The People's Perspective on Medicine

Show 1077: Dr. Andrew Weil on Drug-free Alternatives to the Meds You Take

Dr. Andrew Weil points out that integrative medicine offers helpful alternatives to many of the drugs we are taking, often at lower cost.
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Dr. Andrew Weil on Drug-free Alternatives to the Meds You Take

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Americans are taking more pills than ever before. Last year we shelled out more than $400 billion for prescription drugs alone. Over-the-counter medicines are also extremely popular. But all those drugs also carry some risks. Around half a million people suffer serious adverse drug reactions every year. Are there drug-free alternatives that would help many common conditions?

What Are the Alternatives for the Medicines You Are Taking?

There are, of course, times when drugs save lives. But for chronic conditions, changes in lifestyle may be equally effective and far less dangerous. Adopting a healthier diet, finding ways to manage stress, incorporating regular exercise into our lives and using mind-body techniques and supplements when they are appropriate can alleviate pain and inflammation. Such approaches are useful in managing many conditions for which people would otherwise take medications.

Integrative Medicine Has Other Ways to Manage Many Problems:

Our guest is renowned integrative medicine expert Dr. Andrew Weil. He covers the impact of direct-to-consumer drug advertising as well as the difficulties of stopping certain medicines. According to Dr. Weil, ads and the media often exaggerate the benefits and downplay the risks of many medicines. Why not find other ways of dealing with common conditions?

Type 2 Diabetes:

People with type 2 diabetes, for example, may benefit from a number of significant changes in lifestyle. In some instances, these alternatives can make medication unnecessary. We didn’t have time to include this in the broadcast interview, but you can listen here:

This Week’s Guest:

Andrew Weil, MD, is a pioneer in integrative medicine. He is the founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. He has written a number of books, including his most recent, Mind Over Meds: Know When Drugs Are Necessary, When Alternatives Are Better-And When to Let Your Body Heal on Its Own. Previous books include True Food, Fast Food Good Food, Spontaneous Happiness and Eight Weeks to Optimum Health.

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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My mother is in the hospital now suffering from Congestive Heart Failure & they are not sure whether she had a stroke or heart attack.. She is in her 2nd day & treatment seems to be making her better however the doctor is talking about putting her on a blood thinner called Warfarin..I am extremely concerned because of all the negative side effects my mother is 89 years old and didn’t even want to go to hospital.

This all started with a reaction to Tamiflu which was given because she had fever & thought she had upper respiration infection, after 3 days her feet swelled up like balloons-unable to get swelling down with fluid pills also taking b/p pills.. Is there any other drug or natural remedy that could be used.. She will be in for a couple more days could you please respond ASAP as this is crucial information for my Mom.

I just want to thank you for making your podcasts so much easier to connect to now. I love your program and I have put so much of your information into use. As a result, I have been able to cut down on some of my drugs. Ideally, I would like to get off of them totally. My doctor just keeps shaking his head at me, but he realizes what I am trying to do. I keep a close watch on my blood chemistry. Thank you for all the wonderful advice.

Hi, Dr. Weil,
Great discussion! I was wondering where I could find the Stinging Nettle herbal remedy?


natural substitute for codeine and gabapentin please?

Thank you and God Bless you Dr. Weil for bringing out yet another much needed topic to the forefront in medicine and to enlighten & educate us all toward a better conscious life in our overall health and well being.

It’s not only sad but quite disturbing how these big pharmaceutical companies greed has wiped out much of their integrity in what these drugs should be only used for the first place.

All these TV ads are doing a tremendous disservice to consumers and preying on people’s ignorance of how detrimental these side effects are, when just sometimes making a few life style changes is all you really need.

Hi, I used lemonade to lower a 240/100 mmHg BP to 135/65 mmHg. It’s marketplace lemonade. It comes in 5 pint bottles. I used 1 5 pint bottle a day for 3 days. I formed probably oxalate crystals in the kidney and cleaned them out. It’s been 2 years and my BP is still down! Also one can use hypnosis as a voice command way of treating your problems mostly used for pain. Try it.

I would love to know if Dr. Weil has any opinions or thoughts to share on Scleroderma. So few Drs. Know anything about it.
Thank you, EW

Include sleep apnea in the discussion about diabetes. Sleep apnea plays a big part in diabetes, hypertension, weight gain and heart disease. I have had sleep problems for many years and MDs would not help me until about three years ago when I had a sleep study test.

I was diagnosed with OSA. I have hypertension, over weight, heart problems and diabetes all of which are connected with sleep apnea. I am on Coreg for hypertension which can increase the risk for diabetes. Dig a little deeper to find the cause of any problem.

* Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^