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Re: What is natural ? Is it better ?

Posted by Adam on November 3, 1999, at 20:55:36

In reply to What is natural ? Is it better ?, posted by saint james on October 30, 1999, at 2:40:32

I work with a number of people from China, and one interesting aspect of "natural" or "traditional" remedies that they feel Western medicine generally overlooks is
the benefit of using a treatment that contains a number of ingrediants that work together to provide the therapeutic effect. It is not so much an intrinsic "goodness"
that being natural provides as the complex synergy of different components that is difficult to replicate in processed and purified medications. The tendancy in
Western medicine to try to extract the active ingrediants from an herbal remedy and synthesize them, for instance, can be counterproductive, not because the synthesized
version of a particular chemical is any worse, but because it cannot work in harmony with other agents.

I suppose in some instances, this may be true, insofar as a particular natural remedy may work better than even the sum of its parts if they are not in proper proportion,
and certainly better than any one part alone. The gestalt of ginseng, perhaps? However, there's no reason to believe that just because ginseng is "natural" it might
work better than a particular, highly artificial and pure and monotherapeutic drug for a particular ailment. I figure if the natural remedy is best, great, use it and
don't mess with it. But if an artificial remedy is better, use that.

Also, the idea that something natural is bound to be less toxic is pure rubbish in my mind. There's no reason to believe that a natural remedy couldn't be made less toxic
through processing in some cases. There are no blanket benefits to be found in naturopathy.

> In general I feel that many assume "natural" is something special. Natural meds are better is the general party line. To the chemist, there is no difference between a synthetic drug and the same drug produced in the body. Atoms are atoms, regardless of how you go about producing an end product. When you buy meletonin in the store you are buying a synthetic product; to make these drugs in the same way the body does would be very difficult and expensive. The end result is the same, the chemists know there is no difference so they go with the cheap route.
> So to me now the playing field is level; drugs are drugs. here is the states "natural" products don't have to prove they do anything because they are supplements. One pill claims to so lots of things. To me, extraordinary claims always need extraordinary proof. Double blind studies using est. protocols and controls.
> I like natural products (cleaners, household products, pet products, ect) because they usually are less toxic as nature has provided for a way to break these compounds. I like herbs, but I hold them to the same standard used on the meds I get at the Rx. I want to see dosage and bioavalibility info so I know what the effective dose is and what it will do in my body.
> I take Ginkgo because I live at 5,500 ft and often travel to areas above 9,000 ft. It works. I'm taking blue cone (or corn) flower (Echinacea) right now because I am a little sick. herbs don't have side effects because they are generally dilute so they work best for life's minor problems. nature is the ultimate biochemist, she has been cooking away long b4 we crawled out of the ocean so I'm really glad science is going back to nature. She has many compounds that we are just beginning to find out about. Ginkgo is a good example as there is nothing like it in the PDR. Call me a pagan scientist.
> j




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