Omega 3 and 6 benefit us by lowering the level of harmful triglycerides, increasing healthy cholesterol, decreasing inflammation and supporting the coronary and respiratory systems.
- Proper Exercise. With the invention of television, computers and the internet, we have become a sedentary generation. It is estimated that roughly half of the population in first world countries fail to meet the exercise requirements for a healthy lifestyle. If you want to improve your quality of life, start exercising regularly. Stretching exercises, cardio exercises such as walking, biking and swimming, and strength training all play a part in proper exercise. When possible, exercise outdoors so that your body receives the Vitamin D that it needs to absorb calcium properly and strengthen bones and teeth.
- Avoid Chemicals. Our lives are full of chemicals. Cosmetic products, fertilizers, insecticides, air fresheners and even plastic products in our kitchen cupboards all contain harmful chemicals. Over time these chemicals build up in our bodies, disrupt hormones, damage DNA and cause disease. Avoid chemicals as much as possible!
- Reduce Stress and Think Positive. Emotions play a vital part in health and quality of life. Stress and depression increase inflammation throughout our bodies and this in turn opens the door for a variety of serious diseases. Reducing stress and thinking positively promotes a healthy physical, mental and emotional balance, which allows our bodies to function as they should.