Natural treatments don't usually seem to work...resorting to conventional frustrations - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 51 Old 04-20-2010, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Does anyone else experience this? More often than not, when I try to use a natural remedy or product, it either doesn't work at all, or not as well as it's conventional counterpart. Examples:

I recently got athlete's foot for the first time in my life. I tried a natural topical antifungal that I found at the natural foods store. Used it religiously for 3 weeks and the infection only got worse and I had to resort to Lotrimin.

I tried a natural deoderant and that didn't work worth a darn. There are a lot of different natural ones out there, but I cannot afford to keep buying them just to try them.

I've tried Arnica topical gel for bumps/bruises for both DS and I. Never noticed a difference versus non-treatment.

Natural honey cough syrup - I can't even tell if it makes a difference when I give it to DS.

Homeopathic teething remedies never worked for DS

I have also given him various homeopathic remedies, never could tell if they worked.

BM in the eye never worked for pinkeye. Now he has it again, and I got a natural eyewash at the store. It seemed to work at first and the eye was almost healed, but it started getting goopy again this morning and i had to resort to antibiotic drops. The eyewash stung his eyes anyways

The only things that work/may have worked for us:

Mullein garlic oil for ear infections
Vit C/echinacea for colds
zinc helps my cystic acne somewhat
fish oil/Vit D to help prevent illnesses

I'm trying so hard to avoid chemicals and perscriptions, but it gets so frustrating when the natural stuff just doesn't work for us! Am I doing something wrong?

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#2 of 51 Old 04-20-2010, 01:01 PM
 
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Well, I think it helps to look at what actually has back up research that show it will likely work. Example: honey has actually been proven to be more effective than cough medicine in kids. http://www.livescience.com/health/07...ney-cough.html That said, cough meds aren't really effective for coughs. I don't know what was in your medicine either. And if you were seeing viral asthma honey isn't going to touch that. There are lots of variables.

My son had a nasty parasite called b. hominus. I knew from extensive research we had almost no chance of killing that thing with anything short of big gun pharma. drugs if that even worked. I knew they only possible natural treatment (unlikely to work even then) was oregano oil. We did that. We also ended up with the big gun.

On deodorant I looked a lot at reviews (here and elsewhere) of natural deodorant before I decided to "gamble" on funk butter (which worked for me).

I guess I'm saying you have more of a chance of success if you do your homework and have reasonable expectations based on what you find. Sometimes you'll find that natural is more effective and sometimes it isn't. Life is a balance.

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#3 of 51 Old 04-20-2010, 01:04 PM
 
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I can only share how things are working for us, which isn't always perfectly, but overall I think I'm seeing good progress.

For me, right now, when something health-wise starts up, I start looking for why it happened. When I was new to this, I just tried to substitute conventional products for less toxic, hopefully healthier ones, and I had mixed success there. Now, and I can only speak to my situation--me, DH and our two kids--when something odd happens, health-wise, I assume there's a reason, some imbalance in us, something that's different with what we need compared to other people, and the hunt begins for that reason. And if I address that, then problems start to resolve, or a natural remedy will help, when before it wouldn't have.

DH actually, just within the past few weeks, started to get athlete's foot again. He's had it in the past, actually for a long time, but it went away when our family life got better and he got happier. Very cool. That's not the problem now, but I think the underlying issue, that his digestion isn't great, and now it's spring and here it's getting warm (hot and humid, Houston summers aren't the most pleasant), well, I think it's exacerbating the problem--a lot of people with his digestive issues have more trouble in the summer. We may try tea tree oil again, as a band-aid (didn't work last time, but maybe his unhappiness was too intense, whereas now he and I are both in much better shape mentally/emotionally), but I think the problem we truly need to address is digestion and diet. It'll be a slower solution, and more work, and it's not a guarantee that I'm right, but that's my best guess now.

