I have patients who have told me that they stopped their blood pressure medicine that their doctor prescribed and took garlic instead, or stopped their diabetes medicine and took chromium as an alternative. This desire is usually born from the suffering of side effects from the drugs.
As a practicing “Natural Pharmacist,” I believe that we should be using Complementary Medicine instead of alternative medicine… and I think it all goes back to the toolbox that we employ.
In our practice, we have a saying… “To a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”
When you go to the typically trained physician, the only tools that they are trained to use are drugs and surgery. If you go to the local herbalist, the tools that he/she uses are herbs. The chiropractor uses his hands, the acupuncturist uses her needles… you get the picture. All of these may be appropriate tools, depending upon the situation.
The toolbox that we should have at our disposal should include all of the tools mentioned above, and more. When it comes to our health, we should be able to diagnose a problem and then lay out all of the tools that would possibly be helpful in fixing the problem. Of the tools that could be used, some are more likely to cause side effects than others, so those should be put towards the end of the line. Doesn’t it make sense to use the least invasive, least-likely-to-cause-problems tool first?
When using herbs and vitamins, make sure you get competent advise… use health care professionals that have traditional training as well as training in the complementary fields so that the most appropriate tools can be chosen… and ask them about how big their toolbox is!