Nat­u­ral reme­dies: are they witch­craft or won­drous?

Kapi-Mana News - - ANIMALS -

Are nat­u­ral reme­dies as good as some peo­ple think?

First, I think, it is im­por­tant to re­alise that among the nat­u­ral (or ‘‘al­ter­na­tive’’ or ‘‘com­ple­men­tary’’) reme­dies there are a vast ar­ray of dif­fer­ences.

I say this since many think herbal is the same as home­o­pathic or nat­u­ral means un­pro­cessed. They are not the same.

Even among the home­o­pathic prac­ti­tion­ers and chi­ro­prac­tors, there are di­vi­sions on what is the true way.

The main thing most peo­ple dif­fer­en­ti­ate these reme­dies by is that they are not pro­duced by drug com­pa­nies.

A drug or reg­is­tered medicine is a prod­uct sci­en­tif­i­cally proven to be ef­fec­tive in treat­ing cer­tain spec­i­fied con­di­tions as well hav­ing the side­ef­fects and ad­verse ef­fects known, as part of their test­ing to achieve reg­is­tra­tion.

Nat­u­ral reme­dies are not proven, and some­times the ac­tual ac­tive agent within them is not even known.

The side ef­fects and ad­verse af­fects that these reme­dies may have are not quan­ti­fied.

Many peo­ple equate nat­u­ral with safe. Is snake venom safe? Is fox­glove safe? Is deadly night­shade safe? No.

I have a Poi­sonous Plants of New Zealand book that de­scribes over 200 plants in New Zealand as clearly dan­ger­ous and some­times fa­tal to peo­ple and an­i­mals.

Is nat­u­ral bet­ter than man­u­fac­tured? Not if it con­tains im­pu­ri­ties. Not if what is in it is ac­tu­ally un­known.

The other con­cern I have with nat­u­ral reme­dies is be­cause they are not li­censed or reg­is­tered prod­ucts, they do not need any qual­ity con­trol.

Five years ago an Aus­tralian com­pany sell­ing a prod­uct claim­ing to have a cer­tain amount of glu­cosamine in it on their la­bel ac­tu­ally only had one-tenth of what it said.

I es­pe­cially cringe at the reme­dies that claim to cure ev­ery­thing from acne to can­cer.

If they were that good do you re­ally think we would be us­ing any­thing else?

An­other con­cern is the tes­ti­mo­nial ap­proach to sell­ing nat­u­ral reme­dies.

In other words, a per­son or per­sons rec­om­mend them based on their ex­pe­ri­ence.

Hardly a sta­tis­ti­cally valid ap­proach, but given that they usu­ally have no sci­ence be­hind them, how else can they sell these prod­ucts?

I think many peo­ple think that be­cause drugs are mainly made by large cor­po­ra­tions that make prof­its, their prod­ucts are evil – de­spite the fact that they have greatly im­proved both the life span and qual­ity of life, in hu­mans and in pets, over the past 50 years.

And also de­spite the fact that any­one or com­pany sell­ing a nat­u­ral rem­edy is also try­ing to make a profit.

I do not be­lieve all nat­u­ral reme­dies are use­less, but I do think peo­ple should not as­sume that nat­u­ral is good and man­u­fac­tured medicines are bad.

Ask a di­a­betic to try and get by with­out in­sulin. The home­o­pathic ver­sion is just not go­ing to do the job.

Dr Ian Schraa is an ex­pe­ri­enced vet­eri­nar­ian and the owner of Rap­paw Ve­teri­nary Care.

Rem­edy roulette: One needs to be care­ful when weigh­ing up the ben­e­fits of nat­u­ral reme­dies ver­sus reg­is­tered medicines for them­selves or their pet.

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