Pharmaceuticals vs. Natural Remedies

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Gaia Trade July Blog:


Before the advent of “modern medicine” we had “traditional medicine” which is what we sometimes confuse with “new age” medicine. It was in use for thousands of years and showed good results in some areas. I do not want to throw out the baby with the bathwater, and wish to avoid the extreme claims of both sides of this debate. I believe that the middle ground is always the best, taking an Advil for immediate relief of pain in addition to taking turmeric daily, which is a natural anti-inflammatory…


If we remain open to both pharmaceuticals and natural remedies, we may be able to open the door to new possibilities and collaboration, which may lead to new remedies and treatments.

Conventional medicine is often criticized by the adherents of natural medicine to be symptomatic and too pharmaceuticals driven. But surprisingly, most of the time the same pattern of therapeutic behavior is just transposed into the natural medicine practice without even preceding it with any kind of evaluation. By changing only a component of the equation by using natural products instead of a pharmaceutical compound, some practitioners assume that everything is fine and there is no need for proper education and training. Miraculous products and miraculous cures are proposed without any pre-evaluation or differentiation for the clientele. Some products or cures are advertised as a fit for all. Many times I have seen natural healthcare practitioners suggest products without doing a proper evaluation.

One of the principles of the Hippocratic Oath is: “do no harm.” Most of the time healthcare practitioners take for granted that natural products have no side effects, which is completely erroneous. Not only is this a blind approach with negative consequences, but it can overwhelm the client with the long-term cost of an unsustainable therapy, which is one of the major reasons for non-compliance. Too many supplements can overload the client in their ability to detoxify, or create undesirable side effects like a healing crisis, which is a very common consequence of an aggressive therapy.

A basic principle that should be taught in any curriculum of natural and integrative medicine is to try to find the optimal prescription for a client, which is:

  1. The minimal amount of the product for maximum effect
  2. A treatment approach based on problems and priorities that have been established in a previous comprehensive examination.

We have to keep in mind that everything can’t be done at once. This may seem obvious, but is not respected by all natural practitioners. In their haste to get results faster, they literally swamp their client with products or therapies.

As long as the practices of natural medicine or any other type of energetic medicine do not utilize a more systematic method of client evaluation and treatment – natural and complementary medicines won’t achieve respect within the realm of modern medicine. It is important that a client is effectively evaluated before any type of treatment – whether it is natural or pharmaceutical based.

Schools of natural and integrative medicine that provide training on holistic systematic evaluations of clients will help to guide healthcare practitioners from many disciplines in prescribing safe, effective, natural and integrative treatments. These treatments can optimize the use of products and therapies in restoring the client to a state of balanced wellness, without overstressing their system.

But let us not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Pharmaceuticals, as we can see from the articles above, have not only helped us to treat previously untreatable diseases, but have also helped us to live healthier and longer lives.



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