I have a hard time figuring out if homeopathic remedies are helping. I mean--I've seen some really work, the nat mur for DD's canker sores is rocking good, and ledum for DS's fire ant bites, but others I haven't been sure of. But even the nat mur--I think part of the underlying reason she kept getting canker sores was zinc deficiency. I've been working on that for years, and I didn't see a change in the canker sores, but when I added the nat mur acutely when she got the canker sores plus the zinc she gets every day, well, the canker sores happened less and less frequently, and now it's been more than a year since she's had one. But it's a combination approach, a concrete underlying issue, plus the homeopathic.

I don't know if I've described things very well. It took me changing the way I think, not just substituting in better products, but making lists of possible root causes for why these things (all our health issues) are happening to me, and not the lady next door, and then starting to try stuff. There's been trial-and-error mixed in, plenty of it.
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#4 of 51 Old 04-20-2010, 03:17 PM
 
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as far as natural deodorant goes, all the ones i tried were lousy. so now i use baking soda and cornstarch and it works way way better! I rub a little coconut oil under my arms (not entirely necessary but it gives the powder something to stick to.) and, using a blush brush, i brush on a mix of equal parts cornstarch and baking soda from a jar that i keep in the bathroom. the baking soda makes you not stinky and the cornstarch keeps the baking soda from being all scratchy. you can put a few drops of essential oil in it to make it smell nice, too.
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#5 of 51 Old 04-20-2010, 05:17 PM
 
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I think it depends on the situation. I've tried the "natural" remedies for UTIs (cranberry pills, D-mannose, etc.) but since I have a nerve issue that's causing the UTIs, they didn't help. But I am taking Pure Encapsulations Anti-Inflammatories (which has natural things like turmeric and bromelain) and it works better than ibuprofin.

I find that Arnica gel works way better on relieving my muscle spasms than any of the Ben-Gay type rubs.

I found that Bentonite Clay reduces my DS's food reactions by a third, when nothing else affected them at all.

I also find that if I ask the right people, I know which ones work and don't work, so that I'm not spending a ton of money on useless things. Not all things work for all people, regardless of whether it's "natural" or not. For instance for allergies, DH uses Rhinocort, which gave me nosebleeds. I tried Claritin, and it didn't work at all for me. So big pharm doesn't necessarily work all the time either. I wouldn't issue a blanket statement on either.

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#6 of 51 Old 04-20-2010, 05:31 PM
 
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I highly recommend the book Prescription for Nutritional Healing. They go through the research and are very thorough. They also lists drug reactions for herbs and vitamins. It's a good,evidence approach to things.

Not everything works and every body is different. Natural remedies are often slower than allopathic ones.


My experience is, if a natural remedy is going to work, you'll know it. Sometimes it works great, sometimes just so-so. If it's not, you'll know it and move on.

The homeopathic stuff is on shaky ground scientifically but I do think it helped DD with her colds but the effect was very mild. I still wish she was old enough for stronger stuff.

Also, to me, deodorant is not the same category. Natural cosmetic and hygiene products are notoriously overhyped and overpriced ime.

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#7 of 51 Old 04-20-2010, 07:18 PM
 
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as far as natural deodorant goes, all the ones i tried were lousy. so now i use baking soda and cornstarch and it works way way better! I rub a little coconut oil under my arms (not entirely necessary but it gives the powder something to stick to.) and, using a blush brush, i brush on a mix of equal parts cornstarch and baking soda from a jar that i keep in the bathroom. the baking soda makes you not stinky and the cornstarch keeps the baking soda from being all scratchy. you can put a few drops of essential oil in it to make it smell nice, too.
Do you still sweat with this, or it clogs your pores?
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#8 of 51 Old 04-20-2010, 09:02 PM
 
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Sometimes I use 'natural' therapies so I won't have the side effetcs that come with using allopathic ones. Eg. I'd use natural deodorant so I won't have to deal with aluminum, etc. in the mainstream ones. It likely won't work as good, but is'a cost/benefit analysis at that point.

I've also gone through reams of stuff that works well or not at all, and I can't explain why they did or didn't work.

eg. Hyland's homeopathic ear pills put my screaming toddler (screaming from an ear infection) asleep in 2 min. Garlic oil also helps really well. I'd prefer to use these as a first line of defense rather than casually scripted antibx.

