What are some cons for Natural medicine?

This question is for people who don’t believe in "Natural" medicine. Why don’t you believe in it, and what problems do you think it has?


  • The mom

    I wouldn’t say I don’t believe in natural or alternative medicine- but I do think you must be as careful and cautious as you are in choosing the kinds of standard treatment. In some cases, medicines are derived from natural sources to begin with, and the pharmaceutical company mostly refines the active chemical. Or it produces it. Aspirin derives from willow bark. And while willow bark tea was the only source for a long time, it’s effectiveness varied depending on the tree, the time of year, etc. The active ingredient in it, salicylic acid- is a chemical in the strictest sense, regardless of where you get it. And aspirin tablets are a more dependable and convenient way to enusre dosage and availability. Not everyone lives near a willow tree, after all. Some of the other herbal cures could possibly be of use, but again- you have the dosage variations that happen from plant to plant, and year to year. Some natural remedies are actually pretty good, though. Sennacot is based on a very gentle, natural source, senna, which is natural and probably better for you than harsher types. Flax seed is another one. Ayurvedic treatments are also worth considering by all means. I don’t think it should be a matter of considering one type of treatment as superior to another, but rather to consider the strengths each brings with it in the effort to help a person. The art of medicine is based on a lot of science, but treating people is more complicated than mixing things in test tubes or harvesting leaves from a plant, or even things like acupuncture. You are dealing with an entire person, not just a malfunctioning part- and people come with some pretty complicated brains. So you also must consider the mental effect of your treatment. None of the treatment paradigms is exlusively superior, or innately ineffective. I currently tend to avoid a good many of the natural cures primarily because of the problems with assuring purity and concentration of active ingredient. I can’t tell where an herb or whatever originated, nor if it’s been tested for purity of ingredients, or even if it contains what it claims to contain. I’m sure there are honest companies out there, but unfortunately they are mixed in with too many that aren’t. The industry should be better controlled and regulated, but the industry by and large resists the idea. When I consider that many of our modern medicines actually do have roots in the old herbology, and considering the many unknowns with non-traditional health store remedies- I tend to err toward modern medicine. The adulterant scares out of China and the far east don’t tend to reassure me, either. So what I really wish would happen is that all the sides would put down their suspicions of one another, and work towards some sensible arrangement where all the forms of alternative medicine and modern medicine could work together towards the same goal. They each bring different strengths to the table that would compliment one another, and we might actually be better off for it.

  • Michael T

    One of the biggest problems is that the "medicines" do not go through the same testing the real medicine goes through. The quality might be bad, the actual dose from pill to pill might not be the same. I think of it as dirty medicing.
    Why would I want to take an alternative to asprin made by who knows where under who knows what conditions that has been subjected to what testing when I can just take an asprin. Some of these Natural medicines actually do have real chemical effect in the body. I want someone who has been to school for most of their life to tell me how to use them not a selfproclaimed internet studied naturopath..
    Homeopathy is nothing more than very expensive water. The homeopathic dilution of 4C is equivilent to the safe levels of arsenic in drinking water. Typical homepathic remedies are diluted far beyond 4C.
    Chiropractic is just the unlicensed practice of physical therapy.
    All of the alternative/natural remidies work for most who want them to work but when people have real conditions turn to these instead of modern medicine that is when thing get dangerous..

  • Susan Yarrawonga

    Natural medicine is often much slower than conventional medicine. For example, high blood pressure can often be controlled with a single prescription medication (which may give you some side effects) whereas you would probably need several natural medications to get the same improvement. Each natural medication helps a bit and in general you don’t get any side effects.

    You really need both conventional medicine and natural medicine and natural medicine could be regarded as supplementary to conventional medicine. Each has pluses and minuses.

