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How to Talk to your Doctor About Natural Medicine – Rodale

Posted on Nov 6, 2012 | 0 comments

How to Talk to your Doctor About Natural Medicine – Rodale

Nearly 40 percent of people living in the United States turn to herbs and other natural remedies to deal with everything from colds to cancer. Not all share those alternative treatment details with conventional doctors, though, and that can actually put the brakes on their recovery. 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. A new push from The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is urging patients to work with doctors — and for doctors to ask patients — about alternative or complementary treatments, which include everything from chiropractic care and acupuncture to herbs and medicinal mushrooms. "It's best to have an open and honest relationship with your doctor," says Isaac Eliaz, MD, founder of The Amitabha Medical Clinic and Healing Center in Sebastopol, California. That's not always as easy as it seems. As Dr. Eliaz points out, some oncologists will fire cancer patients who engage in complementary or alternative medicine. Cancer patients involved in clinical trials often won't qualify for a study if they disclose they are taking herbs or other alternative or complementary treatments, so sometimes, they don't tell doctors about those treatments for fear of being disqualified from a medical trial. "As a result, we can hear about a benefit of a new drug, where a big part of the benefit may have come form complementary or alternative medicine," Dr. Eliaz says.

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