(ex-)Christian Scientist Health Care- Patent Medicines and Natural Remedies

Kat at Kindism wrote a very good post describing the common patent medicines for everyday physical problems under the same title I am using here. This strikes me as a very practical thing to do. Please read her article. Then underneath in the comment section I added the following remedies, which I am taking the liberty of re-posting here.

First, let me say that I treat all patent medicines with great wariness and respect. I call anything manufactured by a drug company out of chemicals and targeted to one type of symptom, a patent medicine. Believe me, they are all patented. The drug companies are a powerful, organized force and have taken allopathic medicine to incredible heights. Sometimes power and greed overshadow the quality and leaving CS should not give to permission of use remedies without learning about them.

My basic rule: I try to use only generic medicines. These are not only cheaper because they are out of patent, they have been “tested” on all the patients since they first came on the market, and if they are still on the market after 7 years or so, it is probably OK to use under a Drs. instruction. I feel like a guinea pig when trying a brand new medicine- they have hardly been tested at all and sometimes turn out worse than the symptom they were taken for. Also all patent medicines have side effects, like Benadryl makes you sleepy and dries out your mouth. NSAIDs (aspirin and the like) thin your blood and may contribute to bruising or bleeding even ulcers. They are hard on the stomach.

Also, I find that I am very sensitive to patent medicines and often have to titrate up to the right dose, or my body will react badly. I often need far less than other people to get the same effect. I attribute this to the fact that I have not built up a tolerance for strange chemical in my body, I am not used to patent meds.

my med cabinet includes everything Kat covered in her article. I also includes the following patent medicines:
Imodium or other anti-diarrheal
PeptoBismol for upset stomachs.

When I was out of CS, but had no family health insurance- which I did not believe we needed anyway, I turned to the health food store. In fact I got a job in one. It was an excellent education in alternatives to patent medicines.
Natural remedies:
*Liquid B vitamins. Nothing works on a cranky kid like a squirt of B vitamins in the mouth, cranky adults too.
* Vinegar. Do not overlook the many uses of vinegar. It has an alkalizing effect on the body. People tend to get acidic when they are sick. It is great in baths it is good for the skin and hair. It is a tremendous disinfectant for many household uses too. Be sure to use some everyday.
Keep apple cider vinegar for remedies. Braggs is the best brand as it has the “mother” in it., White vinegar for household and laundry, But also keep wine, rice and balsamic vinegar and use them for variety.There is a lot of info online about the many. many uses of vinegar.
*Epsom salts. aka Magnesium sulfate. Perfect in the bath for sore muscles and/or for the relaxing effect magnesium has on the body when you are overtired or totally wound up. In its liquid form is it good for constipation,too.
*Vitamin C. After many years of experimentation, I believe a key lime w/ 25 mgs of Vit C is the absolute best source for natural vitamin C and there is no need to pay for 500 mg or a1,000 mg pills, and it is still not as effectively absorbed as a key lime, I squeeze 1/2 of one in every glass of water as well as use them on a lot of foods like avocados and melons. It comes out to 2-3 limes a day.
*Sriracha sauce or other source of red chiles is powerful medicine. Nothing has more Vitamin C. Keep a can of cayenne in the first aid kit. Powdered cayenne will stop bleeding when packed on the wound, and given internally, will stop a heart attack in its tracks. Red peppers relax the blood vessels immediately and are also the most potent form of Vitamin C known.

Herbs are beautiful things and a little herbal knowledge is easy to pick up. Herbs do not usually target one symptom , but are best used as tonics for systems- like dandelion tea for the liver.
There are some easy books in health food stores and ex CSers may find that herbs are an excellent alternative to the strong, fast acting, patent medicines. Herbs are great for chronic illnesses, like a bad heart, a messed up liver or digestive system, and for other excesses of modern life. With a few exceptions, like echinacea on an insect bite, they do not work fast but are great for chronic ailments and are like part of the diet. They should be thought of as food- greens specifically, or roots, even though one takes them in capsules today. In the old days is was taken as horrible tasting teas.