  • calyx156

    My largest concern with Alt. Med. is that someone in either ignorance, fear or stubbornness would put off consulting with an allopath if their condition were very serious and thereby cause their own demise or serious damage to themselves by having waited. I seek a world where all healing modalities work together in harmony, as truly Complementary Holistic Medicine, admitting what their weaknesses are and claiming their strengths. In cases of trauma or life-threatening illness, differential diagnostic ability and medical viewing, ie ultrasounds, MRI’s and x-rays, there is often nothing better than Western or allopathic medicine. Ditto for setting bones and for plastic and reconstructive surgery (if it’s truly needed). I’ve seen non-functional hands (ie no fingers or thumbs missing) made functional by the movement and replacement of toes to the hand at Shriners’ Hospitals for Children in both Sacramento and Boston. I’ve seen amazing plastic surgery done for children with severe burn injuries. I have also had many clients desperately hurt by "modern medicine", where sometimes the doctors’ arrogance and false promises, to say nothing of deadly poisonous pharmaceuticals and synthetic medicines did more damage than good. I have yet to see a surgery for things like IBS/Diverticulitis/Crohn’s Disease be an appropriate or even okay choice. (Clue: Surgery for these issues NEVER work out well for the patient in my experience as they do NOT address the cause.) My daughter’s para-educator has had 3 surgeries in 18 months, and is no closer to getting healed than she was when she started. I have never once had a massage client whose back surgeries worked out well or "took care of the problem" for them, NOT ONCE. I think most allopaths have their heads up their collective asses around proper antibiotic and analgesic use, allergies, asthma and eczema, plus other skin disorders, cancer treatments, childbirth (The stats are DISMAL in this country, and there’s no excuse for this.), women’s issues and many, many other "treatments and diseases". As with all things, I deem it imperative to begin with the least invasive, least toxic treatments and procedures first and go from there. As the Hypocratic Oath says, "Do ye first therefore no harm unto any being…" At over 900,000 iatrogenic deaths PLUS last year alone (3rd LARGEST cause of death in this country after heart disease, and cancer)(and that’s not even counting the 100,000 unnecessary hysterectomies performed on women last year and every year of every decade before that.), I’d say we’re WAY past the point where allopathic medicine does "no harm". Anyone with any sort of experience with doctors and hospitals can and will tell you this.

    I would also remind readers that at the start of the 20th century, over 85% of the "drugs and medicinal preparations" in the USP (United States Pharmacopaeia) were HERBAL, ANIMAL or MINERAL in origin. At one point in the 1800’s 8 out of the 10 best medical schools in this country were HOMEOPATHIC in origin. So anyone decrying alt med, and condemning it, really is at work denying the very genesis and roots of their own profession. Not particularly intelligent, nor progressive from where I stand, and just wreaking of hypocrisy, too. I cannot respect a profession that denies its roots, in fact its very genesis, forms "professional organizations" to completely annihilate all its competitors, co-opts their practices and research, denies there was ever any good outcome from these "alternative" methods, or folk remedies, steals the procedures, methodology, preparation, recipes and cures, renames them, and then calls them their own, or else completely steals a natural process, damns anyone who tries a different route, denies them the right to do so, and has FAR WORSE statistical outcomes to show for all this taking over and taking control. Can we talk about homebirth, midwife assisted birth and hospital births here, and the fact that some OB/Gyn’s are approaching a 66% surgical intervention rate w/ first time moms…when any rate over 20% in the 1970’s was cause for peer review? Can we talk about male arrogance, and the arrogance of the United States here, who, for some reason which is a mystery to me and everyone else I know, believes it is first, and best in all things, even when the actual facts do NOT bear these notions out?

  • abacaxitoo

    Most of the "alternative" cures and remedies have not been tested to make sure they work as claimed. Those that have been tested often have no effect. And sometimes the claims require violating some really basic principles of physics and chemistry … principles that have been used to predict the way things will work for centuries.

    Some natural medicines are actually dangerous. For example, Goldenseal is often promoted as something that "boosts your immune system". It’s one of the herbs that were used for pneumonia before antibiotics, and it’s well-studied. It can kill many kinds of bacteria … but all of my old medical book references to it also explain that it shouldn’t be used for more than a couple of weeks because it is going to kill the cells that line your intestines and cause pain and diarrhea. I have never seen that warning on a modern supplement with goldenseal, but I have seen people whose gut problems went away when they stopped the goldenseal supplements they thought would boost their immune systems.

    Face it – if something works, if it is safe and effective, "mainstream medicine" has not problem with it. St John’s Wort, for example is widely prescribed in Europe for mild or moderate depression – it works. Glucosamine is often suggested by orthopedic surgeons for arthritis because it helps about 30% of their patients.

    Look at the recommendations from advocates of Natural medicines for hypertension: they’ll list a huge string of supplements to fix the problem. The answers from the "non-believers" who are medically trained will be to exercise, lose weight and cut back salt. No profit to Big Pharma from that, but it works.

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