One Size Does Not Fit All
Through my practice, I've come to realize that, as much as we think we are all made of the same stuff, we are also completely unique beings who require custom solutions in order to truly thrive. I believe that our society's one-size-fits-all approach to medicine and health is doing us a serious disservice and that we need to get back to looking at and treating people as the individuals they are.
Completely Unique Beings
Created from a mixing pot of DNA, we are genetically unique (with the extraordinary exception being identical twins). Born into a unique time and environment, every one of us is emotionally and mentally unique. We experience life through our own unique points of view and are affected by life experiences in unique ways. We have unique ancestry with all of the physical and emotional benefits and baggage that entails. We have life goals and hopes that are unique to us. We experience life at our very own unique rhythm and pace. We live in environments that are different from anyone else as we move daily from home to work to play. We have our very own sleep rhythms and our very own unique dreams.
Twin or not, you are the only you there is. Each one of us is a completely unique being with a unique set of needs.
Beautifully, Extraordinarily Complex Body
Now let's look at complexity. We are made up of a hugely complex system of tubes and liquids and organs and cells and bones and hormones and and bacteria and stuff which has gathered its very own strengths and weaknesses over time. Not one person has the same health history as you.
It all works together to support you and we're learning new things about how the body works every day. Not something to tackle with a piecemeal or generic approach.
So why do we continue to think that there is one magic pill solution out there that will work for everyone?
One Size Does Not Fit All
We all seem to hope that there is a magic pill out there that will solve our problems. That Holy Grail of solutions. We hope for that one thing to fix us, to make everything better. (And I understand. It would be so much easier.)
To compound that, we also approach health as if the same solution will work for everyone. We talk about the cure for cancer, the cure for Alzheimer's, the cure for insomnia, etc.
Our media and advertising supports this thinking as well. Each and every pharmaceutical ad promises you that this one pill will be the solution to your problem.
I've found that that notion bleeds over into alternative medicine as I'm often asked by very well-meaning, hopeful people what herb they should take for their specific issue.
As frustrating as it is, the answer to “What herb should I take for XYZ?” is almost always “It depends…”
One Herb to Rule Them All
There is no such thing as one specific herb to fix one specific solution and I think this is a source of people's skepticism around herbal medicine. 1) Because I can't point to one herb and say "That will fix your XYZ." and 2) Because people try herbs out and don't get any results.
I have more than a dozen different remedies that I think of when someone asks for an herb for asthma. Every person that has come to me with asthma issues has walked away with a completely different set of remedies in completely different dosages. Because each and every one of them is coming at the issue from a different set of circumstances and variables that have made up their life. There are as many possible remedies as there are root causes of the imbalance.
Yet, everyone reaches for echinacea when they're feeling unwell because they've heard it's good for the immune system. And it is, if it is the right herb for that person. But if it's not right, then it's somewhat of a crap shoot as to whether or not it will help. If it doesn't, the person is disappointed and the idea that herbs might not actually work begins to creep into their head rather than thinking that it just might not be the right remedy for them.
Whether pharmaceutical, herb, supplement, over-the-counter medicine, vitamin, flower essence, tea, beauty product, home remedy, etc; To work well, it has to be the right one for you. When it's not right, there are either no effects or negative effects.
Complex, Unique Beings Ultimately Require Custom Solutions
We are unique, complex beings living complex lives in complex environments. We would all do better with solutions customized to our body, our life and our needs.
As an herbalist, my goal is to focus on custom solutions unique to you and your current goals. Each person's remedy set is a custom mix of herbs and flower essences that is matched specifically to their body. I believe that a set of supplements that is customized to you has a better chance of helping you to regain balance.
Collaborative Medicine: A Multifaceted Approach to Health
To further expand on the idea of not relying on a single herb or pre-packaged solution, I also recommend combining therapies and alternative healthcare modalities. As a very basic example, herbs can only go so far without the support of healthy diet and exercise habits.
Keep Searching for Your Custom Solution
There is a solution that is right for you. That solution involves the right mix of supportive regimens that is specific to your body. It involves a lot of exploration and trial and error and figuring out the right balance. While you may find one modality more effective than others, it's never just a single pill. Keep trying. Don't give up. You are the only you there is.
Disclaimer: Just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean it’s safe. Self-diagnosing and self-prescribing can unintentionally tip the balance of your health in the wrong direction. Always research the herbs that you are putting into your body and be aware of any changes that take place. Remember that the help and advice of a professional can make a big difference in your relationship with natural remedies. Please read my full Disclaimer.