Don’t hate on herbal methods

You can support pharmaceutical and herbal remedies

Graphic by: Charlie Zitta | Production Mannager

“I’m both pro-herbal medicine and pro-vaccination because you can treat burns with aloe vera juice and sore throats with lavender-infused honey but you can’t rid a country of polio with plants,” said Tumblr user sedumjoy.

With the start of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, there has been more discussion than ever on the safety of vaccinations. Many people who generally favor vaccinations seem to be feeling apprehensive about these new vaccines.     

Those who are against vaccination in any situation are often referred to as anti-vaxxers. The anti-vax movement has become increasingly common in the United States and only seems to be growing during the pandemic, though those who refrain from the COVID vaccine may not consider themselves full-fledged anti-vaxxers.        

So how do anti-vaxxers plan to stay healthy? For many of them, the answer is herbal remedies. Since the anti-vax community has rightly acquired much contempt (Buzzfeed released an article titled “The Absolute Dumbest Things Anti-Vaxxers Are Actually Saying During the Coronavirus Pandemic”), it seems that the idea of herbal medication has also been scorned. And perhaps it should be in certain situations. I mean the claim that drinking orange juice will cure COVID-19 is ridiculous.

But I am here to vouch for the safe use of herbal remedies in conjunction with pharmaceutical medicine.

First of all, herbal remedies won’t always work the same for different people, in the same way that medications can have differing effects. The best thing to do is to research your options. You may find that, despite lavender being the most popular herbal remedy to stress, it has no effect for you. Or maybe you decided to try a melatonin supplement before getting a sleeping pill, but it keeps you up rather than putting you to sleep.

These are not uncommon occurrences in either natural or pharmaceutical medicines. Even with doctors you often have to try more than one medication before you find the one which works for you without concerning side effects. On three separate occasions, I have been given a common medication for my symptoms and have had to switch to something new because it did not work properly.

I have had this happen with both my prescriptions and with herbal remedies. Though activated charcoal is especially good at ridding the body of toxins, it will not work for me because it may also rid my body of the prescription medications I take.

For me, a combination of natural and prescription medicines have been my solution. I am on a common anxiety medication which helps but does not cure me. When I have breakthrough attacks it’s lavender I turn to in order to help me calm. I am on a common migraine medication but I will still have around six migraines a month. When these breakthrough migraines occur, I look for peppermint, eucalyptus and camphor.

Herbal remedies can be less expensive, are often helpful in strengthening the immune system and there are typically fewer side effects. Herbal remedies are realistic options to heal mild illnesses and injuries. That is the purpose and should be the extent of herbal medicine, though. As the original poster said, “you can’t rid a country of polio with plants.” Serious illnesses, mental disabilities and injuries should always be treated professionally with pharmaceuticals.

I use herbal medicine to supplement my own medications because I see it as healthier and it is what helps me the most. With my already numerous pill bottles, I don’t see the value in adding more for issues I can deal with naturally. In saying that though, it is important to confirm with your doctors that there are no reactions between your herbal and prescription medications.

So get your vaccines and prescriptions but don’t forget about the benefits of integrating herbal remedies.