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Understanding Natural Health

     Our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made by God.  Every cell, tissue, organ, and gland was created to function together in a balanced state of wholeness. Natural health operates on the premise that the body is designed for health and that it will return to a state of wellness and balance when necessary raw materials are provided and obstacles that impede the healing process are removed. Rather than attempt to “treat” disease, natural healing builds health by working with the innate ability of the body to heal itself.

     Natural health advocates view disease primarily as a deviation from the perfect balance of health. Their focus is to discover the underlying root cause for breakdowns in health rather than just manage the effects of disease, the approach commonly taken by conventional medicine.  They view pain and symptoms of disease as the warning lights signaling that the body is somehow out of balance, rather than viewing symptoms as something to suppress or eliminate using medications or surgery.

     Providing symptomatic relief and treating the effect of a disorder without removing its cause is contrary to the principles of natural health. Those who advocate natural health understand that if conditions that allowed disease to develop in the first place are not corrected and reversed at the root level, true wellness is not achieved and further breakdowns in health can easily occur.

True Prevention

     Those who follow the principles of natural health also recognize that true health is not merely the absence of disease, even though people may consider themselves healthy if they are not experiencing pain or symptoms and if their medical test results are within normal ranges. The reality is, however, that breakdowns in health occur long before symptoms manifest.  By the time a medical test indicates a disease or condition exists, its development is already well underway.  The smallest tumors found through ultra sounds, MRI’s, CAT scans, and mammograms were present long before they could be seen, even with the most advanced and sophisticated equipment.  Not having symptoms or a disease diagnosis does not necessarily mean that the body is functioning at a level of optimal wellness.  

     Although getting routine screening tests is regarded as preventative medicine, these tests serve more to detect disease at an earlier stage rather than truly prevent it. Natural health focuses on true prevention by giving the body what it needs for health so that disease does not develop in the first place. Natural health advocates understand that applying principles of natural health can avert or reverse a condition before it leads to a serious disease or disorder.  Consequently, they encourage people to earnestly commit to work on their health before problems develop.

Where Health Begins

    Health begins at the cellular level. One cell at a time, the body is either regenerating or degenerating. The trillion plus cells of our bodies are constantly turning over and being replaced. Blood cells are renewed as often as every 120 days. Cells that make up bone structure may take as long as seven years to completely replace themselves. Healthy cells produce healthy tissues, which in turn, produce healthy organs and, ultimately, a healthy body.     

     The basic needs of the individual cells that make up the tissues, organs and systems of our bodies are nutrients, oxygen, hydration, removal of wastes and a regulated temperature. Only when these needs are adequately met can they efficiently run the processes of the body. The presence of these factors in the right balance enables cells that die off to be replaced with strong new healthy cells. If the right nutrients are not made available to the body through diet and supplementation, or if digestion and absorption of these nutrients does not properly occur, cells will be deficient in the raw materials needed to regenerate healthy new cells and build a healthy body.

     The answers to two questions help determine cellular health. The first, “are there any deficiencies in the basic raw materials needed by the cells of the body for health?”  Secondly, “how efficiently are toxic wastes being removed?”  In addition to toxins from foods and the environment, cells must also eliminate toxic waste generated by the process of converting nutrients into energy.  If toxic materials remain in the cell, important cellular functions may be blocked. Therefore, if the basic units of life are not provided with the proper building materials and kept cleansed of toxic elements, health is compromised. The stage is set for the development of sickness and degenerative conditions in the body when progressively weaker cells replace ones that were once strong. 

The Importance of the Internal Environment

     The health of the cell is determined by the composition of the fluid that surrounds it. The lymphatic fluid is what carries dissolved nutrients and oxygen from the blood to the cells and takes toxic waste away from the cell. This fluid comprises the internal environment of the body and is sometimes referred to as the “biological terrain”. Think of a person’s biological terrain as the trunk of a tree, with the branches of the tree representing the different systems of the body.  Just like the health of the tree trunk affects the limbs and branches of the tree, the health of the biological terrain affects the structure and function of body systems.

     As long as cells are getting what they need and waste is removed efficiently, the body stays healthy.  Imbalances in the biological terrain affect the health of the cells and tissues, which can eventually lead to a breakdown in one or more of the systems of the body. Ultimately, this leads to a breakdown in health. Therefore, the goal of natural health is to eliminate the root causes of illness, bring the biological terrain back into balance, and restore normal function to the body systems.

How Natural Health Works

     Natural health practitioners use various assessment tools to determine the weakest body system or systems and imbalances in the biological terrain. After identifying the body system in need of the most nutritional support and the type of biological terrain imbalance within that system, targeted herbs or other nutritive substances are used to nourish, support and balance that system of the body. As the biological terrain and normal function of body systems are brought back into balance, the root cause of the condition or disease is eliminated.  Symptoms then disappear as true healing takes place. As an 18th century herbalist by the name of Samuel Thompson once said, “Remove the cause and the effect will cease.”

     Making necessary diet and lifestyle choices and learning to properly care for the body are vital parts of reversing the root causes of poor health and enabling the body to do its own healing work. Learning to take appropriate measures to cleanse and detoxify the body is also essential to free the body of accumulated waste and/or toxins that interfere with the healing process.  Mental and emotional stresses, as well as any trauma the body may have suffered, are additional root causes of disease.

