Lemon balm

The practice of medicine can vary significantly from one place to another. Research on rates of surgery and other interventions shows that this is true among geographic regions within the United States (Birkmeyer et al, Surgery, Nov. 1998). Different countries with distinctive histories and cultures may demonstrate even more marked variation in practice. One reader wondered why natural cures seem to be more popular in other parts of the world.

Why Don’t American Doctors Prescribe Natural Cures?

Q. I have found that herbal and natural cures are used frequently by doctors in Europe and elsewhere, but not as much in the U.S. Why?

A. American physicians used to rely on botanical medicines before the middle of the 20th century. In the late 19th and early 20th century, patent medicine peddlers selling herbal products gave natural cures a bad name. Such “snake oil salesmen” made unsubstantiated claims for their wares, which often contained a combination of herbs. Quality control was an unfamiliar concept.

By the mid-20th century, pharmaceutical manufacturers were promoting synthetic drugs. Standardized quality was an important selling point. Most medical and pharmacy schools phased out their courses in natural products around that time.

The Influence of DSHEA:

In 1994, Congress passed the Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act, DSHEA (often pronounced Duh-Shay). This legislation limited the ability of the Food and Drug Administration to regulate dietary supplements sold as natural cures. The result has been a proliferation of dietary supplements with little or no way for the consumer to distinguish which ones truly contain the labeled ingredient, at the labeled dose and without contamination.

This “Wild West” aspect of the dietary supplement market has made many American physicians wary. In places like Germany, Australia and the UK, herbs are treated much more like medications. Many health professionals include them in their prescribing practices. Because they are regulated, often by the same agency that regulates drugs, doctors are able to trust their quality. No doubt all of this plays some role in determining different attitudes toward natural cures.

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  1. GT
    Reply

    My entire childhood I was chronicly ill even with so called ‘experts’ keeping an eye out for me. Fast forward 14 yrs of antibiotics after antibiotics for my chronic kidney infections I almost died from these Medical experts (I call them LUNATICS) controlled by #bigpharma just to make more money and not to help the sick.I finally had enough,and totally stopped going to this Useless brainwashed MD’s. Instead I switched over to Homeopathy,herbs,vitamins- That was 20 yrs ago I have been the healtiest ever!!!!!! No more kidney infections – The moral to my story- the day you stop seeking help from your conventional MD (drug pusher) is the day you will start to heal…..

  2. Conrad S.
    Freeland, Michigan
    Reply

    There’s no money for big pharma in going natural plus natural remedies don’t have lobbyists or politicians in their back pockets…just take your vaccines, synthetic drugs, toxic food & fluoridated water and go sit in the corner…”we the sheeple” being blindly lead to slaughter… or are we?

  3. Mike
    Reply

    You are right about the middle to the 20th Century!

    The United States Pharmacopeia up until the middle 1950’s used to list herbals.

    My doctor does not believe in them, but when he gives me grief for my use of them, I am quick to point out that even if it is “placebo effect” and it works… WHO CARES!?!

    And then to push back a bit to equalize, I ask him if he is saying that “the human mind can control the human body”!?!

    I want to point out to all interested a wonderful book that I offered to buy him if he would read it… it is thoroughly grounded in his physical research and “science” and shows there is definitely something there… written by Dr. Joe Dispenza.

    I believe he is involved in the health care field and when in I believe his 20’s he was involved in a very bad accident in which he was told that he would never walk again. He was offered surgery as a last-ditch attempt to help with the chilling kicker that it was just a “hail-Mary” with NO guarantee to help.

    He refused and a few weeks later checked himself out of the hospital AGAINST his doctor’s orders and a few months later WAS WALKING again!!!

    The book is entitled “You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter”.

    My ONLY investment in this is the purchase of the book and reading it.

    • GT
      Reply

      100% agreed!

  4. Teacher
    Reply

    Natural remedies don’t always work just like meds don’t always work, but unlike meds, most natural stuff don’t have the side effects that meds do. PLEASE western medicine go to a more safer natural way unless it is a life threatening situation. Western medicine does have its place….getting things to a non life threatening state but then, look for the root cause and treat with more natural stuff! It throws your system off when you start putting synthetics in there!

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