Medications often treat symptoms instead of underlying causes and come with potentially dangerous side effects. Throughout the history of the PDMA (Prescription Drug Marketing Act), first passed in 1987, drug manufacturers have been forced to be more transparent about these risks. However, even though these risks are disclosed freely, millions still use them. Additionally, while patients often deem over-the-counter drugs safe because they’re available without a prescription, they still carry health risks. Natural remedies make good alternatives and can help with many common health complaints.

Pain Management

Many patients turn to over-the-counter medications like those that contain ibuprofen, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID), for treating mild to moderate pain and inflammatory conditions like arthritis. However, NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding and increase the risk of strokes and heart disease in some patients.

For alternative pain treatments and to lower inflammation, use white willow bark, celery extract, curcumin and garlic. Omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in fish oil, can also help when taken daily. Obtain this natural substance from foods like tuna, salmon and anchovies, or take a fish oil supplement.

Sleep Problems

To combat sleep problems, many turn to pharmaceutical sleeping aids like Ambien, but these come with a high dependency risk. To treat insomnia naturally, use herbs like passion flower, valerian root and chamomile. If you enjoy taking baths before bedtime, you can add a few drops of lavender essential oil to your bathwater to help you sleep.

Acid Reflux

Prilosec, a common prescription used for acid reflux, works by obstructing the protective stomach acid HCL. This can cause too much bacteria growth within the small intestines and subsequently lead to mineral deficiencies. Instead, try slippery elm lozenges and eliminate troublesome foods from your diet. Slippery elm coats the stomach by boosting protective mucus content within the gastrointestinal tract. Plus, its antioxidants have an anti-inflammatory effect on intestines.


Drugs commonly prescribed for osteoporosis include those that contain bisphosphonate which works by stopping bone cells from removing old bone fragments. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, side effects include ulcers, death of the jaw bone, infection and tooth loss. Natural alternatives include calcium and vitamin D supplements. These should be taken together because vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and stimulates stem cells.

High Cholesterol

High cholesterol is often treated with statin drugs. These work by blocking the enzyme that the body uses to produce cholesterol, but can cause muscle and liver damage. Instead, try bergamot extract. According to Dr. Julian Whitaker, it not only lowers lipids, but increases HDL to protect against heart disease.

In addition to using healthy alternatives like these, lifestyle changes can benefit many conditions. However, don't stop taking existing medications without consulting a healthcare professional.

Author's Bio: 

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.