Are you using any natural remedies in your health regime? If so, you’ll want to be sure and share those details with your doctor if you’re facing any health issues that may prompt them to prescribe prescription medicines for you.
Today, Leah Zerbe of Rodale.com has an article dealing with this very issue — in particular, how to talk to your doctor about natural medicine.
As Zerbe points out, it’s important to know what impact mixing natural and pharmaceuticals can have on your health, “For example, someone taking blood-thinning herbs could have an adverse interaction with the prescription blood thinner Coumadin, and the herb St. John’s wort could weaken a depression medication’s effects.”
While some doctors are supportive of their patient’s desire to try natural methods in dealing with various ailments, other doctors are frustrated by herbal medicine use and in some cases, will fire their patients for not sticking to the mainstream pharmaceutical path. As Dr. Isaac Eliaz, MD founder of The Amitabha Medical Clinic and Healing Center in Sebastopol, California points out, “some oncologists will fire cancer patients who engage in complementary or alternative medicine.”
The article includes some tips on the best approach for talking about these issues with your doctor — whether it’s something as simple as taking ginger for nausea, or fish oil and flaxseed for your heart.
Take home points are:
- Do your homework. You can’t expect your doctor — unless he is a naturopath — to know about all of the various conditions and herbal/natural remedies for them. As such, gather data to take to your visit so that you will be able to talk to him or her about your condition(s) and any natural medicines you have, or would like to, try.
- Be prepared to change doctors, if necessary. If your doctor is disapproving of natural medicine as part of your health and wellness, you may need to look for a new doctor.
- Know about common interactions. Research how herbal medicines you are taking might adversely interact with any pharmaceuticals your doctor might prescribe.