Natural remedies and a natural way of life are still new concepts here in the United States. When natural alternatives to medication are mentioned, many still think of witch doctors and brush off the concept as taboo. Yet according to the World Health Organization, 80 percent of the population in some Asian and African countries depend on traditional herbal medicine for primary health care. For many countries, natural solutions are a way of life—and this idea is catching on in the U.S.
Don't get us wrong: There are always going to be instances when you'll need to a see a doctor and receive prescribed treatments. But if you're curious about natural remedies, here are a few ways you could introduce them into your life.
When your symptoms are minor.
Sometimes, it's better to use natural, more mild remedies and save strong pharmaceutical methods for more serious problems. Our bodies build up immunities to foreign substances over time (which is one of the reasons the flu shot changes on a yearly basis). If you're constantly turning to a specific allergy medicine for your headache and stuffy nose, eventually its effectiveness will decrease. You'll need to take more for it to be effective. Our bodies don't fight natural remedies like they do many medications, because many of the ingredients occur naturally in our bodies.
When you can't get to a doctor right away.
If you have a persistent cough disrupting your everyday life and can't get into your doctor right away, try a natural remedy like honey, peppermint or pineapple juice. (Yes, pineapple!) While coughing could be a sign of a more serious condition you may need medication to treat, sometimes it's merely a side effect of a bad cold. If your cough just isn't going away, make an appointment to see your doctor. To ease your suffering until you can see your doctor, try a natural remedy.
When you have a sensitive stomach.
Many medications can be harsh on our bodies and are particularly aggravating to those with sensitive stomachs. Natural remedies are gentler and, unlike many medications, won't deteriorate the natural lining in our stomachs.
Natural remedies are known for their ability to increase the body's ability to ward off diseases. They utilize the healing process of the body and often use ingredients which our bodies produce. There are a number of natural remedies that can help boost your immune system in order to fight off illness and are gentle enough to use every day. We recommend visiting credible online sources such as MedlinePlus or WebMD for prevention clarification. As always, try to maintain a healthy diet with fresh, whole foods to fight off illness and disease.
When you need a lifestyle change.
Turning to natural remedies is not only about using honey instead of cough syrup. For many, natural treatments are more accessible, more affordable, and they support the goal of a healthier, cleaner lifestyle. Natural remedies support a way of thinking that leads to not only a healthy body, but to a healthy mind and life. Being healthy isn't just about working out; it's about paying attention to what we put into our bodies. Western medicine has come a long way in eliminating illnesses that were once death sentences, but it has also introduced a lot of foreign substances and chemicals into our bodies.
A natural way of life isn't about shunning those completely. It's about being aware of what we put into our bodies, how it affects us and what effect it will have over time.
Written by Amy Ritsema. Amy graduated from Hope College with a degree in Exercise Science and has been working in Corporate Wellness for over 25 years. Amy co-founded OnSite Wellness in 2006 and continues to enjoy helping organizations bring wellness solutions to their employees. As a Certified Worksite Wellness Program Consultant, she spends most of her workdays designing, developing and implementing wellness programs that fit the needs of each individual organization.