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Types of Alternative Medicines and Why you should Consider Using Them

By SiliconIndia   |   Thursday, 29 June 2017, 06:50 Hrs
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A hot cup of tea made with herbs and spices at home are considered as the best remedy for common cold and flu. India and Indians have a long history and preference towards traditional medicinal practices. In fact, the reliance on alternative medicine to manage health is a very popular in this country. For instance, as per a survey conducted by NSSO or National Sample Survey Organization, nearly 335 million Indians trust alternative medicinal practices.

However, this trend is not just restricted to India anymore. Western medical practitioners also recommend patients to adopt alternative medicine for pain management and after surgery care. As a matter of fact, homeopathic medicine is used by medical professionals to control and manage the symptoms of cancer.

This is evident from a study conducted at Johns Hopkins University. The excerpt from the study published at Livestrong.com suggested that nearly “40% of American report using alternative medicine therapies for pain control when prescribed medications prove to be ineffective.”

What is Alternative Medicine?

Alternative medicine is a comprehensive spectrum of health care management. It includes pain and health care through massage, therapy, acupuncture, Ayurveda, and reflexology. Many mainstream doctors have now started recommending alternative medicine to theterminally ill patient to relieve pain and improve thequality of life.

To further promote the concept of alternative medicines, the Government of India revamped the Department of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy to AYUSH in 2014. Short for Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha & Homeopathy, the department is set up to endorse the education and awareness about this formidable form of medical care.

Types of Alternative Medicine

To understand different types of alternative medicine, let’sget an understanding of AYUSH.  Derivative from Sanskrit word, AYUSH, meaning life, this healing methodologyis quite helpful in managing pain, controlling lifestyle diseases as well as rehabilitation after a major accident or surgery. Let’s turn our focus on each of these components –

# 1 Ayurveda

In the past, the human civilization relied on natural herbs and plants to cure various illnesses. According to the Ayurvedic philosophy, diseases are caused due to the imbalance of three energies - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

In modern day Ayurvedic practice, the discipline focuses on ahealthy lifestyle by consuming Sattvic diet, meditation and concentrate on improving digestive health. Ayurvedic medicines are prepared from natural plant products, herbs and traditional spices that are known to be bestowed with natural benefits. These medications are readily available from online platforms like 1mg.

Recommended for - Ayurvedic treatment and medicineis recommended for the treatment of common cold, flu, kidney stone diseases, hypertension, diabetes and diarrhea.

# 2 Yoga

The discipline of Yoga has taken the world health industry by storm. It is a popular form of exercise that is known to improve flexibility, body posture, immune system, mental health. The practice of meditation which is an integral component of Yoga also bestows calmness and purity. Yoga is an excellent way to accomplish a healthy lifestyle.

Recommended for – Yoga is highly recommended for weight loss, relieve stress, to gain physical strengths (especially after surgery or post-accident recovery).

# 3 Unani

As the name suggest, Unani medicinal practices have roots in Persia or the present-day Iran and the Arabs. This practice was brought to the Indian sub-continent by the Mughals. The principles of Unani medicine is based on four senses of humor Phlegm (Balgham), Blood (Dam), Yellow bile (?afr?') and Black bile (Saud?').

Recommended for - Several medical doctors prescribe Unani medicine to patients suffering arthritis, cataract and even cognitive impairment. It should be although noted that no form of treatment should be taken without consulting a physician or doctor.

# 4 Siddha

The roots of this ancientmedical care can be traced to the Tamil region. The tenants of Siddha treatment primarily focus on lifestyle and diet. Treatment of Siddha revolves around the restoration of three senses of humor — Vaadham, Pittham, and Kabam

Recommended for – Siddha medicinal practice is considered useful to treat ailments like a cough, cold, skin condition, joint pain, fever and even digestive disorders.

# 5 Homeopathy

We are all familiar with the use of homeopathic medicines for ailments like cold, flu, diarrhea, migraine and constipation. However,in recent times some evidencehas indicated the role of homeopathic medicines in cancer cure. For instance, research review1 entitled The Evidence: Scientific Studies on Homeopathic Cancer Treatment published in The American Homeopath concluded – “homeopathic drugs have proven biological action in cancer; in vitro and in vivo; in animals and humans; in the lower, as well as in the higher potencies.”

Recommended for – Homeopathic treatment provides relief for different ailments ranging from alung infection, arthritis, psoriasis, hair loss, PCOD, allergies,etc. although considered safe, it is always recommended to consult a physician or doctor before taking any forms of medicine, including homeopathy.


Alternative medicine is mostly treated as a supplement to mainstream treatment. The effects and benefits of this therapeutic technique vary from person to person. It is a good way to adopt a healthy lifestyle. However, any transition or treatment should be taken under the supervision of health practitioners and experts. 

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