Herbs can come in capsules of the ground-up herb or liquids extracted from the herbs with alcohol or glycerin, and many are left as is and make good, delicious, teas like
*Chamomile tea for upset tummies and even colic in babies. It is served everywhere in Mexico and is very benign. It helps tummy upsets and may be preferable to taking a patent medicine. too. It is high in calcium which is thought to be relaxing.
*Red raspberry tea is the absolute best help for menstrual cramps- forget Midol -it is a combination of patent medicines, which in my opinion should be taken separately, not combined, as the bottled version may not have the correct proportions of ingredients for your own system.
*Liquid extract of echinacea for insect bites. It gives instant relief when a drop is applied to a bite. It is also a good herb for when you are coming down with something like a cold- it may boost the ability to fight the cold,
*Liquid golden seal is good for mild infections like a sore throat and it believed to be potentiated by adding echinacea. They seem to boost the immune system more than work on symptoms..
.Also for teething, there is nothing like Hylands teething remedy. It is homeopathic but it works like a dream in children. A little sugar pill really, and very, very inexpensive.

I just wrote this off the top of my head, but as an ex-Christian Scientist, I vastly prefer the natural remedies and knowledge of plants for food and medicine as many plants overlap.

In fact, I just added this as a category because it is an area in which I know a bit and am enthusiastic about.


7 thoughts on “(ex-)Christian Scientist Health Care- Patent Medicines and Natural Remedies

  1. Be careful categorizing ‘patented’ medications as being somehow qualitatively different from ‘natural remedies’. You’re playing with chemistry either way. A very importance difference between patented medication and non patented medications is that there are many exemptions from quality control and side effects for the ‘natural’ remedies unavailable to the patented medications. This exemption can, has, and does lead to all kinds of problems adversely affecting the health and welfare of people who presume that ‘natural’ is somehow and magically better than patented drugs. Across multiple studies, they’re not.

    Many ‘natural remedies’ are innocuous, in which case why bother spending money to purchase them?

    Many ‘natural remedies’ contain ingredients that are contraindicated with other medications. While working for such a retail outlet, were you trained to be able to inform customers which ingredient interacted with what? Were all staff so trained?

    (Last time I checked, three of the top five ‘pharmaceutical’ companies were ‘natural’ remedy providers. Big Pharma? Try Big complimentary and alternative medicine and you’ll hit closer to the truth (there is, after all, some crossover.))

    Many ‘natural remedies’ come tainted with all kinds of ‘natural’ contaminates – not just typical stuff like mouse and rat droppings but additives by less-than-stellar wholesalers somewhere in the supply chain. Because these products do not have to meet the same rigorous (and expensive) standards of those produced and patented by highly regulated pharmaceutical companies, their quality and consistency in not assured and not comparable. That’s one reason why many of these kinds of ‘natural remedies’ are less expensive.

    Like Kat suggests, go through your doctor and find out what products – natural or patented or none at all – are best suited to meet your health concerns. Do your part with a healthy diet and you won’t need 95% of what ‘health food stores’ are trying to sell you.

  2. Thank you for taking the time to react to my post. However, I think your remarks are kind of snotty and superior sounding, so I am about to refute you soundly.

    You are playing with chemistry when you eat food. Food chemistry is an ancient art passed down with nary a doctor interfering. In fact when they were all recommending low fat diets, and quitting butter for margerine, they were way off base. It is the type of fat that can have bad effects, yet every doctor sang the same melody for DECADES, “Fat in the diet is BAD”. Well, they were wrong and are now busy backtracking. Yet they never got down on sugar the same way and sugar really IS bad.

    So you are defending a fairly indefensible point of view.

    You find a doctor who is not a naturapath who would not say what you did. (Actually there are quite a few MD’s here in Tucson where the alternative medicine program is based.) who would disagree with you. More and more old remedies are now “science based” since they have been tested, but drug companies won’t test them because there is no money in it. They can’t patent golden seal- all they can do is make an artificial analog of one active ingredient at a time. So it is up to universities like the U of Arizona to do this research- and they are.

    Chamomile flowers and raspberry leaves are found in the local grocery stores. I buy them in prepackaged Cellophane bags. In Tucson, in the Mexican herb section of every super market, there are a whole lot of other medicinal herbs which people use safely everyday.

    Contrary to your claims, the herbal extracts of non-toxic plants like echinacea and golden seal are very pure. They may vary a little, but there are much larger tolerances in herbal remedies than in patent medicines. Companies like Frontier Herbs are very involved in the production and packaging.

    In fact, you remind me of a Christian Science practitioner who says”Don’t use ANY medicine, it will impair your future spiritual journey”. You are both talking out of fear.

