Natural Medicine can be simply defined as any system of medicine that complements and enhances the body's natural capacity to heal by restoring balance without the use of synthetic drugs or chemicals. Natural medicine generally falls under the umbrella term of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). The various disciplines of natural medicine are highly diverse in foundations, philosophies and methodologies.
However, although heterogenous, the major systems of natural medicine have many common central characteristics that provide a clear distinction from the mainstream medical ethos. These core tenants include a focus on individualising patients from the disease, hence individualising treatments, treating the whole person (as opposed to the disease process a separate entity), promoting self-care and self-healing and recognizing the core psychological and spiritual nature of each individual. In addition, many systems focus on good nutrition, lifestyle and preventive practices.
Although natural medicine is associated with less scientific investigation, this knowledge gap is being addressed with an explosion of scientific research into natural medicines and the various principles on which they are based. It is estimated that one third of natural medicines have some published literature supporting their use. In many European countries and America, many, if not most, practitioners of natural medicine systems are registered medical physicians. Therefore, the differences between the numerous natural medicine modalities and conventional medicine are increasingly blurred and are constantly changing.
Why do we need Natural Medicine?
Natural medicine is the answer to people who are unable to take prescription drugs, either because they are allergic to them, or because they cannot tolerate the long term side effects of chemical drugs.
Natural medicines can be used in parallel with conventional therapies to improve the health of the individual and to enable the body to recover quicker.
Natural medicine broadens the public choice of remedies for common ailment
Natural medicine has a lower profile of side-effects compared to chemical Western Medicine.
Natural medicine can be very cost-effective and is ideally suited to primary health care.