Patient’s Guide to the Use of Natural Medicine

The term “natural medicine” refers to any nutritional supplement or herbal formula used for a therapeutic purpose. Natural medicines differ from pharmaceutical drugs in that they are naturally occurring, are not synthetic chemicals, and when used properly are relatively free of adverse reactions.

However, these formulas are still medicines. When used inappropriately, they can cause harm. For this reason, natural medicines are best taken on the basis of an individualized clinical assessment performed by a licensed health professional with training in this field. While there are dozens of folk remedies (e.g. ginger tea for most digestive problems) that can and should be freely used by everyone, the use of potent vitamin, mineral, and herbal preparations should not be left to chance—or to the advice of an untrained individual. I have had the privilege of helping train thousands of clinicians since 2001 in the effective use of Standard Process therapeutic food concentrates. These health professionals have spent years mastering their methods of clinical assessment, as well as the responsible use of herbs and nutritional supplements. They have the knowledge and training necessary to provide an integrated, holistic approach to restoring and maintaining health.

The nutritional formulas we recommend are natural vitamins. Most vitamin preparations are synthetic or fractionated vitamins derived from chemicals. They have a pharmacological, drug-like effect on body chemistry rather than a nutritional, rebalancing one. Dr. Royal Lee documented the research showing that too high a dosage of an isolated vitamin fraction caused the same symptoms as a deficiency of the vitamin. For these reasons they can accurately be described as over-the-counter drugs. Because the body is designed to assimilate nutrients from foods, not chemicals, the individualized use of natural formulas leads to consistently positive results.

Nutritional and herbal medicine is one of the safest and most effective ways to both regain and maintain health—especially when tailored for individual use. We look forward to bringing you natural medicine with a broad-based, integrated approach that will improve the quality of your life and health.

Some Suggestions for Using Natural Medicines

1. It is best to divide the medicines in your program into two to three  doses. We often recommend to our patients that they divide their doses among meals, which most people find easy and convenient. If you miss a dose at a meal, you can take it later (with the exception of certain formulas that should be taken with food.)

2. Herbal formulas and most nutritional supplements can be taken either with food or on an empty stomach. However, formulas taken on an empty stomach (1/2 hour before or two hours after a meal) will be absorbed more quickly. If you experience digestive upset from a formula, it usually indicates digestive weakness. In such cases, take with food only.

3. It helps to approach your medicines consciously, in the same way you should eat your meals. Rather than rushing to swallow them up, use the power of your mind to charge them with positive intention.

4. If at any time you experience what may be an adverse reaction from a medicine, call your practitioner right away—don’t wait until your next visit. We can usually ascertain whether or not the adverse symptom was from the medicine, and advise you appropriately. This is one of the most important benefits of using natural medicines under the guidance of a professional.

5. We recommend that patients start at a half dose for the first few days. This allows your body to adapt to the rebalancing effect of the formulas, and it also reduces the chances of adverse reactions in people with weak digestion or food sensitivities.

6. Be patient. In this age of “magic bullets” and quick-fix mentalities, some people expect natural medicine to act as quickly as pharmaceutical drugs. While this does happen occasionally, it is more common that natural treatments restore balance gradually. Most patients feel improvements within a week or two, but some may take up to three months. As for the duration of your treatment, a general estimate is to expect one month of therapy for each year of the problem you’ve been experiencing.

7. Expect positive changes, including improvements in other areas. As you change and move through the process of healing, you can also expect your practitioner to modify your program. This type of individualized care and follow-up is perhaps the greatest benefit of taking natural medicine under professional guidance.

Photo from iStock/Chris_Elwell

Dr. Michael Gaeta

Dr. Michael Gaeta is an educator, clinician, and writer in the field of natural health care. His purpose is to create a world of vital, resilient people who find fulfillment through positive contribution, and who stay out of the medical system. Michael works with natural health professionals to improve patient care and practice success through his one-year clinicians’ mentoring program, live seminars and webinars, and distance learning programs. He holds licenses in acupuncture, dietetics-nutrition, and massage therapy, and he is a doctor of acupuncture in Rhode Island.

For seminar information and publications by Michael Gaeta, please visit Gaeta Communications.

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