Alternative medicine, a branch of medicine that has existed since the 1800s, is expanding its reach.
With a growing body of evidence that alternative medicine can be beneficial for people with mental illnesses, and with a burgeoning movement to take a stand against the pharmaceutical industry, it seems like a good time to look at the best of alternative medicine.
Alternative medicine is a booming field.
But how do we define the term?
Here’s a quick rundown of what alternative medicine means.
We’ll also discuss some of the main controversies surrounding the field.
Alternative medicine is the branch of medical science that focuses on treating specific ailments or illnesses by combining traditional treatments with alternative therapies.
There are various kinds of alternative medicines, including herbal medicines, acupuncture, massage, homeopathy, naturopathy, acupuncture-only and alternative medicines that contain no herbs or medications at all.
Many are marketed as healthful treatments, such as herbal remedies, and are typically sold over the counter or as prescription drugs.
Some alternative medicine companies sell products that are not approved for sale by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In some cases, the products may not be listed as approved by the FDA.
The F.D.A. does not regulate the use of alternative therapies, and does not have the authority to impose restrictions on what people can do with them.
Some companies have been sued by the F.L.O. over alleged violations of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
They also often claim that the FDA does not protect them from lawsuits.
And many companies that are selling products that contain ingredients that are approved for use in conventional medicine are also selling products with no FDA approval at all, making it hard to determine what the FDA is regulating.
Here are the key differences between alternative medicine and traditional medicine.
Traditional medicineThe term “alternative medicine” is sometimes used to describe a group of treatments that don’t necessarily have FDA approval, but that are marketed for treating a specific medical condition.
Examples include homeopathy and acupuncture.
In some countries, homeopathic remedies are considered medical treatments, and can be used to treat a variety of conditions.
Alternative therapies, on the other hand, usually have no FDA-approved ingredients, and do not have a clinical benefit or any way to prove that they work.
A typical example of an alternative medicine product.
(Photo: Flickr user Gwynn Jones)In the United States, alternative medicine generally refers to homeopathic and alternative treatments that use natural or herbal ingredients.
The term alternative means different from the conventional word, such that the term does not include things like vitamins, herbs, and supplements.
Many companies sell a wide range of products, including homeopathic toothpaste, home remedies, dietary supplements, and herbal teas.
Alternative products may contain no ingredients other than their name, but often are marketed to treat specific conditions, such like depression and anxiety.
Many of these companies claim to have proven cures for illnesses, such with the treatment of depression and autism, but they’re not FDA-regulated.
Homeopathy has been around for centuries, and has proven to be effective in treating a variety the conditions listed above.
But because homeopathy is not FDA approved, many companies sell homeopathic products without any specific FDA-approval.
Some of the more well-known alternative medicine brands.
(Source: Alamy)The F.R.D.’s website lists more than 50 different types of homeopathic, herbal, natural, and complementary medicine products, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that there are more than 1,000 different alternative medicine products on the market.
These products vary widely in their ingredients, but are generally labeled “natural,” “homeopathic,” or “alternatives.”
Some of these products may be marketed as treatments for specific conditions that aren’t considered “serious” or “life threatening,” but some may be effective for treating conditions like depression or anxiety.
Some homeopathic treatments are not FDA compliant.
And some alternative medicines may contain ingredients approved by other countries, such a homeopathic cough remedy, or a herbal weight loss product.
Some homeopathic medicines may not contain FDA-mandated ingredient labels.
(Image: Shutterstock)There are a number of homeopathy products that do not require a prescription, and some of them are not labeled with a “no prescription required” or a “recommended use only” label.
But if a company sells a product without a prescription or a label, it’s considered a form of fraud, a violation of the law.
For example, a homeopath in the United Kingdom was sued last year after the Homeopathic Medical Association of England (HMMA) said that it did not require the Homeopaths Guild to list any ingredients in its products.
The court ruled that the Homeopathy Council of England, which has over 600,000 members, did not have to make the ingredients available to the public, but was required to comply with the Medicines and Healthcare