7 Things Better than Drugs for Health and Healing

7 Things Better than Drugs for Health and Healing

natural_alternatives_to_drugs

Natural medicine is an amazing field, full of inspiring stories and an ever-accumulating body of scientific research to support its increasingly popular view of health.

In fact, at GreenMedInfo.com we specialize in dredging up from the National Library of Medicine’s 23-million citation deep, seemingly oceanic database, highly promising clinical pearlsindicating not only the value of natural substances in disease prevention and treatment, but sometimes their clear superiority versus drugs. What’s not to like about that?

But our project, and natural medicine at large, is not without its challenges, one of which is that it is quite easy to get caught up in the allopathic model of treating surface symptoms, albeit naturally.  This ‘natural allopathy,’ if you will, entices people to look for ‘natural cure’ shortcuts and Band-Aids instead of address the deeper issues associated with avoiding, limiting and addressing environmental exposures, reducing stress, and improving diet and exercise, for instance. In a culture that pops hundreds of millions of doses of drugs and supplements on a daily basis, it is increasingly difficult to break free from the powerful psychological pull to ingestsomething — be it a natural or synthetic “magic pill”; its effects real or imagined — instead of address the underlying problems.

This is also why part of our project is to identify peer-reviewed published research from biomedical journals indicating that there are therapeutic actions, from walking to yoga, dietary changes to exercising, that are at least as effective and often superior to conventional drug-based treatments.

So, here is a good smattering of data that edifies the notion that sometimes, we do not need to “take anything” to stimulate our body’s innate self-healing abilities, as non-invasive therapies – including doing nothing (i.e. watchful waiting) — can accomplish favorable results:

  • Colored light versus Benzyl peroxide for Acne: A combination of blue and red light irradiation therapy was found superior to 5% benzoyl peroxide in treating acne vulgaris without side effects. [i] Another study found blue light irradiation therapy alone as effective as 5% benzyl peroxide in the treatment of acne, but with fewer side effects.[ii]
  • Dietary changes versus Drug Treatment for Hypertension: A high fiber, low sodium, low fat diet is superior to the beta-blocker drug metoprolol in hypertensive type 2 diabetic subjects. [iii]
  • Acupuncture and moxibustion versus pharmaceutical treatment for Sudden Deafness:Acupuncture and moxibustion therapy was found to be superior in treating sudden deafness as compared with the routine drug-based therapy.[iv]
  • Acupuncture versus Drug Treatment for treating Migraines: Acupuncture treatmentexhibited greater effectiveness than drug therapy with flunarizine in the first months of therapy for migraine and with superior tolerability.[v]
  • Dietary changes versus high-dose steroid for Crohn’s disease: An elemental diet is as effective as high dose steroid treatment in improving Crohn’s disease activity in children, while superior in supporting the growth of the children.[vi] Two additional studies found similar results in adults with mild-to-moderately active Crohn’s disease.[vii] [viii]
  • Aromatherapy massage versus Tylenol for Menstrual Pain: Aromatherapy massageon the abdomen was found superior to Tylenol for alleviating menstrual pain in high school girls.[ix]
  • Hypnosis versus Valium for Anxiety: Hypnosis during embryo transfer is as effective as diazepam in terms of pregnancy ratio and anxiolytic effects, but with fewer side effects.[x]
  • Yoga technique versus Antidepressant Drug for Depression: Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (a rhythmic breathing technique) was found superior to the drug imipramine in the treatment of depression.[xi]
  • Yogic intervention versus Drug treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Yogic intervention consisting of poses and breathing exercises was found superior to conventional treatment in diarrhea-predominant IBS.[xii]
  • Foot Reflexology versus Drug treatment for Insomnia: Foot reflexology (Wooden needle technique) was found superior to the drug Alprazolam in the treatment of insomnia.[xiii]
  • Watchful waiting versus Drug treatment for childhood Ear Infection: Watchful waiting compares favorably to immediate antibiotic treatment for some children with non-severe acute otitis media.[xiv]

This sampling reflects only a minor subset of data within our Therapeutic Actions index, one of six databases on the GreenMedInfo.com open access site.  Presently, we have 216 distinct actions indexed, which can be viewed on our Therapeutic Actions Display Page. You may be surprised how simple conscious acts such as chewing your food thoroughly, laughing or a walk in the forest can produce healing responses within the human body.


