What is alternative medicine? You hear those words a lot with “natural healing”, “herbal treatments”, and many other similar phrases. They are used interchangeably, yet do we really know what alternative medicine and how herbs fit into it?
Basically, alternative medicine is medical treatment that is beyond the “traditional” methods of seeing a doctor, receiving prescriptions, and possibly having physical therapy. Alternative medicine covers massage therapy, acupuncture, herbal treatments, and many other similar treatments. It cannot be narrowly defined as it covers so much.
What attracts people to alternative medicine? Just as there are many fields under alternative medicine, so are there many reasons people seek out alternative medicine treatments. Some want to avoid the chemicals that come from prescription drugs. Others feel that doctors can be too narrow-minded and do more harm than good. There are those who are just looking for healthier ways to treat their bodies. It all comes down to people making a choice to treat their bodies better.
How do herbs fit in under alternative medicine? Are herbs alternative medicine? When herbs are used as alternative medicine instead of used in the culinary arts, they take the place or are used in conjunction with over the counter and/or prescription drugs. They are the alternative choice. Herbs can be in pill form, loose to use in teas or compresses, or in liquid form. Many people look to herbs to help relieve headaches, stomach issues, menstrual cramps, and even treat scars.
Alternative medicine has become something of a fad over the last decade or two. This is mainly because marketing groups and companies both big and small saw a niche that they could fill and see quick results. The up side of this is that more products and more information became available to everyone for every aspect of alternative medicine including herbs. The down side is that there was a flood of poor quality products and misleading information.
Alternative medicine is not something new. Someone did not discover it or invent it twenty years ago. It has been around since man started walking the earth. Nature was abundant and offered so much. Turning to herbs and other treatments was only natural (pun slightly intended). Through the years mankind learned more about ways to treat their ailments. Some were based more on superstition, but others were based on observation and working closely with herbs. What we have now is the culmination of thousands of years worth of knowledge and experience.
Before seeking out alternative medicine, check with your doctor. Too many, this might sound contradictory. The reason you need to is that there are some conditions that you might to gradually use alternative medicine for and some that you might need to avoid altogether. You do not want to speed up cancer cells or stop your heart from beating. Herbs are nature’s medicines and need to be treated with respect as well as all other forms of alternative medicine.