To a certain extent, I differ from Dr. Morton Tavel’s view on food supplements. For there are plants and herbs that may not have been proven scientifically but are efficacious and safe.
In his book, Health Tips, Myths, and Tricks, Dr. Tavel says that “dietary supplements may not claim to diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent specific illnesses”. I agree with him on this. I’m aware that supplements are considered food and not meant to replace drugs. They don’t even guarantee a total eradication of serious health condition. Rather, dietary supplements are a home remedy to ease minor discomforts.
When Dr. Tavel further advised that he “…would strongly warn everyone to avoid all these products, for if you don’t, you may be literally taking your life into your own hands”. For me, his statement is an over-reaction! Turning to organic or plant-based sources to supplement a diet is not as fatal as the author-physician claims. I know when to go see a doctor and when to resort to home remedies.
I rather take the word of a pharmacist, who once told me that most of the commercial drugs are derived from the plants and herbs around us. She also said that many food ingredients and spices that we use every day have healing properties. She particularly mentioned onions, garlic, ginger, turmeric among many.
I’ve been using common spices to ease mild discomforts as far as I can remember. Like, I use garlic as an antibiotic to ease colds, ginger for a sore throat, etc… and just recently, turmeric!
From time to time, I experience flatulence and heartburn. And I always knew – or so I thought – how to relieve myself from the discomfort these conditions brought. I had my “favorite” over-the-counter medication. I’ve been using the same medication for years. Until I decided that my dependency on commercial medicine must stop. I didn’t want my body to be saturated with too many chemicals.
And so when the excruciating heartburn struck me again, I turned to what is available at home – the turmeric powder. Almost always, we keep some turmeric powder because I use it when cooking chicken curry. By the way, turmeric lends the curry recipe its golden yellow color. But it’s not spicy at all, as many would think it is.
Although I knew all the while that turmeric has been used since the ancient times to cure some health conditions, I’ve never tried it on myself. Not until when I had this heartburn episode once more.
By instinct, I took two teaspoonfuls of the turmeric powder and put it in a cup. And then I poured freshly boiled water into it. I drank the mixture slowly and waited for its effect, albeit half-heartedly, for I’ve never heard of anyone telling me that turmeric can ease heartburn. It was just a sort of little experiment on my part.
About 10 to 15 minutes later and while my cup was still half full, I noticed I was already perspiring profusely. At first, I thought it was the hot liquid that made me perspire, but I also realized my heartburn was gone and I was completely relieved. Since then, I’ve never turned to the once “favorite” over-the-counter medicine anymore. For I’ve got a terrific home remedy in turmeric. It even relieves me of my monthly dysmenorrhea and headache.
The mild discomforts that I experience, even if they are recurring, are not reasons enough for me to go see a doctor. As I’ve said, I don’t want to be too dependent on prescription drugs. And here is where I differ from what Dr. Tavel’s view on dietary supplements.