Let's talk natural remedies

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Let's talk natural remedies

Postposted on Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:16 pm

TL;DR at bottom

It doesn't take much research to realize just how expensive modern medicine can be. From synthesis to testing for regulatory purposes to taxes and such and of course the markup so that some sort of profit can be made, it's vomit-inducing. If you have insurance, it's a lot easier to ignore (although you're still more or less financing it through your insurance company). Well, due to several complications beyond my direct control I will not be enrolled in an insurance policy for the month of February. I'm actually happy about this, as it has caused a slight "problem" which in turn opened my eyes to the current state of today's medical industry.

I have eczema. It started with these rashes on the tops of my hands, which turned into disgusting open sores that would ooze plasma and itch like poison ivy. I treated it with several different moisturizers and things like aloe for a while before finding a locally reputable dermatologist. By the time he saw me, those open sores had mostly closed up and it was back to being a moderately annoying rash. He examined my hands for a few minutes, got out his prescription pad, and sent me off to the pharmacy with some basic skin care advice. I was in his office for a total of maybe fifteen minutes.

I used the ointment he prescribed (triamcinolone acetonide, a synthetic corticosteroid) for a while, and it seemed to help. A little. Kinda. Maybe. The rashes on the tops of my hands disappeared, but I developed a new problem where my palms underneath my thumbs would get really dry and itchy. It would also develop these weird little bumps that would spread on and off to the rest of my hands. I refilled that prescription once or twice, and the last time I saw that dermatologist he prescribed me a stronger dose. I didn't get that prescription to the pharmacy until after my insurance policy expired. I had been paying about $20 for this stuff, so I figured how much more could it possibly be?

$600. That's how much more. Six. Hundred. Freaking. Dollars. The lady at the pharmacy applied every discount she could, and knocked about half off. I didn't have that much money to spend on anything let alone this ointment, so I told her to hold it until next month when my new insurance kicks in. When I got home, I started researching this stuff and looking for household/natural alternatives. Much to my (complete lack of) surprise, a lot of people with eczema keep it under control with stuff like aloe and coconut oil. A lot of these people had the same experiences I did with the same and similar prescription ointments, and several seem to have completely cured it with nothing but natural remedies that I have around the house or growing in my back yard.

Right now I'm trying my own ointment made with some pure aloe straight from the leaf, pure coconut oil and petroleum jelly to keep the moisture in. I plan on picking up some various essential oils to try, but even with that simple little mixture my skin has gotten much more immediate and significant relief than it ever did with the steroids that some chemist whipped up in a lab and shoved into a tube.

Let's look at another example: I have three people in my family (that I know of) who are suffering from MS. They're all between 45 and 55, and they all experience frequent and debilitating symptoms. They've all gone through every pill there is to help with the severe pain and mental issues, and they've all more or less given up on modern medicine to help them live normal lives. One of them has it so bad that until recently more days than not, she couldn't even get out of bed. She's always been somewhat of a pothead, so she turned to her trusty old recreational herb for a more medicinal purpose. As soon as she started that, her symptoms disappeared almost like magic. It's like she's a different person. She still has plenty of problems from a disease with no cure, but it's a plant and not a pill that's helping her live a much more normal life than she ever could before. It's helped her so much that her ultra religious conservative sister with the same disease who at one point in her life would literally sever every tie she had with you if you so much as mentioned marijuana actually decided to give it a try. Guess what? She uses it almost every day because it's the only thing keeping her from living a miserable bedridden life. The third is basically waiting for Floridians to vote in that new medical marijuana bill so that she can use it legally. Being a retired officer and detective of considerable tenure, she feels very obligated to obey the law (however ridiculous it may be). I really hope that bill makes it through, because she has suffered from this disease quite a bit and it would make myself and everyone else who's close to her jump with joy to know she has some real relief.

