Weird, Wacky or Wonderful? Rules for Trying Alternative Remedies

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I love alternative medicine. I love learning about remedies our ancestors used for hundreds of years and new uses for age-old herbs. I’m open to trying most things, as long as it’s not risky to my health. I often choose an alternative option first over any over-the-counter medication.

But that doesn’t mean I believe they are all “miracle cures”.

Here are a few of the weirder things I’ve tried:

  • Onions in my socks to detox my system (it felt creepy and I didn’t see any results)
  • Giving my ADHD son caffeine to help him focus (there’s actual science behind this)
  • Meditating with quartz crystals to help balance my chakras (it’s probably psychosomatic but this makes me feel grounded and energized)

Although I’m completely open to trying new herbal remedies or alternative practices, I don’t make decisions without following a few key rules and beliefs. If you’re hesitant to try something that sounds really wacky, here’re a few guidelines that may help you make conscious decisions about your health.

To Tell the Truth – Or Not

I tell my best friend the crazy things I try. But I generally don’t tell everyone I know because it’s not always their business.

You have to figure out what you’re comfortable sharing. The recent interest in medical cannabis is the perfect example. There are many well-known medical benefits of cannabis, but that may come with harsh judgement you don’t want to deal with even though some versions of cannabis aren’t used to “get high”. Revital Magazine explains that “CBD is non psychoactive and will not give you a high like the other well known cannabinoid, tetrahydracannabinol or THC”. Yet, there is a stigma that this is still a drug and not medicine.

I know a few parents whose children have medical marijuana cards to treat neurological disorders. They are loving parents who want the best for their children and I’m not going to judge anything they do in the search to support their children’s health. However, not everyone is as open-minded as I am.

The bottom line is you aren’t under any obligation to share your family’s health choices with anyone. Of course, you can always share if you want to. But don’t forget that it’s a private matter, just like any mainstream medical decision.

Do Your Research

Generally, when I find out a new way to treat an issue, it’s because I saw something on Facebook. And you can find all kinds of crazy things on social media, including this nutty quiz to answer the burning question of which craft cocktail are you?

Putting an onion in my sock doesn’t put my health at risk. It was weird but would have been extremely cool if it worked. Just remember that obscure practices aren’t the same as any drug, herb, spice or plant you take internally.

Do your research and ask your doctor or pharmacist. For example, St. John’s Wart, a common herbal remedy for anxiety and depression, shouldn’t be used if you take Cymbalta (duloxetine). Some doctors frown upon any alternative remedy because it’s not Western medicine, however, that shouldn’t be your reason not to try something. Base your decision to try an alternative on your health risks and the possible benefit of the remedy.

Listen to Your Instincts

Some things make me uncomfortable. Like acupuncture. I haven’t worked up to that one yet.

I did try hands-on-healing because why not? All I had to do was sit there while people (about 10) put their hands on me. It was kind of weird but oddly relaxing. I probably wouldn’t do it again, but I’m glad I tried it once.

Stick with your level of comfort. The world of alternative remedies is huge. It includes practices like yoga, tai chi, meditation, and sound therapy. And taking odd things like apple cider vinegar, gentian violet, and tea tree oil. There’s also urine therapy that “chugging down one’s own urine could cure illnesses such as hyperthyroidism”.

I’m beyond “not comfortable” with that.

If you’re ready to dip your toes into alternative wellness, start with remedies and practices that don’t make you squeamish. Take this as seriously as you do with Western medical decisions and do your research.

The idea of alternative medicine is to find ways to stay healthy, with less side effects and more benefits. It’s also to take responsibilities of our own health, and put our wellbeing back into our own hands – even if a remedy seems ridiculous.

Because you never know what may be pure nonsense and may just be crazy enough to work.