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Millions of Americans rely upon natural or alternative healthcare. In fact, the National Institutes for Health found that more than one-third of U.S. adults choose natural healthcare alternatives for some health issues. Although only 5% of Americans rely solely on natural medicine, the average user spends more than $1,000 a year on natural practitioner fees, supplements and self-care.

Get a Diagnosis

Visit your local doctor instead of starting a self-diagnosed treatment for a suspected problem. One thing western medicine can do very well is diagnose an ailment. Mistakes can be made, but diagnostic tests usually identify the issue. With a specific diagnosis in hand, consult your favorite natural practitioner if you choose to do so. Self-diagnosis can be dangerous.

Supplements are not Regulated

The FDA defines a supplement as something edible and not meant to "treat, diagnose, prevent, or cure diseases.” Of course, that's not why people buy and use supplements. Supplements are not regulated, allowing them to be brought to market much faster than prescription drugs. The FDA will ban an occasional supplement after reports of deaths and injuries (as happened with Ephedra), but this is the exception, not the rule.

Know What You're Buying

It's essential to know what you're buying. Natural products can be every bit as powerful as prescription medications and can also interact badly with other medications. For this reason, it's important that your doctor have a current list of what you're taking. vThat being said, probiotics, fish oil, turmeric, cayenne, and countless other natural supplements are invaluable. It simply takes more work to find trusted suppliers. Buying solely on price could mean buying a contaminated product. One study found that 20% of internet purchases of Indian Ayurvedic medicines were contaminated by lead, mercury or arsenic. Choose quality, not price.

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The Dosage Dilemma

Doctors can have difficulties determining the appropriate dosage for a patient. This problem is compounded when dealing with natural medications. Should you buy a multi-supplement containing a small amount of the active ingredient or one that contains only that herb, vitamin or mineral? Should it be used with something else? What is the correct dosage and timing? A visit to an experienced herbalist could prove very useful.

Natural healthcare has worked for thousands of years and continues to provide health benefits and cost savings today. Many experienced alternative healthcare practitioners are eager to share their knowledge. Discover all of the benefits that natural healthcare could provide for your family.

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn't on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Rachelle recommends The Center for Discovery for those interested in quality healthcare. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook

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