What are the disadvantages of natural medicine?

Although natural medicine is popular for its health benefits, it is not exempt from causing side effects. Discover its main disadvantages.

What are the disadvantages of natural medicine?

Last update: 24 January, 2022

For centuries, natural therapies have represented a treatment option for many diseases. But while some praise its properties, others question its safety and efficacy. Although several of its effects have been proven in studies, the truth is that natural medicine has disadvantages.

The problem is that the idea that “natural is better” has been established because its side effects are not as aggressive as those of conventional medicine. In fact, some are sure that it can “cure” health problems instead of drugs. Unfortunately, this has caused negative effects ranging from mild to fatal. In the following space we tell you more about it.

Disadvantages of natural medicine

The treatments proposed in natural medicine have been useful in addressing the symptoms of a wide variety of diseases. From herbal remedies, to vitamin supplements, acupuncture and yoga, among other approaches, These therapies have been applied since ancient times in order to improve health.

What many ignore is that this form of medicine is not exempt from causing unwanted reactions, drug interactions and risks in people with special conditions. In addition, many therapies lack scientific research to support them and their level of safety is unknown. Let’s take a closer look at its main drawbacks.

Their quality control is not as rigorous

Unlike conventional medicines, which go through a series of quality control processes before going on the market, herbal and natural products are not always regulated. For this reason, many may not contain what they promise.

Regarding this, the Food and Food Administration (FDA) warns that what is natural does not mean that it is safe. Some supplements may even have hidden drugs among their ingredients that are dangerous.

For this reason, before acquiring products of this type, it is necessary to look for them to have some seal of quality. In addition, These must have a sanitary registration and must be well sealed. If it has labels like “miracle cure” or “all natural,” it’s best to be wary.

The acquisition of natural remedies must be done consciously. It is good to certify its origin and look for quality seals.


Not supported by conclusive studies

Much of the herbal remedies and dietary supplements have not been studied enough. Because of this, its level of efficacy and safety is unknown.

Although some research talks about its possible health benefits, the truth is that most have been done on animals or in the laboratory. Therefore, there is no full support for its use in humans.

Now, it is worth mentioning that some complementary therapies such as yoga, tai chi, massage therapy and meditation are becoming more accepted. Not only because its practice is considered safe, but because the evidence indicates that it does have benefits. Yes indeed, they should not replace conventional medical treatments.

Doses are poorly controlled

Another disadvantage of natural medicine has to do with the doses used during treatments. The lack of solid evidence makes it difficult to determine precisely what amounts are effective and safe. For this reason, consumption recommendations tend to vary depending on the therapist or the manufacturer.

In any case, it is important to respect the suggested doses on the labels. The fact that they are natural does not mean that they can be taken in an excessive way. If so, poisoning reactions and serious side effects may occur.

Effects take longer to manifest

Most drugs are designed to cause effects in a short time. Many provide a sense of relief within minutes or hours.

However, this does not usually happen with natural remedies. To experience its benefits it is necessary to take or implement them on a constant basis, for weeks or even months.

Cause mild and severe side effects

One of the main myths of natural medicine is that “it is better because it does not cause side effects”. Watch out! This thinking has led to quite serious consequences in some patients. Although these therapies tend to be less invasive than conventional ones, they are not exempt from causing damage.

As explained in a review article published in Clinical Medicine, Herbal remedies often contain pharmacologically active ingredients that cause side effects when ingested carelessly.

Reactions range from stomach upset, nausea, and vomiting to more serious consequences, such as kidney failure and liver damage. Herb-drug interactions that increase the risk of notable adverse effects have also been reported. This, added to the fact that some contaminated herbal remedies have caused deaths.

They are not a first-line treatment

As we have mentioned, one of the main disadvantages of natural medicine is that does not replace conventional medicine. Despite the wide variety of therapeutic proposals that it covers, there are no findings that determine that it serves as the treatment of first choice. Some therapies are accepted as complementary, but must be used under professional supervision.

The natural does not have to be immediately associated with the safe. Herbs and some therapies have side effects.


Recommendations for the safe use of natural medicine

That natural medicine has disadvantages is not a reason to demonize it. Like Western treatments, it has its pros and cons. In fact, right now there are therapists who propose the simultaneous use of both forms of medicine to provide a more complete approach.

The important thing is to be cautious when using complementary treatments. Although they are labeled as “natural”, their use has contraindications and risks.

Therefore, it is worth making the following considerations:

  • Verify the origin of the product: Some herbal medicine and supplement labs have years of experience and give more confidence in the quality of their products. They even have seals that support their quality.
  • Search the health record: This detail can make a difference when purchasing a natural health product. If you do not have it in order, it is better to avoid its consumption.
  • Find out about side effects and contraindications: On the internet you can find all kinds of information about plants, supplements and other natural remedies. It is key to find out when it is not convenient to take them and what doses are advisable.
  • Seek medical advice: Before any disease is suspected, it is essential to go to the doctor first. The professional will be able to evaluate which are the best therapies to overcome or cope with the disorder. Also, it will determine if natural medicine can help or not.

What to remember about natural medicine?

The benefits of natural medicine are often extolled, as it is considered less invasive than conventional medicine. Despite this, It should be applied with caution, as it is not as harmless as some believe. In fact, its excessive use and under certain conditions carries risks that can be lethal.

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