Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Let Nature Be Your Band-Aid

by Allison Brooks

Healthcare costs have risen exponentially in many parts of the world. While the leading cause of death in the United States used to be an infectious disease, it has been replaced by heart disease, cancer, and other 'lifestyle' diseases. While heart disease and cancer may be caused by genetic or environmental factors in an individual's life, these diseases are often the result of poor diets combined with a sedentary lifestyle. While many people choose to medicate these self-induced diseases with a combination of pharmaceuticals, it's often possible to achieve better health through lifestyle changes and natural medicine.

Most modern medicines are derived from nature. For example, the chemotherapy drug Taxol originates from a type of pine tree. Penicillin was originally derived from microorganisms found in the soil. While nature can often provide a variety of treatments, it's important to talk to a doctor before making any healthcare decisions.

High blood pressure can be treated with a combination of fish oil, magnesium, and hawthorn extract. While many people take antidepressants like Prozac and Zoloft for depression, it's often possible alleviate depressive symptoms through the use of St John's Wort. St John's Wort works as a natural selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, and can be very effective at alleviating depression and anxiety.

Many other health ailments like insomnia can be treated with natural substances. Most medications designed to treat insomnia carry the risk of addiction, and may have serious side effects. There are many natural alternatives that allow one to achieve restfulness in a healthy way. Theanine, lemon balm, relora, and melatonin can be very effective at improving sleep quality and restfulness.

It's also possible to achieve weight loss through the proper use of natural supplements. There are many natural substances that can be extremely effective when combined with diet and exercise. Yohimbe is often used as a natural stimulant to help boost energy and lower appetite. It's also possible to increase one's metabolism through the use of green tea extract, and other natural antioxidants. These natural alternatives are ten times better than the leading weight-loss drug called, amphetamine sulfate, which can cause heart palpitations, an increase in blood pressure, and other serious cardiovascular problems.

While natural supplements can be valuable in improving one's health, supplements should be combined with a healthy lifestyle to achieve maximum longevity and overall health; this is why many integrative health facilities are adopting natural therapies to complement conventional treatments.

 Allison Brooks is a recent graduate of the University of Mississippi. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Anthropology and has continued her research to work towards a complete ethnography. She mainly focuses on the effects of biomedicalization on different cultures, but also branches off into other fields of anthropology.

Allison's new blog can be found by clicking here

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