There’s a Pill For That

There’s a pill for everything. Literally, everything. You have a headache? Take a pill. You can’t sleep? Take a pill. You feel anxious? Take a pill. You can’t sit still? Take a pill. You can’t get an erection? Take a pill. You feel depressed? Take a pill. You want to lose weight? Take a pill. Why can’t the majority of Americans stop and think, what could I do to remedy this WITHOUT taking something? Because the American society has led them to believe that their bodies cannot heal themselves.

The biggest issue I have with this is the widespread ignorance in the States when it comes to different types of medicine. Conventional medicine is not the only kind of medicine. Alternative medicine (a broad category of treatments that don’t fall under the conventional category) is widely used all over the world, and can be just as effective as modern medicine.

Sure, you should certainly go through surgical procedures and take modern medicine if you have a serious health problem (i.e. appendix rupture), because that’s the most effective way of dealing with such an issue. However, if you just have trouble sleeping, popping pills is not the smartest way to deal with the matter (especially since most sleeping pills are addictive).

When I lived in China, I went to this doctor every once in a while. I would come in and sit down. He would feel my pulse and look at my tongue. Before I say anything, he would already have a sense of what was wrong. I would tell him everything that’s been bothering me, and he would ask me several questions (about appetite, sleep pattern, bowel movement, etc). As he does this, he would write down a long list of herbs and other natural ingredients onto his pad.Then I would return the next day to get herbal medicine that’s been boiled for hours – in the form of drinkable “tea” (for lack of a better term; I’m not going to lie, it is the most unpalatable tea you’ll ever taste).

Yeah, it smells and tastes like shit, but it works. I believe it does, anyway. Believe what you want. I’d take the medicine twice a day for two weeks, and return for another batch. It helped me gain appetite. It helped me sleep better. It helped my poor circulation (cold hands & feet). It helped me digest better. I wish I could go back to that doctor today. These herbs helps your body do its job better. They let your body do its thing, without messing with the natural balance of things. It’s all about the balance.

The biggest difference between natural and conventional medicine is the approach to symptoms. For example, let’s say you have an ear infection. You go to a conventional doctor. He would look at your symptoms, and diagnose that you have an ear infection. He would prescribe you meds to get rid of your symptoms.  However, months later, you get another ear infection. You go through the same procedure, and may become stuck in the cycle for over a long period of time.

You turn to alternative medicine. The practitioner would see your symptoms and see that you have an ear infection. He then would talk with you about your lifestyle and whatnot to figure out WHY you have this ear infection. As in, he would try to figure out what is causing the offset of balance in your body. Do you see the difference? He would try to figure out the real source of your symptoms. Once you find that, and help your body regain its natural balance, you won’t get another ear infection again.

My point is, open up your mind a little. Alternative medicine is not a bunch of hokey pokey. The next time you have a headache, try not to immediately grab the Advil bottle. Not all effective medicine are created in laboratories. Google alternative medicine. Become more aware. Spread the word.

Get Your Drugs Here

I remember the first time I walked into an American drug store (a Duane Reade in Herald Square). My mind was blown. It was like a miniature super store… or a corner store on steroids. Everything you could possibly need displayed neatly in shiny aisles – food, cleaning products, gift cards, beauty stuff…and of course, meds. Where I come from, we had grocery stores for food, beauty stores for lipstick, and pharmacies for meds. The one thing that completely blew my mind was how HUGE the “DRUGS” sign was. I was standing on the escalator, staring at the blinking, neon, red white & blue sign that read “GET YOUR DRUGS HERE” with 5 arrows pointing downwards. My jaw dropped. Was all that flashiness really necessary? It might as well have said, “Welcome to America.”

It’s the change of the season. It’s sad, really, because I barely got to enjoy fall. Spring and fall barely exist in this city. Every time there is a drastic change in climate, I get sick. I’m in the process of moving, so I couldn’t locate my meds amongst the boxes. I couldn’t even remember if I have any meds left that isn’t Nyquil (I realized that it’s a devil drug that gives me nightmares and turns me into a zombie the next morning). This means one thing… the dreaded trip to the drug store. I hate going to the drug store to buy meds. I feel like every time I do, I spend a good solid half an hour staring at the aisle-ful of meds, wondering which one I should get.

I feel like every single fucking box of OTC cold medicine I pick up, it’s either missing a symptom I have or has one too many. So I’m standing there, trying to either compensate or overdrug myself for a symptom I don’t have. And honestly, why does there have to be so many choices? I understand the whole American view of “having too many choices is better than having too little,” even though they’re all basically the same (i.e. the soda aisle – 98% equivalent ingredients – high fructose corn syrup + flavoring). Why, oh why, does one company need to make 5 different kinds of pills for one drug? Same ingredients, different format. Tablets? Cherry flavored? Gel capsules? Easy-to-swallow? Daytime? Nighttime? Not to mention syrups, powders, nasal shots, balms, blah fucking blah. Each company makes over 5 different kinds, and there are well over 5 companies that make the same thing. THEN, on top of that, the drug store you’re at makes copies of those drugs and sells them for cheaper (“compare ingredients with Tylenol!”)

So many minutes, so many hours… wasted. From staring at damn aisles full of drugs that don’t even address my problems. I’m used to natural meds that address the underlying causes of symptoms, not synthetic meds that temporarily relieve symptoms. All I’m saying is, well… it’s stupid. And I’m tired of it.