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How Do I Know if I Need
Medicine or Herbal Remedies?


When you’re feeling under the weather, you have a few choices for how to care for yourself. You can go to a doctor, try to wait out your illness to see if it goes away on its own, or use herbal remedies at home. Ultimately, what you decide to do will be based on your preferences and how severe your illness is. Both western medicine and herbal remedies have tons of benefits and drawbacks, so the best thing you can do is educate yourself and listen to your body to know when it’s time to see a doctor. In this article, we’ll discuss what herbal remedies are and how to know whether you can treat yourself at home or go to a professional with medical training, whether it’s a doctor or a nurse

What Are Herbal Remedies?


Herbal remedies are made from plants that are used to treat disease and illness or support overall health. Many medicines are also made from plant products, but herbal remedies are not completely purified or regulated by the FDA. Instead, they can contain entire plants or plant parts and can be taken as a pill, powder, applied to the skin, or brewed as a tea. Herbal remedies have been used for thousands of years, but they’re still fairly popular. Unfortunately, because they’re not monitored by the FDA, they can be controversial. 

There have been many studies on the effects of herbal remedies proving that some are more effective than others. It’s always best to consult a doctor before taking herbs because they can interact with some medications or be dangerous based on your current health issues. 

Do Herbal Remedies Work?

Whether or not herbal remedies work depends on your unique situation. Evidence for how effective herbs are is limited, but many people find them helpful. While herbal remedies are all-natural, that doesn’t necessarily make them safe. Unless taken as directed by a physician, they can interact with other medicines or be toxic at high levels. Additionally, many herbal remedies come with serious side effects like liver damage, anxiety, and interactions with birth control and anti-depression medication. 

When to Use Medicine Vs. Herbal Remedies

Listening to what your body is trying to tell you is a great first step to determining whether you should see a doctor or use herbal remedies at home. Of course, many doctors believe in the effectiveness of herbal remedies like green tea for boosting your immune system, so don’t be afraid to discuss different herbs with your doctor to get professional insight and advice. Additionally, whether you use medicine or herbal remedies depends on your preferences. Many people don’t like cough medicine and prefer to mix honey in their tea as a natural cough suppressant while their bodies fight infection on their own. Of course, in some cases, herbs can only do so much. So here’s when you should see a doctor and consider medicine instead of using herbal remedies:

You’ve Never Used Herbal Remedies

If you’ve never used herbal remedies, you likely don’t have enough knowledge to understand which ones are right for you based on your current health condition. Therefore, it’s always best to consult a professional. If your condition is severe enough, your doctor might suggest medicine over herbal remedies, especially if your body cannot fight infection on its own. 

You Have a Serious Illness

While evidence suggests some herbs may help prevent cancer, there’s no evidence suggesting that green tea can cure cancer. Instead, you should always go to a doctor for medicine when you have a serious illness or health issue. Everything from pain to tremors requires medication. While eating a balanced diet and ensuring you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals you need can support overall health, essential tremor medication may be necessary in some cases. 

Your Illness is Getting Worse

If you’ve tried herbal remedies at home and your illness is getting worse, it’s time to visit a doctor for antibiotics or medication. If you’re sick with a fever of 101 or higher, herbal remedies won’t be able to do enough for you to fight the infection and bring your dangerous fever back down. 

Pain Affects Your Life

While many herbs have anti-inflammatory properties, they may not be enough to keep your pain at bay. If your life is constantly interrupted by aches and pains, you need modern medicine to fight inflammation and reduce swelling. 

Mental Illness

Herbal medicine can be used to help soothe anxiety and depression. However, you should never try to treat mental illness on your own, especially because many of the herbs typically used have serious side effects that can make you feel worse. Instead, if you’re feeling helpless, depressed, or anxious, it’s best to talk to a therapist to find out different treatment options. 

Of course, there are some instances when you can try to treat yourself at home. For example, if you have a cold, you may choose to drink herbal tea to soothe your sinuses or sore throat. Additionally, if your symptoms are mild and haven’t been going on for long, you may be suffering from a minor illness that requires rest to allow your body to heal itself. 

Herbal remedies can also help support overall health, even when you’re not feeling under the weather. However, it’s always best to talk to your doctor before adding a supplement or herbal tea into your daily routine because they can have side effects and interact with other medications, making them potentially harmful. 

Final Thoughts

If you’re ever concerned about your health, talk to your doctor. Depending on your symptoms and medical history, you may be able to find an herbal remedy to help soothe illness and support health and wellness. However, if you’re seriously ill, your doctor will likely prescribe medication and a treatment plan to help you get better. Doctors are there to help you, so it’s always best to listen to their advice. If they recommend avoiding herbal remedies and taking medicine instead, listen to them to ensure the best chances of your treatment’s success. 

Megan Isola

Megan Isola

Megan Isola holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and a minor in Business Marketing from Cal State University Chico. She enjoys going to concerts, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with friends.

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