Western medicine Top 10 Things I Wish I Could Change About Western Medicine

Just over a month ago I experienced something I never expected – a 4-day hospitalization following a major surgery.  Even though I did everything in my power to have a natural and unmedicated home birth with my first child, after 2 1/2 days of labor and not progressing in my labor I made the choice to transfer to the hospital and have a C-section.

I was grateful then, and I am grateful now for skilled doctors who were able to cut me open and deliver my baby in as safe a way as possible.  And I am thankful for the nurses who did a great job caring for me in the aftermath of this surgery.  Though my C-section was the first time in many years that I utilized Western medicine in any significant way, I am very glad there are people with the training and expertise needed to administer life-saving surgeries and other aspects of high-tech Western medicine.  Allopathic medicine certainly has its place in my healthcare repertoire, even though it is the system I rely upon the least.

All these things aside, my recent encounter with Western medicine has also reminded me of some of its shortcomings.  I first became painfully aware of many of these issues during the years I struggled with autoimmune illness.  In spite of my monthly doctor visits and undergoing every test at their disposal to figure out why at age 24 I suddenly went from a healthy and active individual to disabled both physically and cognitively, my doctors could never really find anything wrong with me.  I was handed a prescription for Zoloft, as if depression was the cause of my sudden inability to walk up a flight of stairs without spending the next day or two in bed.

During the 6 years I struggled with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia, my views on Western medicine underwent a pretty significant transformation.  We need Western medicine, but here are the top 10 things I wish I could change about it -

10. It has become a big, top-down bureaucratic system, and that’s only getting worse.

More and more, doctors’ hands are being tied by a system that forces them to give cookie-cutter care to their patients. Obamacare will take these constraints to new levels as a small committee of “experts” has the power to determine what treatments are allowable for different conditions.  If the committee doesn’t recognize a treatment, it can’t be covered by insurance.

9. Medical schools are funded by Big Pharma.

Doctors are heavily indoctrinated in pharmaceutical drugs when they are in medical school.  And unfortunately, this monopoly of the pharmaceutical industry makes it difficult or impossible for lower-cost, more effective holistic solutions to break in to the mainstream medical system.

8. Far too often, there is a condescending attitude toward holistic medicine.

I know there are many exceptions, but there are still too many doctors out there who teach their patients that if it’s not a drug or a surgery, it won’t do them any good.

7. Hospital food.  Need I say more?  :/

Do we really want to feed highly-processed, nutrient-poor foods to people who already have compromised health?  Some hospitals do better than others – the hospital I was in for my C-section actually had some pretty healthy selections.  And some of the food was quite tasty (some of it wasn’t)!  But some of the things I’ve seen served to people on their deathbeds would be enough to quickly finish them off!

6. The assumption that doctor always knows best.

Our whole medical system practically deifies the position of the doctor.  We are trained to give our power to the man or woman in the white coat.  Though a doctor may be highly trained in some area of medicine, few of them have a thorough understanding of the true foundations for health.

5. Rarely do you know how much anything will cost.  Even if you try, you will be hard-pressed to shop around for best prices.

I truly wish there was greater cost transparency in medicine.  I envision a system where the individual has more control over their healthcare dollars with health savings accounts.  People could shop for best prices and doctors with the best patient reviews. Competition for peoples’ business would encourage good care while concurrently driving costs down.

4. Once you get on the Western medicine train for any given health condition, it is very difficult to get off that train.

Far too often, one intervention or drug leads to another.  Unless you do your own research and can make a case to your doctor for or against specific treatments, you risk finding yourself on a path you never intended on.  Before you know it, you could be taking several prescription drugs and lining up for other expensive treatments that may not even be necessary.

3. There is a huge over-reliance on drugs and surgeries for health problems of all kinds.

How often do you hear doctors promoting lifestyle changes before any mention of a drug or surgery?  I applaud those doctors who first address lifestyle changes with their patients.  We need more doctors who will do so!

2. There is an over-reliance on antibiotics and vaccines for infectious disease.

Western medicine gives little regard for lifestyle and foundational elements of immune health, and instead likes to push vaccines and antibiotics as if they are the only way to combat infectious disease.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.

