I think every profession has pet peeve phrases that make you want to roll your eyes. I know mine does. There is a lot more to home remedies than the “all natural” part. If you want to use home remedies…and I’m all for that…practice caution. Here are some pros and cons of these natural remedies.
Natural: Home remedies do tend to be natural products in their natural state. Often this is helpful because chemicals to maintain freshness or preservation aren’t in them.
Inexpensive: Salt and baking soda are very inexpensive and helpful in a variety of ways. So are the spices in your spice rack and even the foods and beverages common to most kitchens. Even the cob webs are useful if you know what to do with them, and most houses have at least one somewhere.
Readily available: Some home remedies require a trip to a health food store, but many don’t. If you don’t already have them in your kitchen, they are as close as the corner supermarket. As they also don’t require a prescription you can be in and out a lot faster than some pharmacies.
Doctor recommended: I have heard a few doctors recommend home remedies to their patients. Garlic supplements, fish oil and cherry juice are three. They can help with blood pressure, infections, cholesterol and gout. The hardest part is finding a doctor with knowledge of the benefits of home remedies.
Side Effects: Everything has side effects. Home remedies, including herbal preparations are no different. Sometimes those side effects are beneficial and sometimes they are harmful. Make sure you know what can happen when you use a home remedy. It may require further research and a different manner of approach.
Interactions: Many drugs are actually made from herbs. Digitalis is a good example; it’s still made from the foxglove plant. These statements mean that herbs and other home remedies can interact with each other, with drugs and with some medical conditions. Treat home remedies like you would treat prescription medicines and make sure you will be safe taking them.
Pregnancy: Herbs pass the placental barrier just like drugs. Some can cause uterine contractions. Others can cause birth defects. It is extremely important to check with your OB before taking any home remedy.
Safety Issues: These are for herbs primarily found in health food stores. Grocery store herbs are usually on the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) list. Ephedra and blue cohosh can cause life threatening problems. They aren’t on the GRAS list. They aren’t recognized as safe. Before purchasing or harvesting herb related home remedies, talk to your doctor or a qualified herbal practitioner.
This last bit is for both pro and con aspects of home remedies. It is never a good idea to self diagnose and self prescribe. See the appropriate professional for your own safety.