TL;DR I'm starting to see the benefit of using natural remedies over whatever your doctor tells you to put in your mouth or rub on your skin. The said benefits seem to be significant, and I'm sure I'm not the only gerbil who has had an experience like this. So let's share our stories of natural remedies and herbal medicines while making nasty, nonconstructive comments about modern medicine and how it's turned our health into an industry instead of a service. Natural vs. processed food can also be discussed, as I think it's a similar topic. BTW this is not a discussion about "Obamacare" or "those darn hippies in Colorado" so please don't turn it into one.
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Re: Let's talk natural remedies

Postposted on Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:58 pm

Sometimes it is as simple as identifying the trigger for a condition and avoiding it.

I suffer from eczema too (have for most of my life); it used to be really bad, and I was on that same prescription steroid you mentioned for a while. These days I keep it under control by avoiding harsh soaps (I use Neutrogena unscented glycerin soap when I bathe), moisturizing with an unscented moisturizer, and using perfume/dye free laundry detergent. I do still use medications to treat occasional flare-ups, but that is limited to sparing use of over-the-counter Benadryl and 1% hydrocortisone creams; generally things don't get out of hand to the point where I need that stuff.

I try to avoid all other forms of medication. Even non-prescription pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen are something I use only if I am in a lot of pain (like during the series of gout attacks I had about a year ago). Speaking of which, since swearing off the beef jerky and sardines, and generally eating more vegetable-based protein vs. animal based, I have been gout free. It's not like I've gone vegetarian; I still enjoy burgers, ribs, etc... I'm just paying a little more attention to what I stuff in my face than I used to.

As an aside, I think we should make a distinction between natural remedies and homeopathic. Natural/herbal/etc. remedies can definitely be effective, safe, and affordable. Homeopathic remedies, OTOH, are BS (placebo effect).
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Re: Let's talk natural remedies

Postposted on Wed Feb 05, 2014 11:32 pm

Well, I'm quite certain the cause is my job. I work in a screen printing shop without very good ventilation, and the shop only gets a thorough cleaning once a year. That's a lot of dust and lint covering the walls, and it gets really hot and humid in the summer so it's probably a breeding ground for mold. It's one of several reasons I need to move on though, so hopefully my eczema will leave with this job.

btw I have heard that gluten can be a cause of eczema, which is just another reason to avoid processed foods. I've already switched to fragrance free soaps and moisturizers, but again with my job it's hard to keep my hands moisturized for more than half an hour or so. I also suspect that my recent lack of outdoors activity is a contributing factor. For a while I was on my bike every day and had a work out schedule, but then my hours at work got bumped up significantly and now I rarely have the time or energy. I guess there's a lot I can blame on my job instead of my underlying laziness.
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Re: Let's talk natural remedies

Postposted on Wed Feb 05, 2014 11:38 pm

Reformed "sinner" here, and I feel better than I did 20yrs ago. IANAD, but I recommend:
1) Absolutely no smoking. Paraphrased from Dr. House "Just stop, and we can fix whatever that breaks." (I hope someone knows the actual quote.)
2) Lots of exercise. Gym-type work-outs never worked for me. Longer duration, even if less intense, had better results for me (eg, *long* walks).
3) Avoid processed, overly prepared, and especially 'fast', foods. Pure vegetarian doesn't work for me, but mostly veggies plus much less carbs/fat.
4) Sugar (in all forms, especially HFCS) is poison (whether natural or not).
5) Read ingredient lists, avoid anything with >= 4 syllables. If cavemen didn't/couldn't eat it, you shouldn't either (whether you believe in evolution or not).
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Re: Let's talk natural remedies

Postposted on Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:10 am

MarkG509 wrote:Reformed "sinner" here, and I feel better than I did 20yrs ago. IANAD, but I recommend:
1) Absolutely no smoking. Paraphrased from Dr. House "Just stop, and we can fix whatever that breaks." (I hope someone knows the actual quote.)
2) Lots of exercise. Gym-type work-outs never worked for me. Longer duration, even if less intense, had better results for me (eg, *long* walks).
3) Avoid processed, overly prepared, and especially 'fast', foods. Pure vegetarian doesn't work for me, but mostly veggies plus much less carbs/fat.
4) Sugar (in all forms, especially HFCS) is a natural poison.
5) Read ingredient lists, avoid anything with >= 4 syllables. If cavemen didn't/couldn't eat it, you shouldn't either (whether you believe in evolution or not).

