With each day more people are turning to herbs and vitaminsupplements to ease their pain and/or enhance their overall health. People are taking control over their own health and we're telling the medical profession that they are NOT the only answer. We are pressuring our doctors to become more enlightened and to educate themselves on natural alternatives.
I have only one concern. Too often people just jump onto the herbal bandwagon blindly without doing the necessary research. It's common to think that "herbs and vitamins are natural, they can't hurt you." Well, a cactus is all natural, but I wouldn't recommend you take a bite out of one!
For those of you who are not convinced, let me give you this analogy. You decide that you're going to calculate your own income tax this year. Unfortunately this is new to you and you're not up on all the tax laws. A licensed accountant provides you with a sample income tax return from a "typical" family. Would you just copy those numbers onto your form and send it in? NEVER! Your income may vary significantly from the sample given and you may have more dependants than they. You may have health care expenses or investments that are not reflected in the sample.
You may have to do some independent research to determine exactly what to claim, and how this is going to affect the final outcome of your tax return. You how devastating it can be to submit your income tax without doing the necessary research. Did that accountant give you bad advice? No. He gave you a guideline to work with, a starting ground. Now you need to incorporate your "unique" information into that guideline in order to make it work effectively for YOU.
Yes, herbs and vitamins can be very beneficial. But it is critical that you consider ALL of your health issues, and ALL medications you're on before deciding which supplements to take. You could be doing yourself harm, by helping one condition you may be hurting another. Here is just one example. It is well known that vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and is helpful to your health in numerous ways. It is beneficial for all heart conditions, cancer, cholesterol, arthritis, cataracts, Alzheimers, and many other health issues. You have likely read articles encouraging the use of vitamin E.
However, I caution you! If you are taking aspirin on a daily basis, or blood thining medications such as warfarin, DO NOT blindly take vitamin E. In fact, you should also be cautious of the following herbs in the same situation; garlic, ginkgo biloba, ginger and feverfew. Each of these herbs as well as vitamin E also prevent blood clotting. A combination of these could cause very serious health problems.
So you see how easy it is for big mistakes to happen? You may have read an article written by a qualified naturopath suggesting how helpful vitamin E can be for arthritis. You think to yourself "Great! Finally, I'll get some relief. I'll try it. It's only a vitamin, it can't hurt." Then off you go to your local health food store to buy vitamin E. Meanwhile there's been no consideration given to the fact that your doctor has you taking an aspirin every day for your heart.
Understand that the articles and books you read are suggestions... starting grounds. Now you must determine how this suggestion fits into your "unique" situation. It's not a bad idea to keep a Health Diary. List all your health conditions and the medications you take. As you make discoveries like this make note of them in your diary, so you don't forget.
I encourage you to find about 6 credible sources that you can refer to when making these decisions. Remember that nobody knows everything, not even your doctor. If we are going to exercise our right to take control over our health, we must also take on the responsibility that comes with it. It is YOUR health after all. And nobody cares more about you than you!
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