Can Natural Remedies Replace Your Prescriptions?
Have you ever gone to an appointment with your doctor only to walk out with a stack of prescriptions for medications that you’re not quite sure you want to fill? If so, you’re not alone. Your reasoning for not wanting to take pills could be cost or just wanting to make an informed decision about the substances you put into your body. Not only should you know the potential benefits and side effects of pills, but it’s a good idea to ask your primary provider if you have any other options, too.
If you’re considering using natural remedies to restore wellness and live a healthier life, here is some essential information you need to know.
Understanding the Effects of Prescription Drugs
If you turn on the news for any length of time, you’ll likely hear about some of the adverse effects of drugs. Whether you’re taking opioids for pain or benzodiazepines for anxiety, there’s a good chance these prescriptions drugs will impair your ability to drive and perform other activities that require clarity and concentration. Of course, over time, not only will you experience side effects, but you might become tolerant or even addicted to the medications.
Even if drug addiction isn’t likely with the medications you’re given by your physician, there are other consequences you need to consider. Because most pills are broken down in your liver or kidneys, irreversible damage is typical with some drugs. It’s also essential to avoid specific drugs during pregnancy because of the risk to your growing child.
A few medications to stay away from include:
- and some antidepressants.
You might be wondering what kind of natural remedies or lifestyle changes are used to replace your prescriptions. Here are a few conditions you can treat with natural methods.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than 102 million Americans age 20 years and older have cholesterol levels that are higher than healthy levels. Of these, over 35 million have levels that place them at a higher-than-usual risk for heart disease. Western medicine offers prescription drugs for high cholesterol such as statins that block your body from making cholesterol in your liver. While this class of medications might lower your levels, it can also cause side effects such as liver damage, muscle pain, and neurological effects like memory loss or confusion.
If you’re looking for natural ways to lower your cholesterol levels, you have a few options. Add in a daily fiber supplement to reduce your overall cholesterol levels.
You can try:
- wheat dextrin
- or methylcellulose.
You can also change up your diet to control cholesterol levels by increasing or adding in foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like:
- and walnuts.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
If you’re living with gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly called GERD, you know how painful this digestive disorder can be. GERD happens when digestive fluids back up from the stomach into the esophagus, damaging the soft tissues inside. Traditional medicine might have you turn to antacids and medications that slow down the secretions in the stomach.
The good news about GERD is that there are many natural ways to treat it. Try eating smaller meals throughout the day to minimize the pressure on the sphincter that separates the stomach and the bottom portion of the esophagus. You should also alter your diet by limiting the intake of foods that can increase stomach secretions or weaken the esophageal sphincter.
A few drinks you should avoid are:
- carbonated beverages
- and citrus juices — like orange, and grapefruit.
Traditional treatments for pain relief include drugs like ibuprofen, opioids, and topical medications that come in creams or patches. However, because of the opioid epidemic in the United States, experts have turned to alternative methods to alleviate discomforts from both acute and chronic conditions.
One possible way to treat pain naturally includes acupuncture, which places needles into the body that stimulates the release of pain-numbing chemicals that are naturally produced. Another popular, yet controversial method to treat pain is medical marijuana. It has proven medicinal properties that can limit chronic pain caused by conditions like fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis.
Much like treatments for pain, western medicine has turned to natural ways to remedy anxiety, which can be debilitating for some people. Current medications to treat the condition include benzodiazepines.
This classification of drugs can increase your risk of:
- cognitive impairment
- and addiction.
However, there are alternatives to treating many of the types of anxiety, such as:
- and the use of cannabinoid products for sleep anxiety and insomnia.
Both conventional and alternative treatment plans typically include talk-therapy as an excellent way to work through the issues of anxiety.
Making the Switch to Natural Remedies
If you’re ready to explore the benefits of healthy living, it might be time to talk to your physician about natural, healthy and alternative ways to treat your conditions. Use these examples to spur the conversation with your doctor, but know that many illnesses can be treated with natural remedies and lifestyle changes. Here’s to a healthier lifestyle!