Yup. Smoking was the most difficult for me, but I've gone about three months without a cigarette and my lungs already feel about 200% better. I've all but replaced soda with water and unsweetened tea, which has had a big impact on the quality of my sleep.
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Re: Let's talk natural remedies

Postposted on Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:32 am

ALiLPinkMonster wrote:Well, I'm quite certain the cause is my job.
Squeaky-clean OSHA-certified desk-jobs can be just as bad, if not worse because the damage/symptoms may be more subtle.
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Re: Let's talk natural remedies

Postposted on Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:14 am

Monster, it seems to me that a lot of your issues stem from just being plain unhealthy rather than switching from NaSty chemical ridden remedies to natural ones.

Things that i've seen you say:
you smoked
you drank soda on a regular basis
you don't exercise much

I'm not trying to be critical or rude or anything, but it's not like the above things are going to sprinkle you in magic, health dust. I'm all for everyone finding something that works for them. If you want to use some natural whatever and it works who am I to stop you? Go for it. I think A LOT of people's issues stem from just not understanding/not caring to be healthy. I understand completely that a lot of times you feel don't want to/don't have time to exercise, but if you really want to change the quality of your life you will find time. Like Mark said with the smoking quote, let's stop that then fix everything else. I think the same applies here. Get healthy, then we'll see if crap is still wrong.
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Re: Let's talk natural remedies

Postposted on Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:29 am

ALiLPinkMonster wrote:TL;DR I'm starting to see the benefit of using natural remedies over whatever your doctor tells you to put in your mouth or rub on your skin.


DancinJack wrote:Monster, it seems to me that a lot of your issues stem from just being plain unhealthy rather than switching from NaSty chemical ridden remedies to natural ones.

Things that i've seen you say:
you smoked
you drank soda on a regular basis
you don't exercise much


Amen.

The medical community has been saying, for decades, that you should:

1. Not smoke.
2. Exercise.
3. Eat better.

That isn't a prescription you have to pay for, and you don't even need to pay for a doctor's visit either: they've been saying the same thing on TV for just as long. If anything, they say it so much it's like people completely tune it out.

Do doctors occasionally prescribe expensive medications that don't actually help a given a condition? Sure. There are definitely certain kind of doctors that are rather infamous for the short-visit/expensive-prescription scenario (and yes, dermatologists are certainly among them...), but most general practitioners will give you the same advice JBI did. Not to defend the quick-visit types too much, but they probably just assume that you've already tried all that otherwise you wouldn't be seeing a specialist.

I guess what I am saying is that this dichotomy doesn't really exist. There isn't a major discrepancy between "expensive modern medicine" and what you are doing and the first 4 of Mark's 5 recommendations (doctors might not call sugar "poison" but they, and your dentist, certainly want you to eat less of it. Diabetes and cavities ain't no joke).

Those recommendations *ARE* modern medicine. And they aren't even remotely expensive.
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Re: Let's talk natural remedies

Postposted on Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:54 am

I have read in several places the vitamin-D creams work and work really well.

The trouble is you need you get the RIGHT kind of vitamin-d there are 4 kinds (IIRC) and you need D3.

Trouble is most creams have D2 and that only has a partial effect on the issue.

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Re: Let's talk natural remedies

Postposted on Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:06 am

ALiLPinkMonster wrote:I have eczema. It started with these rashes on the tops of my hands, which turned into disgusting open sores that would ooze plasma and itch like poison ivy.


So I had this when I was younger, I still get little breakouts on my hands when I come in contact with something other than what I am normally used to. Also it occurs more in the winter than any other time. Its also a heredity issue and my son (3 yr) has it, also on his hands.