The primary substances used in natural health to balance the body and promote the healing process are herbs, although other supplements in the form of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, enzymes, probiotics, and the like may also be recommended. Because most people are not getting what they need in their diets, supplementation is often necessary to fill in the gaps. This is due to the fact that our crops are grown in depleted soil (especially lacking in trace minerals), and that nutrients and naturally occurring enzymes are further reduced or destroyed by refining, processing and cooking methods. In addition, foods are altered from their natural state by other artificial processes such as irradiation, genetic engineering, hydrogenation and pasteurization.

Why Use Herbs?

     Herbs were placed on this earth by an all-wise Creator to serve both as food for providing nutrients (see Gen. 1:29) and as “nature’s pharmacy” to provide our bodies with healing (see Ezekiel 47:12). Any part of a plant with nutritional or medicinal value is considered an herb. Although Western societies largely think of food and medicine as separate and distinct, plants have been the primary source of medicine for people throughout the world for thousands of years. Hippocrates, the well-known Greek physician regarded as the father of western medicine, attested to this truth when he once said: “let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.”

     Besides the large numbers of plant-based nutrients that nourish the body, herbs contain hundreds of phytochemicals (plant chemicals) with a variety of healing properties and degrees of action. The active plant constituents in these herbs act to naturally to support the physiology and processes of the body. All plants contain both nutrients and phytochemicals although the ones used primarily for food contain more nutrients whereas medicinal plants obviously contain more phytochemicals. As an example, an herb such as garlic possesses clear medicinal properties that aid the circulatory and immune systems, yet it also contains nutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) and may be consumed as food.

How Herbs Differ from Drugs

     Although synthetic compounds now replace most of the natural ones in today’s medications, many drugs were initially produced by isolating particular active constituents (compounds) in herbs. When used in their isolated and pure form, these compounds become toxic substances. However, greater and safer therapeutic benefits are derived when they are used in their whole form due to the combined effect of the various active constituents interacting with the other substances God placed in the plant to nourish and heal the body.

     Rather than mask or suppress symptoms, herbs strengthen and balance the systems of the body to restore their normal function by providing cells and tissues with the needed nutrients and healing compounds to build, repair and maintain themselves. In addition, certain types of herbs promote the release of toxins through the various avenues of elimination. Drugs, however, add to the toxic load of the body and weaken already overburdened detoxification organs that must filter out and break down these chemical substances. They also deplete the body of vital nutrients, many of which are needed for effective detoxification and the building of healthy cells.

     Since the human body is a natural system, it only makes sense that it will work better with natural substances that contain the same elements of which it is made.  In order for pharmaceutical drugs to be patented today, substances natural to the human body cannot be used.  Because these types of prescriptions drugs are foreign to the body, they remain in it much longer than natural substances. This is due to the fact that receptors do not exist for them to bind to nor are there clear detoxification pathways from which they can easily exit. The chemicals in these drugs accumulate in the body and raise levels of toxicity in the body.

     Drugs may be necessary and effective for short-term use in cases of infectious disease, acute trauma, and other emergency or acute situations.  The problem is that a great many of the medications taken to treat more chronic types of degenerative disease on the rise today adversely affect the body with prolonged use. Although they make the body appear to run normally by improving or eliminating the symptoms, the root cause of the symptom continues to produce damage that may even accelerate with time.

    Poisoning crucial enzymes, blocking important receptor sites or otherwise interfering with the natural biochemical or physiologic processes of the body will never improve its function over the long-term. Masking and suppressing symptoms of chronic degenerative disease by chemically altering how the body was designed to function eventually creates other conditions. Additional symptoms may crop up that lead to even more medications and failing health as time goes by.

     When it comes to obtaining quicker symptomatic relief, treating disease conventionally with the use of pharmaceutical drugs and surgery has a distinct advantage. Because the body heals itself from the inside out, restoring normal function by correcting underlying imbalances is a far more gradual process.  How long it takes for symptoms (the leaves on the tree) to be eliminated depends on the degree to which the body is out of balance and the length of time that it has been in that condition.

Choices to Consider

     Most people do not give much thought to what is taking place in their body or how the choices they make on a daily basis with regard to diet and lifestyle are affecting it until a health issue develops.  My purpose in writing this article is to help people gain a better understanding of how following the principles of natural health can work to prevent the development of disease as well as resolve current health issues, thereby allowing a person to enjoy a greater measure of energy and well-being for life’s journey.

     When it comes to matters of health, each individual must choose the path they will take since they alone are responsible for managing their own personal health. The best “health” care system of the world cannot guarantee you a healthy body. I would challenge you to learn more about how God designed your body to function and ways you can better care for it through using what He has provided for it to remain healthy and strong.


Nutritional Herbology by Mark Pederson
Ultra-Prevention by Mark Hyman, M.D. and Mark Liponis, M.D.
Drugs that Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do!
By David Brownstein, M.D.
ABC + D Approach to Natural Health Consulting
by Steven Horne, RH (AHG)

Copyright © 2008-2015 Lucinda Bedogne, CNHP, CNC

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