Using more natural medicine could save you significant amounts of money. It might also help cut the Nation’s health expenditures.
At some point, most people in the United States took on a mindset that only a doctor or a pharmaceutical drug can cure illness. That idea is simply wrong, not to mention expensive.
Whether it is due to brainwashing by the medical-pharmaceutical complex or simply a side effect of Americans’ collective “right now” attitudes, seeking out alternative and natural cures for illness is not a mainstream medical practice in the United States. But in many other parts of the world, nature’s medicinal help is the first line of defense against ill health.
Harvard researcher Christopher Golden is trying to better understand how taking a more natural approach to medicine might benefit Americans economically. His research shows that if people in the United States relied as heavily on natural medicine as inhabitants of Madagascar, they could save between 22 and 63 percent of annual health costs.
"If Americans were relying on traditional medicines as much as people in Madagascar, it could save them a major percentage of their health care expenditures," Golden says.
Natural Medicine Cabinet
According to the researcher, Madagascar is home to quite a natural medicine cabinet.
"We documented people using more than 240 different plant species to treat as many as 82 different illnesses," Golden says. "This data suggests that it can have quite an impact, financially."
Golden notes, however, that the differences between pharmaceutical drugs and natural remedies could make one or the other more effective in specific cases.
"Certainly, because there’s no proof of medical equivalency between these treatments, it could easily be an over-estimation to establish these values," Golden says. "But the bio-diversity in these regions represents a huge pharmacopeia, and there are many hidden benefits to the use of these sorts of traditional medicines. These medicines aren’t being improperly prescribed or mismanaged, and because they’ve been used for millennia, we know they’re not producing any type of negative side effects.”