I usually read up on something to death before I add it to my repertoire, and if it's not backed up, I won't go for it.
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#9 of 51 Old 04-20-2010, 09:31 PM
 
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Yeah, I look for studies too.

But nothing works for everyone. Not even prescription meds. Some statins are effective for something like 30% of the population--not a great success rate, but you wouldn't know that from the commericials.

V

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#10 of 51 Old 04-21-2010, 10:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by tanyalynn View Post
I have a hard time figuring out if homeopathic remedies are helping. I mean--I've seen some really work, the nat mur for DD's canker sores is rocking good, and ledum for DS's fire ant bites, but others I haven't been sure of. But even the nat mur--I think part of the underlying reason she kept getting canker sores was zinc deficiency. I've been working on that for years, and I didn't see a change in the canker sores, but when I added the nat mur acutely she got the canker sores plus the zinc she gets every day, well, the canker sores happened less and less frequently, and now it's been more than a year. But it's a combination approach, a concrete underlying issue, plus the homeopathic.

I don't know if I've described things very well. It took me changing the way I think, not just substituting in better products, but making lists of possible root causes for why these things (all our health issues) are happening to me, and not the lady next door, and then starting to try stuff. There's been trial-and-error mixed in, plenty of it.
As it always should be! Homeopathics do NOT take the place of adequate nutrition!

I will add my two cents here. Natural methods that we utilize successfully aren't used allopathically. By that I meant that it's not about using a natural version vs an allopathic method for us. It's about shifting the paradigm to a place that allows healing and using alternative methods to support that. For the deoderant issue, eliminating processed food, sugars and giving my body food that it handles efficiently greatly reduced my need for deoderant so that the natural stuff that works well was perfectly adequate. That's one example from the many that you posted.

I also have observed that people often don't use natural remedies correctly. I'm not saying this is the case for you-just an observation. They generally DO need to be used with more frequency and the changes can be slower. However the way I look at this is that it's part of paying attention to our bodies and cultivating health. Yes, it's more inconvenient but in the long run we pay quite a price for convenience.

Anyway, just my two cents.
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#11 of 51 Old 04-21-2010, 12:11 PM
 
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Check out GreenMedInfo.com It is my favorite new site!! GreenMedInfo.com exists in order to provide free and convenient access to the biomedical research available today on the therapeutic value of natural substances in disease prevention and treatment.

You can search by Ailment. http://www.greenmedinfo.com/ailments

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#12 of 51 Old 04-21-2010, 12:29 PM
 
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Homeopathic remedies can be easily antidoted. For example, caffeine will disrupt the effect of the homeopathic remedy or even reverse the symptom. If you drink coffee, and nurse your infant, then the homeopathic remedy might not work because of low levels of caffeine in your breastmilk - and caffeine has a very long half-life in infancy, so if you drink coffee and they nurse, they may never clear all the caffeine from their system and homopathic remedies might not work.

I recently learned that mint can antidote. And toothpaste, because of the mint, I believe...google antidote homeopathy and it's easy to see how some people may never respond to homeopathy because of the antidoting factors in their lives.

DS, 10/07. Allergies: peanut, egg, wheat. We've added dairy back in. And taken it back out again. It causes sandpaper skin with itchy patches and thrashing during sleep. Due w/ #2 late April, 2012.

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#13 of 51 Old 04-21-2010, 12:50 PM
 
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i also think the use of herbalism, homeopathy, flower essences, aromatherapy et al are also depended on what else your doing. are you accidentally counteracting the therapies your using? how is your nutrition? enviromental exposures? are you giving time to the complimentary medicine you are using?

i use the word you in the general form not the specific. ftr.

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#14 of 51 Old 04-21-2010, 01:24 PM
 
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Homeopathic remedies can be easily antidoted. For example, caffeine will disrupt the effect of the homeopathic remedy or even reverse the symptom. If you drink coffee,
My understanding is that it is the coffee, not the caffeine which is an issue for antidoting homeopathic remedies. Some practitioners do more frequent dosing or don't worry about coffee and mint. We are easily antidoted here and must remain very vigilant about it.

