Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Randy
Alternative medicine involves treatments that are not traditionally taught in medical schools. These treatments may be sometimes more effective than conventional medicine. For example, one study showed that saffron was as effective as Prozac in relieving depression symptoms without sexual the dysfunction side-effects experienced by 20% of the Prozac users. Another effective alternative approach is nasal irrigation using neti pots.
On the other hand, conventional medicine may sometimes be more effective than alternative medicine. A study comparing chemotherapy to a Gerson-style treatment in treating terminal pancreatic cancer patients found the chemotherapy more effective.
Some practices that were once considered alternative medicine have become a mainstream therapy. An example is probiotics, which many people use to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea and to treat gastroenteritis.
See also these topics: Aromatherapy, Health food stores, Homeopathy, and Supplements.