What we consider to be alternative medicine today was not always so “alternative.” Around the turn of the 20th century, there were 22 homeopathic medical schools, more than 100 homeopathic hospitals and more than 1,000 homeopathic pharmacies in the U.S. About one third of all doctors practiced homeopathic medicine as their primary method of care. Like many sustainable solutions offered in Do It Green! Magazine, alternative medicine isn’t anything new – instead, it includes some of the oldest forms of medicine that have been tested for centuries around the world. These types of medicines are often sourced from natural elements such as plants, minerals and herbs and were not considered “alternative” in past generations.
Since the establishment of the American Medical Association (AMA) in 1847, FDA-approved synthetic drugs and medical devices have replaced many of nature’s most useful and powerful remedies. The AMA has long denied homeopathic practitioners membership and has also prohibited the use of most forms of alternative medicine in the practices of conventional doctors. In other areas of the world like Germany, India and Canada, alternative types of medicine that have been utilized for centuries (and over two millennia, in India’s case) are more integrated into conventional health care systems.
Herbalist and homeopathic practitioner Robert Gallagher, who works at Present Moments Herbs & Books in South Minneapolis says, “I’d like to see herbalism and homeopathy reintroduced into the medical community here so that patients have effective, less toxic options that could compete right alongside prescription drugs.” Gallagher states “If someone comes in with a headache, I ask them questions to discover other potential symptoms, find out the roots of the headache and treat the person as a whole. Rather than suppressing the headache like painkillers would, I try to cure it. It’s a very detailed process.”
CAUTION: As with any type of medicine, you should always consult a medical professional before starting a treatment, especially if you take prescription or other medications.
Here are a few of the natural home treatments of yesterday…
Acne: Diluted apple cider vinegar can help prevent future breakouts and stabilize the natural pH of your skin when used as a toner.
Hangover: You shouldn’t have, but you did. The fructose in a virgin Bloody Mary or a glass of OJ help to break down the excess alcohol in your body. Add a banana with breakfast and you’re on your way to feeling better.
Indigestion: Ginger does wonders for the digestive tract. Chew on crystallized ginger candy (available at most groceries) for dessert or drink a ginger tea with lemon and honey if your stomach doesn’t feel quite right after a meal. To stay ahead of the indigestion, eat a little yogurt before a meal.
Insomnia: Peppermint, honey and other herbs can calm the nerves and relax the body before bed. Prepare a tea with one tablespoon of sage, one of rosemary and two of peppermint. Steep one teaspoon of the mixture in one cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain and sweeten with honey, which is also known to encourage sound sleep.
Nasal Congestion: A stuffy nose really does benefit from steamy broth. You may breathe even easier if you add some spice to the soup – onions and hot chili peppers cause the nose to run naturally.
Yeast Infection: Raw garlic is yeast’s enemy. Cut one garlic clove to the desired “dosage” (the more exposed cut garlic, the higher the “dosage”), sew and secure a thread through it for easy removal (like a tampon) and place it gently inside the vagina overnight. Remove in the morning. Use plain yogurt to sooth the outside of the vagina and promote healthy bacteria.
Present Moment Herbs and Books Minneapolis, MN 612-824-3157 presentmoment.com