A Naturopathic Doctor Reveals the Truth About Herbs and Supplements

Common Herbs and Supplements Used in Natural, Holistic MedicineGarlic, bilberry extract, devil’s claw, yucca, fish oil, ginkgo biloba, glucosamine, echinacea, flaxseed oil, lutein and wild yam roots. These are just some of the more well known herbs and supplements on the market today being used to treat high blood pressure, arthritis, high cholesterol, heart ailments, joint pain, and menopause. Many supplements and herbs also help support optimal eyesight, brain function and heart health, as well as prevent disease. Supplements and herbal medicine have become increasingly popular as alternative health solutions to over-the-counter and prescribed medications. Here are some common uses:
Echinacea is known for strengthening the immune system.

Glucosamine, devil’s claw and yucca help treat inflammation.

Bilberry and Lutein enhance eyesight.

Garlic helps manage high cholesterol.

Flaxseed and fish oils fortify the health of the brain, joints and skin.
Although supplements and herbal medicine can offer great value to patients of all ages, they are not a replacement for proper nutrition and daily exercise. Supplements should be a holistic health care solution used to support a healthy lifestyle. In addition, traditional Western medical doctors, naturopathic physicians and alternative health professionals agree that natural supplements and herbal medicine are beneficial when taken appropriately under a medical or naturopathic doctor’s care.A Warning from an Experienced, Licensed Naturopathic DoctorNaturopathic doctors know supplements and herbal medicine can be incredibly effective, but also potentially dangerous when used improperly. Any patient regularly taking an herb, vitamin or supplement should inform their doctor. Herbal medicine and supplements can potentially interact with medications and cause adverse reactions. A primary example of this is ginkgo biloba. Ginkgo is used to improve the memory, but can have unsafe reactions for patients currently on blood thinning medication.Herbal naturopathic remedies must be chosen carefully and approved by a health care provider that is educated and knowledgeable about herb and drug interactions. In addition, whether patients choose a mainstream medical, holistic or naturopathic doctor, investigating the credentials of health care providers is important. Safety and quality control must be carefully considered since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the supplement industry.The Importance of Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyle Choices that Support Holistic Healing SuccessSupplements and herbal medicine are not meant to replace healthy living. Multi-vitamins, supplements and herbs are best taken when a healthy lifestyle is created and supported. This is an important distinction to make, especially in the pill popping culture of America. Drinking plenty of water, regular exercise, eating organic, avoiding processed flour and eating plenty of vegetables are the first steps to whole body health and wellness.Working Together: How Traditional and Holistic Health Care Can Support Overall Health and WellnessFor the majority of people a combination of traditional health care and holistic medicine can help them achieve a new level of health. Holistic health care providers such as naturopathic doctors and herbalists play a huge role in creating a plan for optimal health. When multiple doctors from different backgrounds collaborate, patents often find it easier to get healthy and stay healthy.

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