Safety of Alternative Medicine

Many people associate the word “natural” with safe and think that alternative medicines must be benign. This is often not the case! For example, cyanide and arsenic are natural substances and have the potential to create much harm (even death). While most CAM therapies are safe, many have side effects or can interfere with standard medical prescriptions. Problems often arise when people take large amounts of natural supplements thinking that "more is better", or when people take supplements along with standard medications without first checking to see if mixing treatments in this fashion might cause problems.

Complementary and Alternative medicines have the advantage of being easily available over-the-counter (a prescription is not necessary). The ease of obtaining CAM medicines may lead to a false sense of security about their safety. Remember that CAM remedies are not harmless. Natural substances can have side effects and/or interfere with conventional drugs (either by strengthening or weakening their effects). If you are taking any prescription medications, always check with a qualified health practitioner before starting any natural therapy.

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