Many people are turning towards natural remedies to cure their ails in order to reduce their environmental impact and prevent antibiotic resistance within their own bodies. Pharmaceutical drugs have become increasingly present in our drinking water and ground soils. This is a result of the excretions of humans and animals who take pharmaceuticals, as well as the incorrect disposal of unfinished prescriptions or expired medications.
Although natural remedies may seem like a better alternative, there is still a residual environmental impact associated with the production of supplements. Health risks also remain an issue if remedies are taken without first consulting your doctor. Additionally, if a natural remedy proves to be ineffective, it will also be contributing to the waste issue we are currently experiencing with expired pharmaceuticals. To choose the best eco-conscious option for you, consider some of the following information about herbal supplements and remedies.
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the body that helps to regulate our sleep cycle. Getting enough sleep is important to nurturing our body’s self-defense systems to keep ourselves healthy. Medications and lifestyle choices may disrupt the levels of melatonin causing insomnia or erratic sleep patterns. Melatonin works to trigger your body’s ability to sense daylight to naturally sync with the rise and fall of the sun (also known as the circadian rhythm). Melatonin is considered safe when taken in the appropriate dosages. In small populations, people experience headaches, dizziness, and anxiety as side effects.
St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort has been praised for its ability to improve one’s memory, as well as alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Its effectiveness has led to its popularity, however the side effects can be severe. The adverse effects of this supplement include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and sun sensitivity. Additionally, there are complications with numerous medications including birth control, heart medicines, and antidepressants.
Witch hazel is used topically and is useful for treating skin conditions such as sunburns, acne, rashes, and skin irritation associated with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and hemorrhoids. Applying witch hazel may soothe the skin and provide temporary relief for skin conditions but does not cure infections. There are no proven natural cures for STIs, only treatments, and if you believe you are infected should see a doctor immediately.
Holistic healers are advocates of eating unfiltered honey and unpasteurized dairy products from within 25-30 miles of your home to help reduce symptoms of seasonal allergies. The method works similarly to vaccinations by exposing your body to small amounts of allergy-inducing pollens and grasses that aid in building a natural tolerance to them. The adverse effect being you may experience allergy symptoms upon the consumption of such items. Be sure to do your research and know the source of any unpasteurized dairy products. The risk for a bacterial infection is largely elevated in unpasteurized dairy products that can lead to gastrointestinal issues and complications in pregnant women.
Arnica is used for bruising and aching muscles. It is most often used topically and is typically blended with a carrier oil or is sometimes petroleum-based. Arnica can also be taken orally to help ease constipation or reduce swelling in the joints. Be aware that ingesting arnica can cause your blood pressure to go up, quickening your pulse and causing shortness of breath. This can be particularly dangerous to anyone who is prone to heart conditions or high blood pressure. Large amounts of arnica supplements can cause damage to your liver and is best taken in small doses.
Ephedra has been used as an alternative to caffeine as an energy booster. It is accepted by followers of the Mormon religion, although caffeine is not and the pant has adopted the name “Mormon tea.” As a result of the caffeinated feeling, the plant is used as a dietary supplement to aid in weight loss. It has also been used to treat headaches, coughs, and cold symptoms. Much like caffeine, the side effects of ephedra are elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, shortness of breath, agitation, and dizziness. This may increase the chance for a stroke or heart attack for those at risk of cardiac disease. Do not mix ephedra with heart medications due to the risk of complications.
Ginger is useful for calming an upset stomach, for relieving joint pain and its antimicrobial properties help to ward off infection. It is enjoyable in tea form, but it can be eaten raw or taken as a supplement in pill form as well. If you have issues with blood clotting or are anemic, it is wise to limit your ingestion of ginger as it may cause complications with blood flow. If you have recently had surgery or are taking blood thinners, consult your doctor before consuming larger amounts of ginger.
As with any major changes to your diet or lifestyle, it is best to consult your doctor before doing so. Adopting healthy habits, such as spending time outdoors, getting enough sleep and exercise, and eating nutritious foods can all help to reduce your need for pharmaceutical drugs by preventing avoidable illness. By practicing self-care you are also helping to do your part to reduce your environmental impact.