I came across the term “allopathic herbalism” a few weeks ago, where an herbalist mentioned that even modern herbalists are treating symptoms instead of trying to heal the whole person.
That phrase REALLY got me thinking: What in the world have we done with natural health??
Most natural health practitioners are using allopathic thinking when they treat people. They are STILL just treating symptoms! Instead of synthetic drugs though, they use synthetic nutrients or herbs just for symptoms. They aren’t usually looking at the body as a whole, nor do they ever use whole foods in their natural form to create a balanced way for a person to heal. Deficiencies and imbalances never deal with just one nutrient, one organ, or one symptom. And when it comes to fixing deficiencies, more is NOT always better.
I see it on so many natural health blogs too:
Dealing with anxiety? Take zinc. Have depression? Use magnesium. Adrenal fatigue? Here’s some ashwagandha. People are still “popping and praying” with natural remedies. This can be just as detrimental as pharmaceuticals! We are not just symptoms: we are all individuals, and this is why biochemical individuality is the best approach to health.
There are SO many variables when it comes to biochemical individuality: diet, stress levels, environment, thought patterns, activity levels, childhood trauma, genes, etc. You can have 5 different people dealing with the same symptoms but have 5 different root causes for each of them.
There is no problem with using certain nutrients or herbs for symptom relief while you are healing, we have to distinguish what is a crutch, and what is actually going to help us fully heal. We also have to take into account that nutrients in isolation can create a huge chain reaction with creating other deficiencies and imbalances. Not convinced about that? Read my Nutrient Interaction post!
While it is great that more and more people are turning to natural health, I wish more people would take a step back and realize something: All nutrients, foods, herbs, and spices have more than one function!
Nutrients also have many co-factors that are required for proper functioning, which synthetic nutrients won’t have in a proper balance (most will just have 100% daily value of each nutrient, something you’ll never find in nature).
Food isn’t important just for vitamins and minerals. There are SO many other components to food that you will never find in synthetic supplements: phytochemicals, fiber, fat, protein, carbs, bioflavonoids, carotenoids, plant pigments, amino acids, fatty acids, isothicyanates. indoles, coumarins, antioxidants, enzymes, and more! Some of these components (like bioflavoinoids) used to be considered vitamins all on their own because of their importance to our health.
Many of these components have been studied in their roles to help to protect against cancer and other serious illnesses. However, most of these studies show that they work best when in a WHOLE FOOD and not as an isolated substance, and especially not in very high doses.
The Tricks to Getting the most of your diet:
Healing the gut and liver, as well as having a varied diet is the key to getting the most out of your food. You HAVE to eat anyway- why not tailor it to your needs? As your gut heals, your tolerance for more foods will increase as well!
My ultimate goal is to help people realize that there are better ways to heal. We have individualized testing to help determine your personal deficiencies! You don’t have to guess. You don’t have to “pop and pray” when it comes to supplements (and some go upwards of 30-50 supplements a day!).