Drugs VS Herbs. What is the better choice?

Remember those 80's TV commercials saying "This is your brain on drugs!" and then it would splat an egg in a frying pan to try and scare you somehow? Well my advice is not that dramatic but I do hope it's helpful.

As a Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor that has 4 years of training working with herbal formulas and learning how each and every herb interacts with your body and how different drugs interact, I would say that I am always going to lean more towards the more natural choice. Yet having 10 years of experience in the western medical system, I do believe that there is a time and place for western medical drugs. There are times when the body is not producing certain chemicals, which are very difficult to reproduce. Also, I believe that both forms of medicine can co-exist in our society and within in our bodies, yet we must become aware of the possible side effects of any medication that we are consuming.

Please note that any advice given is not to replace your medical doctor and I advise you not to discontinue any prescription medication without consulting your MD first. Here is a TOP 5 LIST of why I prefer Herbal medicine over drugs.

TOP 5 LIST of Why Herbal Formula's can be a Better Choice

1. Herbs are Not Addictive.

There are thousands of reports on people addicted to prescription drugs. A Canadian study of opioid-dependent patients admitted to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto reported, 37% receiving opioids solely from physician prescriptions, 26% from both a prescription and “the street,” and 21% from the street. Most medicinal herbs help to overcome addictions and ease withdrawal symptoms. Whether quitting methamphetamine, pain pills, heroin, alcohol, or cigarettes, there are herbal remedies that can help break addictions and shorten the withdrawal periods. Kudzu is known to help overcome alcohol addiction. Oriental cultures have used kudzu root for centuries to treat alcoholism. Oat straw tea is good when fighting all addictions especially smoking and nicotine withdrawal. Siberian ginseng helps fight cocaine and opiate addiction although should not be used in cases of hypoglycemia, high-blood pressure, or a heart disorder. According to the article on http://www.everygreenherb.com/addiction.html.

2. Herbs don't Slowly Kill your Liver

You may have wanted the drugs for conditions such as High Cholesterol or Depression, and now you have liver damage such as Hepatitis C, Cirrhosis, Jaundice, or even Necrosis (death of the Liver cells). Not the side effect that you were hoping for. Many drugs cause mild elevations in blood levels of liver enzymes without symptoms or signs of hepatitis. AST, ALT, and alkaline phosphatase are enzymes that normally reside within the cells of the liver and bile ducts. Some drugs can cause these enzymes to leak from the cells and into the blood, thus elevating the blood levels of the enzymes. Examples of drugs that more commonly cause elevations of liver enzymes in the blood include the statins (used in treating high blood cholesterol levels) some antibiotics, some antidepressants (used in treating depression), and some medications used for treating diabetes, tacrine (Cognex), aspirin, and quinidine (Quinaglute, Quinidex). This according to the article on the website http://www.medicinenet.com/drug_induced_liver_disease/article.htm.

Certain herbs do help to detox the Liver such as Dandelion leaf, Ginseng, or Milk Thistle. These are all to be used in moderation and not to be mixed with any type of heart medications.

3. Herbs don't Steal Calcium from your Bones.

The Doctors are prescribing these medications for your Arthritis, Epilepsy, or Endometriosis and you may end up with Osteoporosis. Some types of medicines can cause bone loss, making your bones weak, if used for a long time. Use over a short time is usually not a problem. When you have weak bones, a condition called osteoporosis—your risk of bone fractures goes up. Glucocorticoids, also called steroids, such as Cortisone and Prednisone. They are used to treat arthritis, asthma, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions. Some medicines such as phenytoin and phenobarbital, used to treat Epilepsy. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRH agonists), such as goserelin acetate and leuprolide acetate. They are used to treat Endometriosis, Prostate cancer, or Female Infertility. Aromatase inhibitors, such as anastrozole, exemestane, and letrozole. They are used to treat breast cancer. This according to the website http://www.hormone.org/diseases-and-conditions/bone-health/medicine-induced-bone-loss.

I recommend taking Vitamin K2 for any type of bone loss, because it's a safer option and as it helps to build up the minerals within the tissues of our bones.

4. You Won't Overdose on Herbs.

Drug side effects may include nausea, vomiting and even death. An article from “CBC.com” shows that “from 2000 to 2010, overdoses of prescription medication resulted in 140 to 180 deaths annually.” The article also says that “When we look at the cause of death, we find that these deaths are typically accidental deaths.” The unfortunate truth is that some of these deaths could have been prevented merely from the doctors not administering the prescription. A study shows that in Alberta, deaths attributable to poisoning from narcotics or psychodysleptics (i.e., hallucinogenic drugs) accounted for the second-highest prescription drug-related death rate (3.8 per 100,000) between 2003 and 2006. In British Columbia: Between 2005 and 2009, there were 815 deaths related to fentanyl, hydromorphone, morphine and oxycodone. In Ontario: Data from the Office of the Chief Coroner show that opioid-related deaths in Ontario increased dramatically from 2004 through 2011. In particular, deaths related to oxycodone increased from less than 60 in 2004 to 160 in 2011. Deaths related to fentanyl also increased substantially over this period. This according to the study http://www.ccsa.ca/Resource%20Library/CCSA-Canadian-Drug-Summary-Prescription-Opioids-2015-en.pdf.

That is too many accidental deaths that I can't stomach knowing that each of them could have been prevented.

5. Medicinal Herbs have been Around for Thousands of Years.

It always baffles me when people look at me side ways and are so frightened to take a pill form of something as natural as Ginger or Peppermint, and yet your doctor can prescribe you a chemical made in a lab that you can't pronounce and you take it with no questions asked. The herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine have been used for thousands of years. Archaeological evidence indicates that the use of medicinal plants dates back to the Paleolithic age, approximately 60,000 years ago. Written evidence of herbal remedies dates back over 5,000 years, to the Sumerians, who compiled lists of plants. A number of ancient cultures wrote about plants and their medical uses in books called herbals. In ancient Egypt, herbs are mentioned in Egyptian medical papyri, depicted in tomb illustrations, or on rare occasions found in medical jars containing trace amounts of herbs.[10] Among the oldest, lengthiest, and most important medical papyri of ancient Egypt, the Ebers Papyrus dates from about 1550 BC, and covers more than 700 drugs, mainly of plant origin. This according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbalism

If it's been around that long I think we have had time to perfect it and test the results more to know the best solution for your body straight from Mother Earth herself.

PREVENTION is Key!

In conclusion to my points on why using a natural herbal medicine is preferred, I also believe that Prevention is the real key here. We must be actively trying to avoid any kind of sickness that requires a medication in the first place. The Su Wen explains when we may need drugs and when we may need certain foods to treat by saying “Toxic drugs attack the evil, five grains provide nourishment, five fruits provide support, five domestic animals provide enrichment and five vegetables provide filling.” Furthermore, Let us not fall ill in the first place by taking preventative care with exercise and a proper diet. To better our health and fuel our body through nature.

Thanks for reading, I hope your scrambled egg brain enjoyed this Blog!

Here's the Commercial, in case you wanted a chuckle today as I did. ;)

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