    Natural remedies can grow in gardens and when purchased, they are far less likely to have rat droppings than many manufactured foods we eat every day. In fact there is a USDA specified tolerance for how many rodent feces and urine can be in a manufactured food! Ugh. Watch that macaroni!!!! Fresh food and dried herbs are far less likely to contain these contaminants.

    You don’t need to ask your doctor before taking most over-the-counter medicine! And the herbs I mentioned do not have significant reactions. Herbs have many compounds which happen to be synergistic, so you are still fear-mongering. There is a whole layer of non-toxic herbs that are meant to grow in kitchen gardens, and to be used on a daily basis.

    When I worked in a health food store, we did not ever recommend anything except getting educated about a condition or substance in which they were interested. In fact, I do that every time a doctor recommends a new medicine. I look it up online. I am glad I did, because I got off amioderone as soon as I realized what a dangerous drug it was, for instance.

    Allopathic patent medicines are far more dangerous than most home remedies and doctors can, and do sometimes, recommend them indiscriminately. I can’t tell you how many times people I know got messed up on patent meds than people I know who mostly stick to on home remedies….

    So, are you up for a round two?

  3. You weren’t being polite; you were being condescending.
    From condescending to ad hominem in one post. wow.

    And I did answer your points. You name one ingredient I mentioned that is bad or toxic. I was talking vinegar and sugar pills. You were delivering a rant, not refuting the ingredients in my post.

    1. I was being critical, not condescending, and explained why. Alternative and complimentary ‘medicine’ isn’t medicine. It’s a side show that pretends to be something it’s not and fools people into spending a lot of money. People should be made aware of this… if you care about what’s true in reality.

      My criticism of your post was aimed at being more careful not to create a false category between ‘natural’ and pharmaceutical. You didn’t address that cricism; instead you immediately started to smear doctors – real doctors – with your food-chemistry comment… dismissing the very doctors Kat carefully urges us to consult. Your tactic here is juvenile and arrogant, waving away their professional expertise with “they were all recommending low fat diets, and quitting butter for margerine, they were way off base.” That’s bullshit and you know it’s bullshit. Again, your ease of creating categories and placing people in them (as you have done with ALL doctors and then me with a tone very disrespectful for someone so concerned about tone) without any concern for accuracy indicates an immature, sloppy, and yet oh so typical arrogant approach to justifying complimentary and alternative ‘medicine’ as if equivalent to real modern medicine. It’s not. It’s a charade that ends up harming all of us. Learn and stop pretending that you have some equivalent measure of medical and pharmaceutical expertise to share.

  4. Yikes.
    I guess you were never a Christian Scientist.

    It is the principal of alternative medicine and all those stores selling vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and sugar pills ( aka homeopathic remedies) you seem to dislike. That placebo effect is better than drugs for kids. and drug trials are precisely to test whether a med is better than a placebo. That is the acid test of a med.

    My guidelines are very simple and home-based. I do have medical issues and wrote a post which will show up tomorrow. But as a former CSer. I looked up every medicine and every procedure before I engaged. What I said about generic meds is a good guideline. I have a cardiologist and I am grateful he practices science-based medicine. But he never trained in nutrition, why does he believe fat is bad- or did. until recently. Now it is trans-fats that are bad, so I stand firm in that declaration.

    There is a growing body of information, especially coming out of the U of AZ that finds uses for alternative medicine and is learning what the traditional medicines are about. Just because there are a lot of jewel merchants hawking their wares when you go into a jewelry show to buy a birthday present, does not mean that you must succumb to every jewel they try to sell you.

    I totally believe in common sense and that former Christian Scientists have that, and my home medicine cabinet has non-toxic and effective substances that I am glad to mention after I mention the over the counter and other remedies with which Kat supplies her medicine cabinet. Former Christian Scientists are often clueless on materia medica, and I was adding to her list of things to have around and how to use them.

    The vast majority of illnesses are self-limiting and we get over them, with a palliative measure or two. Medicine is perfect for that other 10%- infections, fixing hearts, combating a lot of dis-ease symptoms, but everything I mention in my post is stepped down a level from needing a medical intervention.

    I do not think Christian Scientists are likely to plunge into materia medica, whether herbal or patent, but will take a cautious attitude and feel more comfortable with vinegar, than anti-bacterial soap, for instance. Limes than bottled vitamin C, or homeopathic teething remedies instead of baby aspirin.

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