The herbal remedy: Educate not medicate

Darren D'Altorio

Cramps? Take Midol. Migraine? Pop an Excedrin.

One doctor begs to differ. He thinks more conservative, herbal approaches are a better way to go for common ailments.

Herbal treatments come in a variety of forms: Teas, oils, syrups, liquid extracts and dry extracts such as pills and capsules are some of the most common types of herbal medicine.

Dr. James Krystosik is a Solon chiropractic family physician, clinical nutritionist, author and host of the radio show “The Other Side of Medicine.” He believes in the power of herbs, proper nutrition, lifestyle modifications and natural medicines to treat illnesses and empower people to live healthy, energized lives.

“We’re not just our body,” Krystosik said. “We’re not just mechanical machines. We have minds, emotions and spirits. That is the natural, holistic approach, to look at the interaction between the mind, body and spirit and try to treat the whole person.”

Krystosik said the body is self-healing and self-regulating, and natural medicine cooperates with the healing power already inside the body.

He said conventional medicine only uses about 10 percent of the body’s capacity to heal itself. Natural physicians try to recruit that other 90 percent of the body’s ability to heal itself.

“Dropping your body off to the doctor like you do your automobile to the mechanic is ludicrous,” Krystosik said. “If you work with your body and cooperate with your body, you can achieve health and overcome illness.”

“One nation under medication”

Despite the encompassing approach holistic medicine takes, there are still stigmas about natural, herbal medicine and its place in modern treatment.

Krystosik said these myths and misunderstandings stem from the fact that medicine in the United States is controlled by the pharmaceutical industry.

“Medical schools are funded by the pharmaceutical industry,” Krystosik said. “They will bend and twist everything to sway towards their way.”

Krystosik said the herbal industry doesn’t have the money to fund massive testing like the pharmaceutical industry does, so the effectiveness of herbal treatment is suppressed, twisted and spun negatively.

“Every single day in this country, 365 people are dying from properly prescribed drugs,” Krystosik said, referring to prescription drugs that sometimes don’t work. “That’s equivalent to a jumbo jet going down every day. If 365 people were dying each day from herbs, it would be all over the newspapers.”

Krystosik said the pharmaceutical industry wants “one nation under medication,” and they are getting closer to that goal. About two-thirds of Americans are taking prescription drugs.

But herbal medicine is gaining popularity. According to the article “Herbal Medicine” published by the University of Maryland Medical Center, about 80 percent of people worldwide rely on herbal medicines for some aspect of their primary healthcare, including one-third of Americans.

Krystosik doesn’t think herbal medicine should replace all conventional medical care. He said people should seek professional medical care for medical emergencies such as heart attacks.

Contact features reporter Darren D’Altorio at [email protected].