Dietary supplements are available in many forms.
Alternative drugs include homeopathic remedies, traditional Chinese medicine, Western herbs and dietary supplements. These approaches provide alternatives to traditional Western drugs, many of which require prescription from a medical doctor. Alternative remedies are available without prescription.
Homeopathy operates on the concept that a tiny bit of an objectionable substance can stimulate the immune system to overcome that substance’s effects. For example, a homeopathic remedy for hay fever would contain a minuscule amount of pollen. The American Cancer Society notes that homeopathy is most frequently used for minor but chronic conditions, such as arthritis, asthma, colds, flu and allergies.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
The base of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is herbs, minerals, and some animal or insect parts. These elements are used to promote “cooling” (Yin) or “stimulating” (Yang) properties. Some popular herbs in TCM include ginger, peony, licorice, cinnamon, salvia and ginseng.
Like TCM, Western herbalism makes use of hundreds of years of experience in plant properties. Herbs can be used for specific remedies or as a general tonic. Common foods and herbs can have beneficial properties; Wellness.com indicates that garlic may ease high blood pressure.
Dietary supplements include vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. These supplements range from simple substances, such as flaxseed oil, to the more potent such as anabolic steroids.
Traditional drugs must list known effects and side effects on their packaging. Alternative medicines do not have to list any potential side effects. Per the National Institutes of Health, supplements must include this statement on their packaging: “This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”