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[i] P Papageorgiou, A Katsambas, A Chu. Phototherapy with blue (415 nm) and red (660 nm) light in the treatment of acne vulgaris. Br J Dermatol. 2000 May;142(5):973-8. PMID:10809858

[ii] Lúcia H F de Arruda, Vanessa Kodani, Antonio Bastos Filho, Carla Bassanezi Mazzaro. [A prospective, randomized, open and comparative study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of blue light treatment versus a topical benzoyl peroxide 5% formulation in patients with acne grade II and III]. An Bras Dermatol. 2009 Oct;84(5):463-8. PMID:20098847

[iii] P J Pacy, P M Dodson, A J Kubicki, R F Fletcher, K G Taylor. Comparison of the hypotensive and metabolic effects of metoprolol therapy with a high fibre, low sodium, low fat diet in hypertensive type 2 diabetic subjects. Diabetes Res. 1984 Nov;1(4):201-7. PMID: 6099231

[iv] Xin-hua Fan, Ya-nan Ding, Xiang-hui Chang, Yu-lu Ouyang, Qiang Xie. [Comparative observation on acupuncture-moxibustion and western medication for treatment of sudden deafness]. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2003 Jan;180(1):263-9. PMID: 20942277

[v] Gianni Allais, Cristina De Lorenzo, Piero E Quirico, Gisella Airola, Giampiero Tolardo, Ornella Mana, Chiara Benedetto. Acupuncture in the prophylactic treatment of migraine without aura: a comparison with flunarizine. Bone. 2009 Nov 26. PMID: 12390610

[vi] I R Sanderson, S Udeen, P S Davies, M O Savage, J A Walker-Smith. Remission induced by an elemental diet in small bowel Crohn’s disease. Arch Dis Child. 1987 Feb;62(2):123-7. PMID: 3548602

[vii] M Okada, T Yao, T Yamamoto, K Takenaka, K Imamura, K Maeda, K Fujita. Controlled trial comparing an elemental diet with prednisolone in the treatment of active Crohn’s disease. Hepatogastroenterology. 1990 Feb;37(1):72-80. PMID: 2179093

[viii] G Zoli, M Carè, M Parazza, C Spanò, P L Biagi, M Bernardi, G Gasbarrini. A randomized controlled study comparing elemental diet and steroid treatment in Crohn’s disease.Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1997 Aug;11(4):735-40. PMID: 9305483

[ix] Myung-Haeng Hur, Myeong Soo Lee, Ka-Yeon Seong, Mi-Kyoung Lee. Aromatherapy massage on the abdomen for alleviating menstrual pain in high school girls: a preliminary controlled clinical study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012 ;2012:187163. Epub 2011 Sep 22. PMID: 21949670

[x] Patrick Catoire, Laurent Delaunay, Thomas Dannappel, Dominique Baracchini, Sabine Marcadet-Fredet, Olivier Moreau, Luc Pacaud, Daniel Przyrowski, Emmanuel Marret. Hypnosis versus diazepam for embryo transfer: a randomized controlled study. Am J Clin Hypn. 2013 Apr ;55(4):378-86. PMID: 23724572

[xi] N Janakiramaiah, B N Gangadhar, P J Naga Venkatesha Murthy, M G Harish, D K Subbakrishna, A Vedamurthachar. Antidepressant efficacy of Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) in melancholia: a randomized comparison with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and imipramine. J Affect Disord. 2000 Jan-Mar;57(1-3):255-9. PMID: 10708840

