Exploring natural remedies

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Metro Editorial
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As prevalent as prescription medications are, all-natural remedies for common illnesses and conditions are still a viable alternative to prescription medications for many people. But are these all-natural options safe?

In 2011, Apple founder Steve Jobs lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. Reports indicate that Jobs, a devout Buddhist, delayed surgery and other traditional treatments for almost a year while he participated in holistic treatments for the cancer. Some of these included juice fasts, bowel cleansings, acupuncture, herbal supplements, and even a vegan diet. Eventually, Jobs had surgery, but some experts feel he waited too long.

Although conventional care is often an effective means to treating illnesses and other conditions, there are many doctors who agree that implementing natural remedies at times can be safe and effective. Furthermore, not all natural remedies are without merit, and some traditional medicines are actually derived from natural, plant-based ingredients themselves. 

According to surgeon and author, Dr. Walter C. Thompson, "Herbal medicine is safe because it's natural. After researching the literature, one can truly say that, at the very least, herbal medicine is safer than conventional drugs."

Those thinking about incorporating natural remedies into their health regimen can consider the following options.

* Nervousness and anxiety: Try lettuce, chamomile, valerian, and rose petals.

* Pain relief: Use omega-3 fatty acids, green tea, ginger root, and tumeric.

* Itchiness:  Witch hazel, jewelweed and aloe vera are effective.

* Feminine issues: Parsley, basil and goldenseal can alleviate symptoms associated with menstruation.

* Antibiotics:  Oregano and garlic are purported to have antibiotic qualities and can fend off harmful bacteria.

* Infections: Honey has long been used to heal and as an antibacterial and antifungal remedy.

Many natural foods are effective in preventing and fighting cancer as well. 

Although natural remedies can be effective, it's important for pregnant women to avoid any herbs and plant supplements until discussing the risks/benefits with their doctors. Also, some natural remedies can interact with prescription drugs or increase their potency, so it's important to talk to a doctor about any plans.