Consumer Driven Health Care

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Many Immigrants Choosing Herbal Remedies

"Faced with skyrocketing health care costs, lack of insurance and language barriers, many immigrants believe they are better off with homegrown remedies from their native cultures than conventional treatments."

This might seem like nonsense, given the stigma surrounding the term household remedy, but we are beginning to see a new mainstream attitude toward these simple solutions to common illnesses. In Consumer Driven Health Care, Dr. Blackwell and Dr. Williams explain a somewhat novel idea for making the US health care system more cost-effective and accessible for all classes: research these so-called household remedies and test their medical mettle.

If you think about it, it makes good (and economical) sense. First, it reinforces the alternative medical treatments by separating those that work and those whose worth can't be proven. Moreover, it raises mainstream awareness of those practices that have legitimate medical value and encourages household remedies to be the first line of defense against illness. This saves the time and money it takes to find and visit a doctor, find a pharmacy and fill a prescription and complete and file an insurance claim.

We're on the verge of acceptance, but that's a double-edged sword. It isn't simply a matter of getting people to use household remedies. We have to invest the time and resources to research and validate their legitimacy and educate the public regarding the harmful effects of certain ingredients.

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