Watch TV these days, and you’ll see someone making fun of herbal remedies.
“Oh, are you one of those people who likes natural remedies? What about homeopathy? That’s like magic water, or voodoo.”
Our culture isn’t exactly pro-natural-remedy. And in fact, some go as far as to say that they don’t even work. Or that they are dangerous. Some people even say both. (I would really, really like an explanation for that one. How can a remedy simultaneously have no effect and be dangerous??)
But I use exclusively natural remedies. If you’re new to the idea, you may wonder why.
We do not keep any over-the-counter medications in our home at all. That means no Tylenol, no Advil, no Pepto-bismol, no Tums. Nothing. We haven’t in several years now, in fact.
There are plenty of people who are not as ‘extreme’ as that; many use natural remedies whenever they can and keep some of the other options around “just in case.” But we do not choose to do that. We have found we don’t need them and they don’t fit into our view of what “health” is for our family.
I am not suggesting everyone needs to do things the way we do. Especially if you are new to natural remedies! I found it very hard for the first 2 – 3 years to know what to use and when and we would occasionally use something OTC. But now we have enough knowledge that we do not need to.
Why I Use Natural Remedies
To the heart of the matter: why I use them.
They Are Safe
Although natural remedies aren’t 100% safe in any dose, for every person, all the time, they are far safer than pharmaceutical options. They are gentler, milder (in most cases) and have a number of components, rather than being one particular extract. The majority of the remedies I use are safe in almost any dose, for almost anyone (like ginger). I don’t have to worry about any of us overdosing, or being damaged by them. Whereas Tylenol is the #1 leading cause of liver failure, and an overdose can be really serious.
They Are Effective
Safe or not, it wouldn’t matter if they didn’t actually work. But they do. Natural remedies are gentle but potent. I love that if I have a headache, I can grab one of my anti-everything pills, and it’s probably going to work — without any side effects. (It won’t work if the cause of my headache is being thirsty or tired, but those are easy to fix without medicine.)
They Challenge Us to Think About the Cause
With OTC remedies, it’s easy to quickly reach for one as soon as you start to feel badly. But with natural remedies, you have to think about what’s wrong. Why does your head hurt — are you tired? thirsty? hungry? did you hurt your neck? There are all kinds of reasons why. Natural remedies help address the cause, rather than just the symptoms. I believe this leads to a greater connection with your body, and better health in general. That’s because when you address the underlying cause, you actually make positive changes, rather than just covering up the symptoms.
They Are Frugal
When I was shopping the other week, I saw a popular brand of cough syrup. It was on sale — a 4-oz. bottle for just $4.
But, that doesn’t seem like a great deal to me. I can make a much safer, much more effective cough and cold syrup for less than that! I haven’t priced it out, but I’d estimate $1 or less for a 4-oz. bottle. This recipe makes around 16 oz. for about $5.50. And like I said, it’s much safer and much more effective. Why would I pay almost 4x as much for something worse?
They’re NOT Standardized
It always makes me laugh when I see people urged not to try natural remedies because “they’re not standardized.” Who says they should be?? People aren’t standardized either. With drugs, they can choose an exact dose (more or less — they probably aren’t exactly right with their measuring and potency can wane over time) and prescribe it to a person based on their weight. The only problem is that people metabolize drugs very differently and what, for one, is an appropriate dose, will be way too much for another — even someone who weighs exactly the same amount. This isn’t taken into account.
With natural remedies, since they are usually much gentler, the actual dose isn’t as important. It doesn’t need to be standardized. A person can take a little, and if they feel they need more, can take a little more. That approach may be dangerous with a pharmaceutical, but it won’t be with most natural remedies. I prefer the non-standardized because we, as humans, are all individual and our remedies should be too.
There Are So Many Options
If you look for an herb to combat a sore throat, you’re going to come up with a dozen different possibilities. Or, if you look into “what is mullein good for” you’re going to find a dozen possibilities for that, too. It’s possible for people who might have allergies to certain plants to simply choose others. Or, some may find that certain plans aren’t very effective for them, even if they are for most, and they choose something else. (Mullein and elderberry are two popular cold remedies — elderberry more than mullein — but mullein is clearly superior, for me. Others have a different experience.) Plus, if you have just a handful of options around, you can create a remedy for most common conditions very easily. This makes it fairly easy to get started with natural remedies!
God Gave Them To Us
This last point might be controversial to some, but I believe it’s true. (And you can fill in ‘nature’ instead of ‘God’ if you want.) God provided us all these amazing plants to use to keep ourselves healthy, or to help us feel better when we aren’t healthy. Where do you think the pharmaceutical companies get their drugs, anyway? In many cases, they remove the active components from plants and patent them. (The active component in red yeast rice is where statin drugs come from.) Rather than taking the patented drugs, take the natural remedies in their whole, unaltered form!
There you have it — why I use natural remedies. 🙂
Speaking on natural remedies, I’m working on a book of my favorite herbal remedies right now. It’s called Healing With God’s Earthly Gifts: Natural and Herbal Remedies. There are 25 major remedies plus information on how to help many common illnesses. The book will be out in August, but you’ll get a special chance sometime this spring to get the book before launch. It will be available both in ebook form and in print. Be looking for that!