There are two things that have helped both me and my son tremendously; tea tree oil and EVOO (you know extra virgin olive oil). Mix a 5-10 drops of tea tree oil in about a tablespoon worth of EVOO then apply. Make sure you use a good pure EVOO not just something random. (There's this controversy surrounding EVOO which you can look up if you want)
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Re: Let's talk natural remedies

Postposted on Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:11 pm

just brew it! wrote:As an aside, I think we should make a distinction between natural remedies and homeopathic. Natural/herbal/etc. remedies can definitely be effective, safe, and affordable. Homeopathic remedies, OTOH, are BS (placebo effect).

This, a thousand times this. In fact many modern topical remedies and non-prescription supplements are based on plant extracts which have been known for millenia to have beneficial effects (e.g. rose hips, ginger, aloe vera...) But I've got a Sis and BIL who have a mysterious inability to make this distinction and it's correspondingly difficult to have a sensible conversation with them regarding healthcare, because they will fluidly transition between things that are "natural" and things which are patently absurd.
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Re: Let's talk natural remedies

Postposted on Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:59 pm

ALiLPinkMonster wrote:Let's look at another example: I have three people in my family (that I know of) who are suffering from MS. They're all between 45 and 55, and they all experience frequent and debilitating symptoms. They've all gone through every pill there is to help with the severe pain and mental issues, and they've all more or less given up on modern medicine to help them live normal lives. One of them has it so bad that until recently more days than not, she couldn't even get out of bed. She's always been somewhat of a pothead, so she turned to her trusty old recreational herb for a more medicinal purpose. As soon as she started that, her symptoms disappeared almost like magic. It's like she's a different person. She still has plenty of problems from a disease with no cure, but it's a plant and not a pill that's helping her live a much more normal life than she ever could before. It's helped her so much that her ultra religious conservative sister with the same disease who at one point in her life would literally sever every tie she had with you if you so much as mentioned marijuana actually decided to give it a try. Guess what? She uses it almost every day because it's the only thing keeping her from living a miserable bedridden life. The third is basically waiting for Floridians to vote in that new medical marijuana bill so that she can use it legally. Being a retired officer and detective of considerable tenure, she feels very obligated to obey the law (however ridiculous it may be). I really hope that bill makes it through, because she has suffered from this disease quite a bit and it would make myself and everyone else who's close to her jump with joy to know she has some real relief.


People are moving to Colorado specifically for the medicinal purposes. Not the pot tourists, the parents with MS children. There are various strains and you can find one that's got a good mix of what will help:

http://www.unitedpatientsgroup.com/reso ... uana-works

For instance, for someone I know who suffers from stage 3 and 4 endometriosis, using pot with a high CBC content controls the continual pain and agony much better than the prescribed opiates (percocet, that's 5 mg of opiates and 325 mg of acetaminophen which will destroy your liver with continued use. The THC is what's the mind altering stuff but you need at least some of it in the strain because it acts as a catalyst to activate the other good stuff.

You get percocet in mixes like: Percocet 10/325, Percocet 10/650, Percocet 2.5/325, Percocet 5/325, Percocet 7.5/325, Percocet 7.5/500

There are some pure opiates you can get but they are of course highly controlled. When you are getting prescribed up to 10 pills a day, think about how much acetaminophen you're ingesting.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/15/health/fd ... en-dosage/
http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consume ... 336581.htm
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/231915.php

Even better, many doctors don't believe people when they say they have pain or have endo. I get it, addicts try to score, but it's sad. The person I know only found out because she had abdominal surgery, supposed to last 45 minutes, took 4 hours because they decided to clear out as much as they could. What's the pain like? Well, if you know a lady with it, ask. Here's an idea:

http://youarentcrazy.blogspot.com/2012/ ... cocet.html

Sorry I went off on a tangent.

