What can we learn from older, traditional medical practices that have hundreds – sometimes thousands – of years treating disease and relieving symptoms without toxicity or risk of addiction?
Keep reading to learn about the Western drugs you take every day without thinking, how they might be destroying your health and what ancient traditions can teach us about staying healthy.
The Drugs You Don’t Think Twice About
Let’s look at five drugs we consider perfectly reasonable to consume – and in many cases indispensable for daily life:
- OTC painkillers of all sorts
Each of the items on that list is a drug, and the first three are psychoactive drugs that directly affect your nervous system and mental state. The last entry on that list: OTC painkillers – are insidious; OTC pain medicines don’t alter your mental state, but do come with a risk of toxicity even at recommended dosages.
Let’s take a look at each item on that list, the health impacts from its use and traditional substitutes that are ignored by Western medicine.
Caffeine is a large part of the average person’s morning. It was first extracted from the coffee bean in 1821 though anthropologists date its usage back to the late Stone Age. It’s probably the world’s most commonly used drug.
The best known source of caffeine is coffee which originated in Ethiopia and was later introduced to Arabia and the rest of the Middle East. It took until 1573 for coffee to be introduced to the Europeans.
Another source of caffeine is tea; which was introduced to Europe around 1657 and became a popular beverage due to its stimulating effect. By the end of the 19th-century cola products were popular around the world and became the most common vehicle for caffeine consumption.
Health Issues Associated with Caffeine
There are four health problems caused the over-consumption of caffeine:
- Exhausted Adrenal Glands: Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant; it stimulates the adrenal glands to secrete adrenaline, the “fight or flight” hormone that will elevate your heart rate, speed your breathing and raise blood pressure for a rapid response to danger. Overusing stimulants will exhaust your adrenal glands.
- Blood Sugar Swings: Caffeine signals the liver to release glycogen into the blood stream. Your pancreas responds to the increase in blood sugar by releasing insulin, the hormone which turns excess carbohydrates into fat. Within an hour or so, you’ll experience a sharp drop in blood sugar causing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) which will have your running to the donut box for seconds.
- Acid Imbalance: there are over 208 different acids in coffee that can cause indigestion and health problems from over-acidity exacerbating arthritic, rheumatic and skin irritations.
- Mineral Depletion: Caffeine inhibits the absorption of some nutrients and causes urinary excretion of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and trace minerals. Studies demonstrate that some women who drink coffee frequently have an increased incidence of osteoporosis compared to non-coffee drinkers.
Two Healthy Caffeine Substitutes from the Far East
Ancient Oriental medicine offers two healthy alternatives to caffeine that will help you kick the habit without sacrificing the stimulating effect that people enjoy.
Gingko Biloba is an herbal extract made from the tree of the same name. It has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries and acts as a vasodilator, increasing blood flow to the brain and extremities. People report sharper focus, a sense of well-being and even increased creativity when using it. Gingko Biloba comes in capsule, tincture or tea form.
Ginseng is extracted from the ginseng root and is a commonly herbal remedy in Chinese medicine. Used since ancient times, ginseng increases blood flow, and (like caffeine) produces a stimulating effect. Ginseng can reduce depression and relieve stress. It’s easy to find in health food stores and can be taken as a capsule or tea.
Consumed by smoking or chewing tobacco and also using e-cigarettes of different types – nicotine poses many health risks:
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Decreased immune response
- Negatively impacts reproductive health
- Affects cell proliferation, oxidative stress, apoptosis, and DNA mutation which leads to cancer
- Tumor proliferation and metastasis and causes resistance to chemo and radiotherapeutic agents
Nicotine Substitutes to kick the Habit
Although going “cold turkey” is one of the best ways to quit, there are substitutes that will help you kick the habit for good.
Kava-Kava from the Natives of the Pacific
For centuries, people have used the Pacific Island herb kava-kava as a recreational drug and treatment for psychological problems. The NIH reports that kava, which functions in a way similar to benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium, could help relieve anxiety, stress, and agitation. It may ease the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.
Calamus Root – a Vedic Tradition
The calamus plant is commonly known as Bitterroot or sweet flag. It contains psychoactive chemicals which can be used as a nicotine substitute. When it’s chewed, a combination of chemicals is released which exert both a stimulant and depressant effect similar to nicotine.
Western Painkillers Cause More Harm than Good
The research is conclusive; OTC painkillers are often worse than the whatever is causing your pain.
But what (healthier) alternatives are available?
3 Traditional Alternatives to Potentially Hazardous NSAIDs
Arnica with DMSO combines a homeopathic topical cream with DMSO as an adjunct to give fast pain relief from injury, arthritis, or sciatica. Adding DMSO speeds and deepens arnica’s topically applied efficacy
Turmeric reduces the pain and inflammation resulting from both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis and bursitis.
Devil’s Claw is a South African herb that has been popular in Europe for couple hundred years. It has proven useful as an anti-inflammatory for arthritis, tendinitis, and muscle pain.
This is a sore point in the western world as more parents become convinced that infant and childhood vaccinations are causing a broad range of serious health issues.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has centuries of experience dealing with infectious diseases and a long track record of efficacy and safety that many western families are beginning to take advantage of.
TCM uses variolation; a method that is the most popular form of smallpox vaccination in Asia to this day.
TCM considers that measles, mumps, and rubella are relatively mild viral diseases in children that resolve within weeks leaving the child a lifelong immunity to the disease, so should be allowed to run their course – while western style vaccine interventions have been implicated in life-destroying conditions like:
- Guillaume-Barre syndrome
- Immune disease
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Do Your Research
Globalization has opened a new realm of possibilities to the west. With the internet and easy worldwide travel, we have access to incredible medical and herbal knowledge based on ancient Eastern traditions with a history of safety and efficacy.
Do your research.
Are you taking health damaging drugs without knowing it?
Is what your Western doctor recommends the safest or most healthy way to treat your disease?
Or are you covering up the symptoms with potentially toxic substances? Educate yourself so you can understand what conventional medicine can do to help you – and what it can’t.