Ayurvedic Herbs vs Prescription Drugs
First off let me just say, I am not a hater of Western Medicine or even of prescription drugs. There has been tremendous strides with some very basic prescription drugs due to research. Take for instance antibiotics. If you ever had a severe sinus infection or ear infection, you need to have it taken care of fast! There are many necessary prescription drugs that can save you and that’s pretty darned important.
I do however have issue with the over use of prescription drugs when diet and lifestyle (Ahara and Vihara in Ayurveda), can make a bigger impact. Our medicine system today likes to put us all in the same box. If your cholesterol is over (fill in the blank here based on the latest numbers the pharmaceutical “research” tells us), you need to take a statin. If your sugar is high, you need to take Metformin. I’m not saying these are always bad, no, in fact, they are sometimes necessary. What I am saying is that we, as the general population, just follow around like sheep sometimes. Afraid to “discuss” with your doctor what your other options are. Heaven forbid, you wouldn’t want to make a physician mad!
Or there’s the other way of thinking, “There’s no way I’m giving up beef, so give me a statin!” Yikes!!
My issue with prescription drugs is that they can very easily go unmonitored. This happens in all health systems. There’s a lot of pressure on the doctors and pharmacists to work faster, work harder and in the process, no one is watching out for the little person, which is you and me!
In a perfect world, your pharmacist would help you do an annual review of all the medications you take. I work with seniors often, selling Medicare plans. Sometimes I have to close my lower jaw manually when I review the list of drugs they’re taking (I’m not nosey, I have to make sure the new plan will cover the drugs). They often pull out a shoe box full of their prescription drugs! In this role I’m an insurance adviser and not an Ayurveda practitioner, so I tread lightly on Ahara and Vihara. At the very least I suggest that they use just one pharmacy instead of looking around for deals at different pharmacies. Using the same pharmacy ensures everything is in one place and if requested, a pharmacist will take a look at everything you’re taking.
It’s important that were our own advocate! No matter what your age or what prescription drug you’re taking, be sure and review the literature that comes with that drug. Sometimes you have to go beyond that and use Google (Sage Google!) for your research because guess what, you won’t always see all the side affects of a drug in the literature. Case in point, do you know that aspirin can cause constipation? It’s not listed as a side affect but if you Google that, you’l l see what I mean.
If you’ve just started taking a new prescription or if you’ve been taking a prescription drug for years, (or should I say especially if you’ve been taking a prescription for a number of years!) read the information that accompanies that medication. Sometimes your life depends upon it!
Some prescription drugs are meant for short-term use, but they make such an improvement, we forget about that. Years later, you may start to hear about the long-term side effects which can be pretty scary. In a perfect world, you’d be prescribed a drug for a short term and that would come along with a practitioner session who would give you diet and lifestyle suggestions!
From an Ayurvedic standpoint, we try to get down to the nitty-gritty. We don’t just suggests herbs or formulations based on symptoms, our job is to find what’s causing the issue and then help you to fix it with Ahara and Vihara. We may also suggest herbs or formulations, but unless it’s a food item (like turmeric), we aren’t usually going to suggest taking a herb for a lifetime.
OMG, I feel like I’m ranting in this post, but it’s soooo important!
Take your health seriously and be your own advocate. Research, research, research!
Thanks for reading my rant today. I would love to hear your comments!