I'm also a fan of stuff like chiropractic because I've seen the benefits. My wife had life-long migraines that after a month of adjustments, went away. Instead of 4 or 5 times a week it's now about once every 6 months. In my case, my thumb started hurting enough that I learned to write with my other hand. I had no strength in it, couldn't hold stuff. I figured I'd have to get surgery or something but I tried chiropractic, turns out my collar bone/shoulder area was jacked up and after a few months of adjustments I could use my thumb just fine again.

I'm not dissing modern medicine or anything like that, but I think most people just blindly follow what they are told. And it makes sense, these doctors are trained for a decade with specialized knowledge so why shouldn't we trust 'em? But if you look at some of the drugs that are pushed our way, man, some of that can really jack you up. The docs don't have time to continue to research every darn thing while doing their jobs, so there's only so much you can rely on with 'em. Look up what you're being given and ask about alternatives, find out the risks and the benefits and see what your options are.

For me, something I COMPLETELY THOUGHT WAS CRAP turned out to save me from surgery. The wife also was a skeptic and it got rid of her migraines. It's a shame that "medical" and "natural" stuff is at odds since they are complimentary. Maybe it's mainly a western medicine approach? I don't think the Chinese, for example, shun traditional herbal stuff nor do they shun modern medical stuff.
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Re: Let's talk natural remedies

Postposted on Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:02 pm

ludi wrote:
just brew it! wrote:As an aside, I think we should make a distinction between natural remedies and homeopathic. Natural/herbal/etc. remedies can definitely be effective, safe, and affordable. Homeopathic remedies, OTOH, are BS (placebo effect).

This, a thousand times this. In fact many modern topical remedies and non-prescription supplements are based on plant extracts which have been known for millenia to have beneficial effects (e.g. rose hips, ginger, aloe vera...) But I've got a Sis and BIL who have a mysterious inability to make this distinction and it's correspondingly difficult to have a sensible conversation with them regarding healthcare, because they will fluidly transition between things that are "natural" and things which are patently absurd.


Aye:

http://staging.arstechnica.com/science/ ... omeopathy/
http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/04/ ... omeopathy/

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Re: Let's talk natural remedies

Postposted on Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:16 pm

As a rule I don't trust anyone who's actively trying to sell me something, so I regard the pharmaceutical and natural-medicine industries with roughly equal suspicion.
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Re: Let's talk natural remedies

Postposted on Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:26 pm

DancinJack wrote:Monster, it seems to me that a lot of your issues stem from just being plain unhealthy rather than switching from NaSty chemical ridden remedies to natural ones.

Things that i've seen you say:
you smoked
you drank soda on a regular basis
you don't exercise much

I'm not trying to be critical or rude or anything, but it's not like the above things are going to sprinkle you in magic, health dust. I'm all for everyone finding something that works for them. If you want to use some natural whatever and it works who am I to stop you? Go for it. I think A LOT of people's issues stem from just not understanding/not caring to be healthy. I understand completely that a lot of times you feel don't want to/don't have time to exercise, but if you really want to change the quality of your life you will find time. Like Mark said with the smoking quote, let's stop that then fix everything else. I think the same applies here. Get healthy, then we'll see if crap is still wrong.

Very valid points, but I cut cigarettes and soda out of my life before this eczema thing really became such an issue. As for the exercise, it's not like I'm dormant all day. My job keeps me on my feet constantly. The only time I'm guaranteed a chance to sit is my half hour lunch break. There's also a lot of heavy lifting that goes on in that shop. On top of that, I walk my dog almost every day and play with her a lot (she's a big puppy with tons of energy). I know none of this is a replacement for a solid exercise routine, but it's a fair amount of physical activity.
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Re: Let's talk natural remedies

Postposted on Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:40 pm

NovusBogus wrote:As a rule I don't trust anyone who's actively trying to sell me something, so I regard the pharmaceutical and natural-medicine industries with roughly equal suspicion.

That's why I love having things like aloe plants in my back yard. You don't HAVE to buy natural products from a store. You can just go find them in... well, nature. The plant won't charge you for taking some of its leaves or berries. Of course not everyone lives where they can just go find what they need in their back yard, but natural ingredients usually aren't very expensive.
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