Natural Healing and Your State of Health
The controversy surrounding natural remedies and natural healing methods have been raging for many years. From my perspective it is unnecessary, and I am sure this is based on the number of years I have been studying in this field.
It is unfortunate that so many health providers and others both in and out of the health care field believe there is no scientific basis for herbal or other natural treatment approaches. Hopefully some of the information presented to you here will assist you and your health care provider to better understand how “First Medicine” can be beneficial to health and well being.
In Natural Healing the focus is to create health. We look at symptoms, method of treatment, therapeutic products, therapeutic modalities, emotions, and responsibility in a way that differs from current medical intervention. The Harvard School of Public Health has reported that only 20% of medical treatments are proven to be effective. This leaves a very large chasm of fewer effective treatments prescribed to patients. This may be one of the reasons so many people are looking for help away from the medical system as it is today. Another reason may be the more than 100,000 drug reactions and deaths yearly from prescription medications. Just recently I did a consultation with a client in a rural Washington community. Her great comment was very simple: “You heard what I had to say. I have been trying for four years to get my doctor to listen to me.”
While an herbalist or natural healer may recommend herbs (whole herbal preparations only), diet and lifestyle changes, reflexology, yoga, hydrotherapy, massage, or other remedies and treatments that help you heal yourself, may be included.
This approach to health is not new. In the west these methods have been used for hundreds of years.
Many medical schools in the US, until the famous “Flexner Report” in 1910, taught herbal and natural healing methods. Herbal and natural healing remedies continued to be listed in the Merck Manual and the US Pharmacopeia / NF, well into the 1970’s. In the 1970’s, when I worked in ICU, one top gastroenterologist often used coffee enemas for reducing very elevated liver enzymes. Today, in mainstream medicine, this treatment is this called “quackery”.
The World Health Organization reports that 80% of the world’s population uses herbal and natural treatments as their primary form of health care. In the US, now more than 50% are using these remedies and treatments. As the number of people moving away from mainstream medicine grows, the effort to limit and control access to natural remedies and treatments becomes more limited. Doctors resist, insurance companies resist, and government resists. Pharmaceutical companies buy up herbal and vitamin producers, standardize products, and create synthetic products, while telling the public these are “herbal remedies”. It is interesting to note that many of these standardized products are made by selective extraction or concentrating of a single constituent. They and processed with acetone, benzene, methyl or butyl alcohol, carbon tetrachloride, and others, which harm the environment, and the person using the product. The public is also told that there is no scientific support for herbal or other natural treatments. Thousands of research articles have been published for many years, establishing the benefits of natural treatments and whole herb remedies.
As an example, foxglove, a wild flower here in Washington, was the first herbal to be isolated for its active ingredient, a cardiac glycoside – digitalis, in the early 1700’s, by the famed doctor and botanist, William Withering. For many years foxglove derivatives have been synthetically manufactured, and available only as a prescription. In this state this drug should be prescribed by a medically trained person. However, more people with heart disease might benefit from a whole herb, non-standardized natural remedy made from hawthorn. Hawthorn corrects arrhythmia, valvular insufficiency, strengthens the heart muscle, and improves congestive heart failure. This does not exclude diet and other preventive measures that should be addressed in cases of heart dis-ease. It does, however, offer a choice for the patient. Many clinically trained herbalists are more than willing to work with the medical profession for the benefit of the patient.
I always educate people to understand that whatever choice they make for their health care, they are the person in charge, and they are paying. I encourage questioning and expecting answers. This simple process seems to have been lost somewhere when the medical visit became limited to a slice of the person’s health concern. Lost is the person’s whole health.
And so, today, how is your level of health?
Are you breathing clean? Is your water free of pollutants and harmful additives? Is your food free from chemicals and genetic manipulation, full of living nutrients? Are your lungs and other eliminative organs doing an effective job to help you maintain good health? Do you live, work, and play without stress? Do you have positive / healing emotional and spiritual habits? (I keep a small note in a dish in my bathroom that reads: “nourish your spirit.” I see this several times a day, and it is a reminder to me to do just that!) How is the physical, emotional, and spiritual constitution, you inherited, and how do you choose to use it for your health?
All this equals your level of health: how your body, mind, and spirit respond to the environment and lifestyle you create.
Dr. Gayle Eversole is a long time natural health advocate and educator. Growing up in a medical family she developed her interest in natural health care at age 12, weaned in the 1950s on Organic Gardening and Prevention magazines. She is the Founder and Director of CHI (Creating Health Institute) and The Oake Centre for natural health education.
Gayle has completed education in psychology (1963), traditional naturopathy (1968), nursing and whole systems design (1969, 74, 75, 77), Oriental Medicine (1972), Mediation and Arbitration (1982 - 83) western herbalism (master herbalist - 1985), Ethics and counseling (1991), therapeutic aromatherapy (1998), Ayurveda (2000), homeopathy and flower essence therapy (2002).
In addition Gayle is a Reiki master and teacher, deeply involved in the study and use of American indigenous herbalism, and a certified Voice BioAnalysis practitioner. She holds many other professional certifications.
Based in the Pacific NW, Eversole's organization is a 501c3 tax exempt organization which serves internationally and has provided community and college based education; corporate wellness programs; consultation to health care professionals and the supplement industry; to business, organizations, and elected officials; established three community-based natural health libraries, and a veteran's resource program. CHI develops and manufactures targeted nutritional and herbal supplements.
Gayle is a highly respected educator, speaker, author and writer who is often sought by the media and natural health venues for interviews and her expertise. She recently joined a panel of experts for the natural products industry.
She has been associated with many professional health organizations, works closely with The Silver Valley Community Resource Center (www.silvervalleyaction.com), and is a founding member of the SnoIsle Coop.Mediation and Arbitration (1982 - 83) Coop. Currently, Eversole is working on new supplements and herbal remedies and novel uses for her unique sports supplement – ADVENTURX. Gayle publishes the Healthy Handout series, Natural Health News (2004), leaflady.org (1991) and simply4health.org (2006). She has published numerous books and articles, and contributes to other natural health publications. Her column, Health Matters, has been featured in mainstream media since 1991; Natural Notes on Health since 2002. She publishes two newsletters, herbalYODA Says! and the Diabetes E-list, and has an online radio program.