Alternatives vs Herbal Remedies

By | March 31, 2014

Alternatives vs herbal remedies is one of the age old debates in the circles of alternative and herbal medicine. While the differences aren’t great, they are significant enough to take notice of and should not be ignored.

What primarily defines alternative medicine is that it uses practices that are not considered a part of mainstream, western medicine. Alternative medicines can encompass:


When it comes down to it, alternative medicine is anything that is outside traditional medicine and does not use synthetically produced medicines.

Alternatives vs herbal remedies isn’t really a controversy for those that can discern the difference between the two of these treatment approaches. Home remedies are usually based on generations of traditions and beliefs. Many home remedies are ones that have been passed down from generation to generation in a family.

Other of these home remedies were developed well before the advent of modern pharmacology. Most often home remedies include the use of herbal extracts or preparations. They also often employ foods or over the counter medicines in alternative methods or treatments.

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One good example of a home remedy is the use of lemon juice as a hair lightener. Lemon juice has proven to be a much cheaper alternative to expensive hair color treatments and is more gentle on your hair. Another example of a home remedy is the use of Vicks Vapor rub as a way to remove toenail fungus.

Many home remedies are derided as a parts of old wives tales and are thought to really have no affect past a possible placebo effect. There is some truth to that and in some cases home remedies can cause more trouble or delay finding a real and effective treatment. For many years, one of the most common home treatments of a burn was to place butter on it, but in reality, butter does not really help in the treatment of a burn and its use may cause more problems than it solves.

When it comes down to alternatives vs herbal remedies, some herbalist clearly think that herbal remedies have higher efficacy in treating some conditions. Even in the herbalist community there are divisions of thought and practice. Some herbalists follow a Chinese line of thinking and use herbs from the traditions of the Far East. Others come at herbal medicine from a western philosophy and employ natural plants, minerals and fibers found in North American in their remedies.

When it comes down to it, almost all herbal remedies employ natural treatments usually derived from plants and minerals and are used to treat a variety of ailments and conditions. This applies to both those come at the discipline from the Chinese tradition or those that prefer a western philosophy.

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While there are differences and the debate of alternatives vs herbal remedies can continue, most practitioners and adopters of herbal and alternative medicines agree that traditional western medical thought needs to be more open minded about the use of alternative treatments and medicines. Both those that practice alternative medicine and those that use herbal remedies start from the same place and that is treating the a person in a holistic method and do not focus on a symptom, but look at treating the whole body while treating the specific condition.