Discovering the benefits of Homeopathy, Herbalism, Aurveyda, Naturopathy and Supplements / Nutrition.
Outside of conventional medicine there are so many options to choose from when it comes to taking care of our health. Homeopathy, herbalism, Aurveyda, Naturopathy and Supplements/Nutrition, all have one thing in common: They all focus on health of the whole body. These natural medicine practices are rooted in the belief that the body can heal itself with support of natural sources, and that continued support is beneficial in the prevention and treatment of disease. So how do we choose? Understanding the function and purpose of each can help you narrow down practices that will be most helpful for the conditions that ail you!
Below is a summary of various alternative medicine methods I have incorporated into my own wellness practices, including the what, when and how I like to use them!
According to the Canadian Society of Homeopaths, Homeopathy was originally developed in Europe in 1796 by practitioner Samuel Hahnemann. He believed that using tiny amounts of natural substances, such as minerals and herbs, would encourage the body's ability to heal it’s self, relieving painful symptoms and improving overall health. Solutions are generally diluted and designed to be gentle and safe for the body. However, just like conventional medicine, some people do experience negative side effects from certain remedies. My word of caution to everyone is that just because it is, "natural", does not always mean safe!
In my journey, I have included the use of homeopathy in the treatment of headaches, sore muscles, and kidney stones. When my kidney stones flare up I take Chanca Piedra capsules which is an herb known to help break down crystals in the kidneys . For headaches and muscle pains, I use essential oils such as peppermint, lemongrass, eucalyptus, and lavender which encourage blood circulation, relieve tension and relax sore muscles.
I encourage you to wander into your local health food store if you haven't yet! Take a look around and see what kinds of remedies are available and what might interest you in using to support your health. As always, before trying any remedy make sure you are properly informed. Make yourself aware of side effects, be responsible with taking prescribed dosages, and always consult a trained professional if you have questions.
According to the Canadian Herbalist Association of BC, Herbalism, or Phytotherapy, is much like homeopathy in that it focuses on the use of plants in support of good health. Herbalists spend a large part of their study exploring botany and the chemistry involved in combining herbs for specific treatments. Widely practiced in Asian, and African countries, remedies are often made from herbs into a tea, or mixed and diluted to be applied topically to the skin. Popular treatments include stress relief, pain relief, and immune system support.
In my journey, I have used herbalism in the treatment of yeast, as a relief for cold and flu symptoms, to calm anxiety, and the treatment of pain. For example, I regularly ingest oregano oil an anti-fungal agent for yeast, and I also use it in a nose spray when my sinuses flare up from a cold. To help with anxiety, I use loose leaf camomile to make tea, and have taken st. john's wort on occasion to relieve some of the more difficult symptoms. To relieve pain, there are several herbs that can have anti-inflammatory properties that work well in hot or cold compresses. I specifically like arnica cream for sore joints, and aloe vera gel for sunburn. Making a eucalyptus compress for cold symptom relief, or a lavender compress for puffy eyes, is as simple as diffusing the herbs in water (like you are making tea) and soaking a soft cloth in the infusion. This can then be rung out and applied, hot or cold (depending on your ailment) to bring relief.
It is amazing how many things we can use in nature to soothe our aches and pains. Why not try natural remedies first? You may be surprised at how much they can help!
According to the Canadian College of Aurveyda and Yoga, Aurvedic medicine is an ancient practice originating in India over 3000 years ago. Practices revolve around achieving balance between body, mind and soul, which are often paralleled to the various elements of nature. Treatments are diverse, but not limited to dietary plans, meditation, message, yoga, and herbal remedies.
In my journey, I specifically like to use Aurvedic practices to build my strength and flexibility, as well as relieve stress and create natural beauty products. In yoga, I follow a specific set of stretches to relieve back pain, and improve kidney function (since this has been an issue for me). I also enjoy the occasional guided meditation as a way of calming my mind and focusing my thoughts, using the Simple Habit app. When it comes to home made beauty products, I found a few Aureveydic recipes to improve skin tone. I specifically like to use rose water as a skin toner, and I make a face mask with honey, yogurt and olive oil to nourish my skin especially after being out in the sun.
Overall, incorporating these practices into my routine has allowed me to cut down on the noise in my life, make time for peace, and avoid harsh chemicals found in many products geared to women. I have experienced zero negative side effects of these practices and I encourage you to find inspiration through Aurvedic medicine and make time to be kind to yourself in whatever form that may be!
Naturopathy is a recognized practice of medicine that incorporates many of the methods above, including the use of herbs and the control of diet and exercise to effectively heal the body. According to the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, doctors in Canada attend a minimum of 4 years post secondary education, they are granted certification, and their practices are recognized by many insurance companies as beneficial medical intervention. Naturopathic practitioners can order blood work, x-rays, and in some cases prescribe prescription drugs.
In my journey, I have seen a naturopathic doctor for allergy and food sensitivity testing. I have had electro dermal food allergy testing in the past, and this greatly helped ease symptoms I was having due to sensitivities to foods such as eggs and dairy. You can find more about it here. This test is non invasive, and you don't need to be consuming foods recently for results to be accurate. From my experience, I found this test extremely accurate and much less expensive than blood work. Combining this with the popular elimination diet, I was able to adjust my diet and eat in a way that was healthier for my body.
Generally, naturopathic doctors are an excellent resource when it comes to trying out alternative medicine. Since their practice often incorporates various methods, I encourage you to find a naturopathic doctor that you trust, as a great starting point for improving your health.
One of the things I feel especially strong about is using food as medicine. The popular phrase, "You are what you eat", is well known for a reason! Everything you put into your body has a direct effect on your health. As I have described in earlier posts, especially when it comes to treating specific conditions like Candida, diet plays a huge role in feeding or eliminating the problem. Check out my post on, "To Eat or Not to Eat: That is the Question...", if you haven't already. A high carb, high sugar diet is the number one contributor to the majority of health problems people in the western world are facing today. Whether you suffer from any ailments or not, I guarantee that changing your diet to incorporate more whole foods and less processed foods will make a huge difference in how you feel!
So, if we eat well, stick to whole foods, and healthy fats do we really need supplements? In my experience, it depends on the individual. Unfortunately, even our whole foods are not as nutrient packed as it was 100 years ago. Supplements such as magnesium and B12 are important for everyone. If you aren't getting enough in your diet it is always a good idea to include a supplement or two. For someone like me, who is dealing with leaky gut, and Candida, I also take supplements that help kill yeast (Candida cleanse), and protect my stomach (probiotics and digestive enzymes). Without these, I suffer from pain and bloating, not only in my gut but my entire body. Absolutely worth it, in my opinion.
Overall, if you are considering taking supplements, make sure you do your research. Talk to a professional if you plan on combining different ones to make sure they don't interfere with one another or that you are taking the right dosage.
Natural medicine has been around for hundreds of years. Most of our modern medical practices today stem from alternative practices, including the discovery of some of the most powerful antibiotics used today. Supporting your health with the use of these methods can have a significant and long lasting effect on your quality of life and overall wellbeing. Before leaving you to continue your own journey, I feel it is important to note that while I encourage the use of these methods to support your health, I do not promote them as a replacement for modern medicine. I strongly believe there is a need for all forms of medicine and that they can and should be used in conjunction with one another. Most importantly, no matter what products you choose to use, always be informed and make sure to consult a professional so that you are getting the optimal results from your efforts. Be curious friends, ask questions, invest in your health, do what you can naturally to support your efforts -because what better way is there? Above all, listen to your body -take care of it in every way you can because its the only one you've got!
-Live Laugh Lemons