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#15 of 51 Old 04-21-2010, 01:27 PM
 
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i also think the use of herbalism, homeopathy, flower essences, aromatherapy et al are also depended on what else your doing. are you accidentally counteracting the therapies your using? how is your nutrition? environmental exposures? are you giving time to the complimentary medicine you are using?
Yes, energy medicine has many ways it can be disrupted. We've had amazing benefits from homeopathy, flower essences, aromatheraphy, etc. Wouldn't have believed without seeing for myself, however. So, I understand if one's experience has been different. I just know dh no longer has asthma and allergies, nor medications for these since starting homeopathy about 5 years ago.


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#16 of 51 Old 04-21-2010, 01:40 PM
 
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I sort of feel this way too, which makes me sad because I really really want to use natural stuff as much as possible. For example, as a baby, none of the natural (herbal or homeopathic) remedies did anything for DD and I often had to resort to Motrin or antibiotics, which would work immediately. When I had depression, I researched and tried everything under the sun I could think of to avoid meds (light therapy, high dose vitamins, fish oil, aminio acid therapy, accupuncture, exercise). Nothing worked at all. But within a few days of taking Prozac I started feeling better. (Of course it came with all kinds of crappy side effects, but the point is, that is the only thing that "fixed" my brain chemistry issue.) And when people tell me that lavender helps them sleep, or mint relieves their migraines, I am just because I feel zip from stuff like that. Maybe I'm overly toxic. lol

Having said that, I did have one amazing thing happen....conventional doctors couldn't do anything about a skin condition I had, but a naturopath cleared it up in one visit.
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#17 of 51 Old 04-21-2010, 06:15 PM
 
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My understanding is that it is the coffee, not the caffeine which is an issue for antidoting homeopathic remedies. Some practitioners do more frequent dosing or don't worry about coffee and mint. We are easily antidoted here and must remain very vigilant about it.

Pat
Huh. OK, I stand corrected. (and I used to think it was the flouride in the toothpaste, but it's probably the mint that's a problem.)

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Yes, energy medicine has many ways it can be disrupted. We've had amazing benefits from homeopathy, flower essences, aromatheraphy, etc. Wouldn't have believed without seeing for myself, however. So, I understand if one's experience has been different. I just know dh no longer has asthma and allergies, nor medications for these since starting homeopathy about 5 years ago.


Pat
And I wouldn't have believed it unless I'd seen it myself. And the antidoting - after DS had a single BIT of mint, it brought back the coughing that the homeopathic remedy had been keeping in check - immediately!

DS, 10/07. Allergies: peanut, egg, wheat. We've added dairy back in. And taken it back out again. It causes sandpaper skin with itchy patches and thrashing during sleep. Due w/ #2 late April, 2012.

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#18 of 51 Old 04-21-2010, 06:22 PM
 
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And I don't get antidoted by any quantity of mint, but coffee will knock any remedy right out of me. I am very sensitive to caffeine and even a little bit will instantly stop my remedy from working.

Dh takes his remedy with his coffee and has no problem. He has no issue with mint either.

Dd can't do mint or her remedy is toast, but she also has an allergy to mint so that's not suprising. Point being, It's very individual.
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#19 of 51 Old 04-21-2010, 06:23 PM
 
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WuWei - thanks for that site. What a great resource!
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#20 of 51 Old 04-21-2010, 06:46 PM
 
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(and I used to think it was the flouride in the toothpaste, but it's probably the mint that's a problem.)

Yep, mint, not fluoride, as far as I know.

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#21 of 51 Old 04-21-2010, 06:47 PM
 
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And I don't get antidoted by any quantity of mint, but coffee will knock any remedy right out of me. I am very sensitive to caffeine and even a little bit will instantly stop my remedy from working.

Dh takes his remedy with his coffee and has no problem. He has no issue with mint either.