1. Western medical remedies often create as many or more problems than they solve.

From drug side-effects, to antibiotics killing off our gut microbiome, to negative effects of surgery, Western medicine comes with some pretty hefty risks to our health.  That’s why I always try to address lifestyle issues and utilize holistic measures first before heading to a doctor for a drug or surgery.  Unless it’s an emergency situation, it always pays to use the medicines with the least potential negative effects first.  Herbs, essential oils, acupuncture, Reiki, reflexology, and etc… – these modalities come with little chance of negative effect while concurrently helping get to the root problem of many illnesses.


I’m not naive enough to think that it’s very likely that our Western medical system will be overhauled to my specifications.  But it is my hope that healthcare workers, healthcare activists, holistic healers, and patients can band together more and more to create a system that truly serves the patient and leads to improved health at every level.

What do you love about Western medicine?  How would you like to see Western medicine changed?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

signature opt Top 10 Things I Wish I Could Change About Western Medicine



Also See:

A Recipe for Real Healthcare Reform *hint* it’s not Obamacare!


 Julie 3 June 2013 crop Top 10 Things I Wish I Could Change About Western MedicineJulie Behling-Hovdal is a reflexologist/holistic healer and founder of Essential Survival where she teaches people how to prepare for the #1 cause of death in the event of an economic collapse — lack of access to medicines.  In 2005 Julie was able to get off 4 prescription drugs and heal from a 6-year stint of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia with products from Young Living Essential Oils. Get a free copy of her report “Fast Track Survival Medicines” at http://essentialsurvival.org/fast-track-survival-medicines/.


 These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.  These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  Anyone suffering from disease or injury should consult with a physician.


By Rebecca Potter

herbs for the lungs2 Herbs for the Lungs and Respiratory Health

On average, our lungs will help us take about 23,000 breaths a day, of which most we aren’t even consciously aware. But as soon as illness, blockage or an infection sets in preventing a few breaths, we notice! What herbs can we turn to for both overall lung protection and health for the long-term, as well as for immediate help when needed?

There are six main ways herbs can assist the lungs and respiratory system, and I wanted to give a couple herbal examples in each of these categories. Maybe you even have some of these growing in your yard and now you know another use for that mystery herb!

Pulmonary Tonics

These are the herbs I like to call “food for the lungs.” Sometimes the lungs just need a little help and strength against all the inhaled irritants, foreign invaders, and lack of exercise we give them. These tonic herbs are specific for the lungs and provide excellent nourishment, tone and regeneration for the whole respiratory system. For long-term healing and protection, these are the herbs you should turn to.

  • Dr. Christopher’s Lung and Bronchial Formula contains marshmallow root, mullein, chickweed, pleurisy root, lungwort and lobelia. These herbs are your lungs’ best friends as they provide excellent nourishment and support for the respiratory system. This formula also helps in cases of asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, coughs, pleurisy, pulmonary disease (COPD), respiratory infections, sinusitis, tuberculosis, and whooping cough.
  • Chickweed – If you have some chickweed growing nearby, gather some (as long as it’s not sprayed with chemicals!) and dry it to have your own lung tonic ready to use. Chickweed helps heal lung inflammation, get rid of phlegm, strengthens the tissue lining of the lungs, and helps with sore throats.

Anti-Microbial Herbs

If you are coughing up green or yellow phlegm, you probably are dealing with an infection, so it’s time to pull out the anti-microbial herbs. These herbs help the body to destroy or resist pathogenic microorganisms by helping the body strengthen its own resistance. Viruses and bacteria don’t have a chance when these herbs are in the mix.

  • Dr. Christopher’s Super Garlic Immune Syrup used to be called “The Anti-Plague Formula” if that clues you into this formula’s power. It is a vital part of my regime when I get sick, and I actually like the taste, too! It’s very helpful during upper respiratory infections, colds, flu, coughs, pneumonia or sore throat.
  • Echinacea – If garlic syrups aren’t your thing, Echinacea extract will be a winner for you. I always say vegetable glycerine Echinacea extract tastes like liquid candy! And it also happens to be an excellent immune tonic, stellar at activating those lovely white blood cells and kicking those lung defenses into high gear.

Expectorant Herbs

No one likes excess phlegm in the lungs, sinuses, or bronchial passages, so why not get some herbs on your side to help rid your lungs of this unwanted condition?

