Much like greenwashing in the green sector of consumer products, over-the-counter health and wellness products can be misleading to people looking for a solution to their common cold. Just like eco-friendly doesn’t mean compostable, homeopathic does not mean “cure-all”. Likewise, homeopathy and natural remedies are not the same thing- though they’re marketed similarly in a lot of cases.
Homeopathic medicine is another word for alternative medicine and though it’s not aimed at being malicious, it’s neither vetted by the FDA nor proven by science to cure or ‘remedy’ anything. In other words, there is no government agency looking over homeopathy and verifying anything about their safety and effectiveness. More often than not, these ‘medicines’ are diluted down with water or another agent and rarely have scientific studies to back their ingredients.
On a darker note, some homeopathic remedies are downright dangerous by the same principle. This was the case in Canada, when despite any scientific evidence, a woman prescribed watered down rabid dog saliva to a four-year-old with behavioral issues. Why did anyone think it would ever be safe to give a four-year-old human the saliva of a rabid dog? Because they’re buying into the promise of homeopathic remedies without doing their research first.
Though not all examples of homeopathic medicine are as extreme as the case in Canada, they’re mostly based on the same lack of scientific evidence. Water cannot retain a high nutrient balance either, so whether you’re watering down saliva or natural ingredients, there is no promise that it will benefit your health.
The first step to ensuring you purchase products that are safe for you and your family is understanding the ingredients on the back of the box. Though not all natural remedies are required to be reviewed by the FDA, natural remedies rarely water down their ingredients.
By taking a look at the ingredients list on the back of the box, it will be easier to tell if something is watered down- as these products typically list water within the first three ingredients. If you’re looking to ensure your safety, credible natural remedies like Biovanta use FDA approved ingredients that are scientifically proven. Also look for language like “scientifically proven” or “clinically proven”.
For natural cold relief and immunity boosting, some of the natural ingredients to look for include:
- Natural Menthol
Last but not least, never start any new medicine without first consulting your primary care doctor. That applies to vitamins and supplements, too. Though most over-the-counter remedies do not pose a serious risk to your health, it’s important to talk with your doctor before adding new medicines or supplements to your regimen- especially if you have pre-existing health issues.
Homeopathic medicine is not proven. That said, it’s not always toxic. For example, timeless classics like honey soothing a sore throat are by no means dangerous – they occur in nature and pre-date modern medicine. Though it may not necessarily because you harm, it’s best to avoid any ‘new trends’ in alternative medicine. Instead, check ingredients and look for those with scientifically proven efficacy.
The next time you’re in the pharmacy and wondering which product to pull off the shelf- opt for the natural product instead of the homeopathic option. To borrow from a Western Medicine Adage: What do you call alternative medicine that works? Medicine.