The benefits of natural remedies, supplements and vitamins

Pharmaceuticals are a recent invention – one that, in the right circumstances, takes a large responsibility for medical miracles. These drugs are very well suited to their use in hospitals where minutes and seconds can tip the scales of a human life. However, the vast majority of drugs are used at home. In fact, almost a third of the US population uses two or more drugs on a regular basis, which begs the question of why they do not consider swapping to natural supplements. (

An article from Indiana University School of Medicine points out that there are some commonly used drugs that increases the likelihood of a visit to the doctor, hospital and ER.  Anticholinergic drugs are commonly prescribed to patients with chronic conditions including depression, anxiety, pain, allergy, incontinence or sleep issues. The study found that patients who took mild to strong anticholinergic medications increased their rate of admission to a hospital by 11 to 33 percent respectively.

Bottled compounds of generally accepted natural cures did not exist centuries ago. Instead different cultures had their own natural solutions to illnesses that affected them. The rise of globalization brought along the accumulated knowledge from thousands of years of trials and only now is some of this knowledge being accepted. These natural remedies, often referred to as naturopathic medicine, are more than just fads that fade away once they’ve received their time in the spotlight. Most of these natural solutions are here to stay, from Peruvian maca to Chinese goji berries, these items have made their way into the mainstream of health-conscious consumers.

“If you had a headache and you lived in any historical time period, you would immediately turn to natural remedies. Willow bark has been used in a number of cultures in Europe and Asia as an anti-inflammatory that helps reduce fever and inflammation,” says Arthur Rubenstein, nutritionist at YesWellness. “Now you can find willow bark in supplements and essential oils instead of walking into the forest and stripping your own bark from a tree.”

Natural remedies pay homage to the ingredients contained in herbs, fruits and vegetables that have been accepted over hundreds of years of use. Many of the medicines that you purchase from a pharmacy are in fact developed by researching these natural remedies and extracting the compounds from natural sources. The effects are often amplified – ideal for situations in hospitals where quick reacting medicines are important – but so are the side effects. Often we are prescribed compounds to take over a period of months, which builds a tolerance and dependency on medication, a leading cause of increased hospital visits.

On the other hand, natural remedies are ones that generally have less severe side effects that can include upset stomachs and irritation. The solutions are only a fraction of the price of the expensive pharmaceutical options, which makes these solutions much more feasible. Pharmaceutical medicines not only cost more, but usually incur a larger burden, physically and financially, in the future. There has been a shift in the acceptance of modern medicine that has brought many people away from natural remedies. It is true that pharmaceuticals have their place, but there often is little harm in trying a method that has worked for hundreds of years. This anecdotal proof is often not supported by studies, as there is little profit in research into natural ingredients.

It is important to note that, like pharmaceutical drugs, using naturopathic medicines may cause unwanted interactions with other drugs. It is always advised to approach your physician with questions that you may have before starting any supplement or natural remedy.

Bio: Trevor Lau discovered the amazing benefits of exercise, healthy eating and natural solutions in university. With an interest in health and a penchant for writing, he shares insight brought on by observation, trial and research. When not writing, he can be found hiking the mountains of the Pacific Northwest or travelling.