  • Dr. Christopher’s Sinus and Lung Formula is an effective formula of Brigham tea, horseradish root and cayenne for sinus congestion. When it’s time to show congestion who’s boss, take 20 drops in a cup of hot water every half hour.
  • Lobelia opens up the bronchial tubes and airways like nobody’s business. It has actually been a lifesaver in times of breathing emergencies like asthma. Use it wisely to stimulate breathing and promote coughing up of phlegm and excess mucus. A little goes a long way.
  • Mullein could be called the great protector of the lungs. It not only alleviates inflammations of the mucous membrane of the upper respiratory tract and inhibits the absorption of allergens, but it also dissolves phlegm and helps it find its way out. It’s helpful for lung disease, and chronic issues in the lungs.
  • Eucalyptus leaves aren’t just for koala bears. This expectorant herb soothes throat and sinus irritation, eases coughs and fights congestion like a boss. It also contains antioxidants and supports the immune system very well.

Demulcent Herbs

Demulcents are herbs rich in mucilage, which is a natural gum that soothes and lubricates inflamed mucous membranes. These herbs work wonders in acute conditions, especially reducing spasms that cause coughing.

  • Slippery Elm Bark is high in mucilage and therefore is effective as a very soothing herb to all mucous membranes, especially during lung hemorrhage. It also helps clean out excess mucus and other impurities, and promotes rapid healing and strengthening.
  • Marshmallow Root- Although not related to the yummy fluffy white goodness you take camping, it is just as much of a treasure. It has one of the highest mucilaginous contents and effectively heals mucous membranes in the lungs, absorbs toxins, and does great things for dry, irritating coughs.

Antispasmodic Herbs

Antispasmodics ease muscle cramps in general and prevent and ease spasms, both in the lungs and in the entire body.

  • Dr. Christopher’s Anti-Spasmodic Formula contains the powerful herbs skullcap, lobelia, cayenne, valerian root, skunk cabbage, myrrh gum and black cohosh. It is very useful for coughs, croup, asthma, whooping cough, and hiccups, and we all know how annoying those hiccups can be!
  • Lobelia is a powerful antispasmodic which stops respiratory system spasms in their tracks. It also relaxes smooth muscles and muscles of the smaller bronchial tubes, and stimulates the respiratory center within the brain stem. A good combination to use is first a little peppermint tea, followed by lobelia tea 10 minutes later.

Anti-inflammatory Herbs

These herbs effectively soothe inflammation, either directly or by helping the body’s own processes at reducing inflammation.

  • Ginger is both a stimulant and expectorant in the lungs, while providing natural anti-inflammatory action and help with coughing and chest infections and acting as a tonic on the mucous membranes of the lungs. Taking a ginger bath is a relaxing way to use its healing properties.
  • Comfrey is one of my favorite all-around herbs. It heals from the cellular level and also has a significant anti-inflammatory action. It is a great help in cases of bronchitis and coughing, and I use it all the time. It it soothing, healing and a great expectorant, too.

Deep Breathing and Nutrition

Two other natural healing aids for the lungs I want to mention are deep breathing and proper nutrition. Both of these things will be incredibly beneficial to your lungs overall. Deep breathing is excellent for helping manage respiratory illnesses as it strengthens and detoxifies the lungs, and evens helps dissolve hardened mucus in the lungs and sinus cavities. You’ve got 23,000 chances a day to breathe deeply, so try it out a few times!

A diet rich with alkaline green foods can tremendously improve respiratory problems. You might not know this, but a poor diet is one of the main contributors to respiratory diseases. For complete lung health, go easy on these foods that are the most mucus-causing: dairy, meat, refined and processed grains, and acidic beverages like beer, wine, champagne, soda pop, milk, hot chocolate, and coffee. Your lungs will thank you!

Next time you are feeling the need to give your lungs a little extra TLC, now you know what herbs can come in handy. May you breathe easy knowing you are ultimately prepared to take care of your lungs for life!



Rebecca Potter Master Herbalist 270x300 Herbs for the Lungs and Respiratory Health Rebecca Potter, MH, is a lifelong student of herbalism, a lover of herbs and natural healing. She feels passionately about sharing her knowledge and experience with herbs to empower all to achieve the greatest possible health potential. She received her Master Herbalist degree from The School of Natural Healing, and teaches herbal classes in her local area of Salt Lake City. She is a co-author along with Julie Behling-Hovdal and Col. Edward Behling of The Essential Survival Guide to Medical Preparedness. In addition to her herbal classes, Rebecca enjoys doing personalized herbal consultations and performs a variety of key functions at Essential Survival, LLC. Follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/iheartherbs for tips and ideas on herbal healing and nutrition.


These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.  These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  Anyone suffering from disease or injury should consult with a physician.

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