For centuries, cultures have depended on natural medicines from plants to treat and cure a range of conditions and ailments. From minor aches and pains, to diseases such as cancer and diabetes, patients all over the world have had great success with natural treatment. Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies work very hard to keep the use of herbal supplements and other natural medicine remedies from becoming too popular, oftentimes criticizing the naturopathic course as being unreliable and even dangerous.
With the continued use of prescription drugs and cost of healthcare public interest in natural medicine is on the rise. If you’re one of those people who is interested in transitioning from pharmaceuticals, but you’re not sure where to start, below is a list of three natural medicine alternatives available to you.
1. Hawthorn for Heart Health
Herbalists have long used hawthorn’s leaves, flowers, and berries to boost cardiac health, as the shrub contains antioxidant compounds that are heart healthy. Studies show that flavonoids in hawthorn leaves have the ability to not only treat cardiac conditions, but also to prevent them. An analysis of existing studies done in 2008 by Cochrane Researchers found that hawthorn extract increased heart strength and exercise tolerance, diminished cardiac oxygen needs, and reduced shortness of breath in cardiac patients. Researchers currently report that ingesting hawthorn through tea, tincture, or capsule helps improve the amount of blood pumped out of the heart during contractions, widens the blood vessels, and increases the transmission of nerve signals. All in all, the antioxidant properties that make up the hawthorn plant stimulate blood flow to the heart and can prevent or reduce symptoms of coronary artery disease.
Note: Before taking hawthorn, talk with your healthcare professional if you take any medications, as it can potentially have major interactions with several prescription medications.
2. Cannabis for Chronic Pain Management
The genus Cannabis contains two species, sativa and indica. The term medical marijuana refers to the treatment of the symptoms of illnesses and other conditions by using the whole, unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts. Although there is no scientific or statistical evidence to support the negative effects of medical marijuana on adults, it is still classified as an illicit drug in the United States. Due to the quantity of compounds found in cannabis, it is challenging to study making FDA approval and scientific study an arduous process. People who suffer from severe chronic pain have learned that treatment options are limited if they don’t wish to rely on highly addictive narcotics such as codeine, oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl, or other prescription drugs. Medical marijuana is now legal in 28 states and Washington, D.C. and has become the preferred alternative pain management option among hundreds of thousands of patients living with cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, fibromyalgia, migraines, and more. Not only is medical marijuana becoming a widespread alternative to opioids for pain management, there is also strong evidence that cannabis benefits opioid addicts by curbing painful withdrawal symptoms. In addition to marijuana’s benefit in reducing pain, medical marijuana is also known to increase appetite, decrease nausea, reduce seizures in epileptic patients, and can even slow the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Garlic as an Antibiotic and Overall Miracle Worker
Whether taken orally or topically, garlic is a true miracle when it comes to benefits for the human body. Also known as “the stinking rose”, garlic has been used for many centuries as an antiseptic, most often used to prevent infections such as gangrene from developing in wounds, as its properties make it the perfect antibacterial medicine. A 2012 study by Washington State University found that a compound from garlic is 100 times more effective than two commonly prescribed antibiotics in the treatment of intestinal infections caused by the bacterium species Campylobacter bacterium.
Garlic has been proven as a natural aid to fight earaches, chronic fatigue syndrome, menstrual disorders, abnormal cholesterol levels caused by HIV drugs, hepatitis, shortness of breath related to liver disease, stomach ulcers, and exercise-induced muscle soreness. Additionally, garlic is used as a preventive supplement to combat cancer, fight diseases such as cystic fibrosis and diabetes, and treat conditions such as osteoarthritis, yeast infections, flu, and prevent the common cold. It’s even used as a mosquito repellant! Other uses include treatment of coughs, headache, stomach ache, sinus congestion, gout, joint pain, hemorrhoids, asthma, bronchitis, shortness of breath, low blood sugar, snakebites, tuberculosis, diphtheria, whooping cough, tooth sensitivity, stomach inflammation (gastritis), scalp ringworm, and more. Some people apply garlic oil to their skin or nails to treat fungal infections, warts, and corns, and it can also be applied to the skin for hair loss and thrush.
While research suggests that natural medicine and herbal products have fewer adverse side effects than conventional or Western medication, it’s important to consult a doctor before taking something new. Start by doing as much research as possible and always choose high-quality products with pure, natural ingredients.