Dd can't do mint or her remedy is toast, but she also has an allergy to mint so that's not suprising. Point being, It's very individual.

You making this stuff up?





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#22 of 51 Old 04-21-2010, 07:05 PM
 
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Not even a little. Dd is crazy allergic to mint so as I said, not suprising there! But dh drinks several cups o' joe a day and I can't think of the last time that I gave him his remedy where he wasn't in the midst of a cup! However (and I've said this before) the last remedy I needed to antidote all it took was a half a cup of coffee. Stopped the action of the remedy immediately and I shook for hours. I am NOT a coffee drinker!

As I said too, in parts of India it's fairly common to give remedies IN coffee. They still work.
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#23 of 51 Old 04-23-2010, 11:07 AM
 
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I highly recommend the book Prescription for Nutritional Healing.
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#24 of 51 Old 04-24-2010, 04:48 AM
 
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Do you still sweat with this, or it clogs your pores?
yes, you still sweat; you just don't stink.
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#25 of 51 Old 04-24-2010, 08:56 PM
 
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It's really important when trying to heal using natural methods to try to figure out what is causing the symptoms. It's not hard to find some substance that will suppress a symptom and make you feel better temporarily. But that's not healing. In the end, it only drives the problem in deeper.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about. Let's say you have a rash. You try natural ointments and they don't work at all. You then resort out of desperation to using hydrocortizone ointment, and it of course clears the rash, but only temporarily. If you stop using it the rash will come back, or even worse, it won't come back but the imbalance is driven deeper into your system and causes far worse problems than a rash.

If in the first place you had tried to find the cause of the rash, be it an allergy, toxicity, stress or autoimmunity, then you would have known how to treat it effectively using natural substances. The root cause must be neutralized for the problem to truly be solved.

One example of real healing is the case of my mother's psoriasis. She didn't want to use steroids to control it so she called me. I knew from her health history that the rash was likely so much worse because of poor diet and irregularity. I helped her change her diet and added detoxifying herbs. She also used a detoxifying ointment. She noticed dramatic improvement from this treatment. But it was because we addressed the cause, not the symptom.

The main reason natural substances don't seem to work as well is because people don't approach their health problems from the right angle. This is why it is much of the time wiser to see a professional such as an ND than to try to self-treat.
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#26 of 51 Old 04-24-2010, 10:12 PM
 
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#27 of 51 Old 04-25-2010, 08:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks! I totally understand about just doing something to cover up the symptom instead of treating the cause. Healing my gut/insides takes a lot longer than using some athlete's foot spray, though, and I cannot let the fungus or yeast get worse and worse while trying to fix my insides. So that's why I'm trying to fix my inside. I did see my ND the other day, she suspects it's mainly my liver being overworked, and also I am doing a lab kit test to check the bacteria levels in my gut.

I would have been able to take care of this sooner had there not been a time/money issue Now that I have been laid off work, I have more time, but then I have to worry about the money issue even more

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#28 of 51 Old 04-26-2010, 09:54 AM
 
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That is always an issue and one I certainly understand. I also wouldn't want to watch someone be in discomfort while waiting to heal-I don't think anyone would. Then it becomes an issue of properly addressing the underlying cause while simultaneously addressing the cause of your acute discomfort. This can often me done in a non-suppressive way. For something like you are describing something as simple as calendula can be used, but it will generally take more time, energy and attention than your standard over the counter application. At that point you have to chose that path that makes sense to you and is practical for your life. For me, I'm very willing to go out of my way and don't mind taking the extra steps but I am also understanding of the fact that not everyone feels the same way. I've been lucky enough to see consistent and considerable changes using natural medicine as my primary modality for the last 15 years, but it's been an evolution.

