The term alternative medicine refers to a whole lot of remedies. I know herbal remedies pretty well but this is only a small slice of the whole alternative medicine universe.
I also know that many modern medical practitioners look down at herbalism. They shouldnt, seeing as how many of the medicines they prescribe regularly come from herbs. Many are still manufactured from herbs, in fact.
This unfortunate bias is starting to shift. A new model, termed complementary healthcare, is becoming more common everyday. This is when a doctor works together with alternative medicine practitioners for the best interests of the patient.
All sides benefit via this arrangement. Well start by considering the benefits of having an herbalist on the team. There are conditions that can be made worse with some herbs. Herbs also can have side effects, and can interact with other medications. Clearly, its important to know these things. I know most but not all of these, and the ones I dont know offhand I know where to get more information on.
Doctors, on the other hand, generally dont know these things. Very few doctors have more than a shallow knowledge of herbs. There are doctors who are concerned about their patients taking herbs because they dont know what the effects will be. That is where they should speak to an herbalist, like myself.
I work with doctors, and this is helpful to me because I cant prescribe. The doctor can do that because he or she has the appropriate training for this. When it comes to standard medicines, Id just be guessing as to what would work best and clearly that is not the way to go.
Another benefit here is traditional medicine. We shouldnt discount this form of medicine it can be very effective, and often it can get the job done when herbs simply cannot.
For instance, in case of a heart attack, youll want to go to the hospital. I cannot give you herbs that can save heart tissue; the doctors at the ER can. What I can do is to help you maintain heart health afterward, by recommending herbs that can help you regulate cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and thin the blood.
Complementary care is really the ideal model of care for patient well-being. When doctors and alternative medical practitioners work together, all parties benefit.