[xii] Indu Taneja, K K Deepak, G Poojary, I N Acharya, R M Pandey, M P Sharma. Yogic versus conventional treatment in diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome: a randomized control study. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2004 Mar;29(1):19-33. PMID:15077462

[xiii] Yu-ling Gong, Yan-bo Zhang, Chang Han, Ying-yong Jiang, Yuan Li, Shi-chang Chen, Zeng-yu Liu. [Clinical observation on therapeutic effect of the pressing plantar reflex area with wooden needle for treatment of patients with insomnia]. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2009 Nov;29(11):935-7. PMID: 19994698

[xiv] David P McCormick, Tasnee Chonmaitree, Carmen Pittman, Kokab Saeed, Norman R Friedman, Tatsuo Uchida, Constance D Baldwin. Nonsevere acute otitis media: a clinical trial comparing outcomes of watchful waiting versus immediate antibiotic treatment.Pediatrics. 2005 Jun;115(6):1455-65. PMID: 15930204

2,000 Year-Old Shipwreck Discovered, Contains Natural Medicines

2,000 Year-Old Shipwreck Discovered, Contains Natural Medicines

by Elizabeth Renter,

Once upon a time, people used plants for healing and it wasn’t referred to as “alternative”. Back then, “traditional” medicine referred to that which had been around the longest, which was healing based on the use of plants and nature. Now, things have changed and we occasionally need a reminder that nature has been providing medicine for millennia and can still be trusted to provide it today. One of those reminders came  just a couple years ago when archaeologists discovered a wooden box full of medicine in a 2,000 year-old sunken ship off the coast of Tuscany.

The ship was believed to have sank around 130 B.C., well over 2,000 years ago. It was transporting wine, glassware, lams, and ceramics. It isn’t clear where the ship originated or what its final destination was, but we do know there was likely a healer on board.

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Inside a wooden box, preserved deep under the sea, was a collection of pills. Using DNA sequencing, scientists were able to determine what was inside these pills, and it wasn’t some lab-created, branded pharmaceuticals.

The pills contained all natural plants and materials including crushed celery, onions, carrots, cabbage, alfalfa, chestnuts, radish, yarrow, parsley, nasturtium, hibiscus, and clay. Also within the box was a mortar and pestle, likely used to crush the plants and herbs for the medicinal preparations.

“It’s a spectacular find. They were very well sealed. The plants and vegetables were probably crushed with a mortar and pestle – we could still see the fibres in the tablets. They also contained clay, which even today is used to treat gastrointestinal problems,” said Dr Alain Touwaide, from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Washington DC.

The finding marks the oldest known remains of ancient medicines. Dr. Alain Touwaide from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Washington D.C. says that the remedies are those documented in Ancient Greek texts, which were later modeled by Ancient Romans—both of whom can trace their medical practices to Africa, the ‘true birthplace of medicine’.

More than likely, the researchers say, the medicine was used to treat general malaise and those digestive complaints common with sailors on the high seas. To this day, many of the components found within these ancient pills are still used to treat modern ailments—including clay for upset stomachs, celery for rheumatism, and onion for infections.

There are people who would argue that the life expectancy of a person in these ancient times was dramatically less than a person today, and that their herbal medicines weren’t doing anyone any favors. But, this is a narrow-view, failing to look at the shortcomings of sanitation and the spread of disease back then. Now, for instance, we don’t live with open sewage and we all know to cook our foods to a proper temperature.

There are commendable advances that have taken place over the past few thousand years, to be sure. Better housing, more sound infrastructure, and cleaner living in general are just a few. But, there’s a chance we could learn something from our predecessors—namely, that some things should not be forsaken or left behind in the name of advancement; that some things, including natural healing, truly are timeless.

Additional Sources:

AfricaResource

Eurekalert.org
Read more: Natural Society 

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