I'm sure your liver is struggling a bit given the symptoms, and I hope you get that figured out! There are many ways to support your liver and I'm quite sure that Pat has excellent links lined up.
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#29 of 51 Old 05-01-2010, 05:30 AM
 
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We've learned that most illnesses don't need to be treated. For example, nothing has helped with teething except hugs and cuddles (and yes, we've tried orajel). I hear you about testing products, that's why I like to get recommendations from people I trust. For example, homeopathics have never worked for me or mine, so when people suggest homeopathics, I smile and nod (and remember that they suggested it, so maybe some of their other suggestions might not be that useful to me either). Fevers are another example of something that I don't treat (and really shouldn't anyway). Treating a fever, using tylenol or herbs, only works against the body's immune functions (fever is one response of the immune system to kill pathogens- your body intentionally causes a fever!)

I completely agree with someone's statement about looking for the underlying cause and treating that instead of the symptoms.

Some allopathic treatments do seem to work better. When I found out that gentian violet is a byproduct of the manufacturing of coal tar, I decided that maybe treating thrush with nyastatin wasn't such a bad idea. And it worked! I use Tom's of Maine deodorant (which is "natural" but apparently one of the ingredients isn't that great) and it works for me (maybe it won't work for you, body odor is a very personalized thing)- so do the Thai crystals. But I haven't found any other natural deodorants that would work for me. Diet and lifestyle also play a huge role in body odor, and some people can't control their odor even with prescription antiperspirants.

On the other hand, when I was suffering from a yeast infection during my last pregnancy, almost NOTHING actually worked for me. I tried all of the suggested "natural" remedies- garlic pessaries and eating garlic, yogurt douches, going undie-free, etc. etc. I even tried Monistat- that burned like hell, but I went through the full course and it still didn't make a difference. I was pregnant and nursing a toddler, and yet I tried the candida diet (I modified it to exclude all grains, some versions of the candida diet say that gluten/yeast free breads are okay *headslap* those are high glycemic, and thus are introducing a lot of sugar in your blood stream!) Anyway, this is essentially a zero-carb diet. Nope, no effect whatsoever! Finally, I tried this product from New Zealand- Kolorex. It's an herbal cream, and it made a huge difference!! (I think I bought it off of vitacost.com) The package claims it's only for symptomatic relief, but it was a cure for me (and even if it was only for symptomatic relief, that would have been better than nothing when I was constantly itchy!)

Breastmilk has helped for cruddy eyes, which might have become pinkeye. But my kids have never had diagnosed pinkeye (is this because they've never actually contracted an eye infection, or because I was always extremely prompt about treating them with breastmilk? who knows!)

I guess the take home lesson is that there are A LOT of natural remedies out there. It's a nearly unregulated industry, and there are people out there who are willing to believe anything. Not only that, but most people who take natural remedies don't see a doctor for diagnosis (I usually don't either FWIW). No, doctors aren't perfect, but they are trained to rely on a fairly standard set of criteria in order to diagnose a problem. They make mistakes, a lot, and most of their decisions are really just educated guesses. Nevertheless, they usually come to a more standard diagnosis than your average person. That means that when my kid gets an illness and I diagnose it, then I "cure" it with whatever regimen, we really have no way of knowing that what I did actually had an effect- it could have been psychosomatic, or it could have been the body curing itself despite my efforts (or maybe my efforts were the cause of the cure). Who knows? Because of that, you need to be vigilant yourself- this is no matter what you're using (whether it's allopathic, herbal, homeopathic, etc.)

Anyway, as someone else stated, not even all prescription drugs work for every person (anti depressants are another example). And they typically cost quite a bit more than your average "natural" remedy!
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BTW, the company I mentioned which had a wonderful vaginal yeast cream also makes a foot fungus cream. I've never tried it, but I can imagine if the vaginal cream worked so well, the foot cream should too.
You can find it here on vitacost for 13.89
http://www.vitacost.com/Natures-Sour...-Foot-Toe-Care

If you do end up trying it, I'd be curious to see how it worked for you. Like I said in my other post, the vaginal cream from this company worked for me even when Monistat didn't make a difference!

Oh, and be sure to wash your socks in hot water, maybe even with bleach (yup, another not natural thing that has no real replacement). You can also spray sandals, etc. with hydrogen peroxide (which is semi-natural, microbes in/on your body do make small amounts of hydrogen peroxide) and be sure to dry them well!
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