By Rosalie Wellbright
Medical doctors nationwide are finally waking up and smelling the coffee. A study shows that more and more medical doctors tend to prescribe at least some herbal remedies and that they themselves take supplements. For example, more than half of the cardiologists, orthopedists and dermatologists interviewed said they recommend dietary supplements to their patients, and they also admitted that they take supplements themselves.
What doctors are using
The multivitamin is most often taken by the specialists — 44 percent of all cardiologists, 61 percent of all dermatologists and 57 percent of all orthopedists say they had taken a multivitamin within the past year.
More than 25 percent of physicians in each specialty said they had used omega-3 or fish body oil, while 20 percent of each of the three specialty groups said they had taken a botanical supplement in the past year. Green tea was the most popular.
Health and wellness were the top reasons physicians said they took supplements — including 32 percent of cardiologists, 42 percent of dermatologists and 43 percent of orthopedists.
A growing openness
This research reveals a rapidly growing openness about using herbal remedies in clinical settings. “Health professionals, including physicians, have an interest in healthy lifestyles and in habits that may contribute to wellness, which may include the use of dietary supplements,” Annette Dickinson, consultant to and past president of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, said in a statement.
The study also showed that cardiologists are more likely to take a nutritional supplement to help their heart, while orthopedic doctors are more likely to take them to help with joint health. Of course I suppose it’s possible that this tendency is just a case of doctors taking their work home with them. Or maybe they’ve been scared silly by patients’ conditions that they see regularly during their rounds and are looking for all the protection they can get. In any case, it’s gratifying to see mainstream physicians waking up to the world of natural health, and I’m cautiously optimistic that they will continue to investigate and adopt more and more herbal medicine practices.
Public health recommendation
More good news is that the American Heart Association is now recommending the use of fish oil supplements by large parts of the population (individuals diagnosed with coronary artery disease and those with high triglyceride levels).
It’s happening here
I recently went through a nasty bout with Celiac Disease, which damages the finger-like surface projections called villi, in the small intestine (a process known as villous atrophy), and a mainstream doctor recommended aloe vera juice, ginger root and L-glutamate to speed the repair of my damaged villi. I have to report that these remedies are working just fine, and I called my doctor and told her so. Herbal remedies really do work. The ancients knew it, our great grandmothers knew it, and now our doctors are beginning to get the message. Welcome aboard, doctors! Better late than never, as they say.