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Linda Mundorff

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Natural, Organic, Superior, Oh My!

December 2007
By Dr. Linda Mundorff, MPH,MSN,ND,RN,CNC,CTN

Within nature you’ll find a potpourri of healing agents that have been used for centuries to restore, revitalize, rebalance, and maintain wellness. These natural remedies stimulate, strengthen, and support the body’s innate ability to boost the immune system and trigger the body’s own healing processes. Many of these remedies are gentler and more effective then their chemically synthesized counterparts. But what does natural really mean? Natural ingredients are plant-based and minimally processed with little to no chemical additives and fillers. However just because a product is labeled as natural doesn’t mean it’s formulated from plant based extracts. Always read the product’s ingredients to determine exactly what is in the product. The higher the ingredient on the list the higher the percentage found in the product.

So how does natural differ from organic? Organic products are also plant-based and minimally processed however the difference is that organic products must be grown and processed according to strict standards that include but are not limited to: no fertilizers, antibiotics, ionizing radiation, and pesticides. In order to be considered organic the product must be certified by an agency that looks at how the ingredients are prepared and processed. Organic products are not tested for their nutritional or medicinal benefits. So, buying organic, like buying natural, may not necessarily be better.

And lastly because a product is touted as being superior doesn’t mean that it contains superior ingredients. You can protect yourself by doing a little research before buying: Read up on the company – What is their mission and goal for their products? Where do they get their products? What are their growing and harvesting practices? What percentage of nutrient is found in the product? Are there more fillers than active ingredient? And of course read the ingredient label to see exactly what you are getting. Products vary as well as companies. Shop around and do your homework. With knowledge comes power! Take control of your health! You’ll be glad you did.

Disclaimer: Dr. Mundorff is a Board Certified Naturopath, and not a medical doctor. The information in this column is for educational purposes only and should not be used to self-diagnose and treat diseases. Naturopathy is a complementary practice to health care and should be used in conjunction with a competent health care practitioner. Many herbal and homeopathic remedies can actually be contraindicated in many health conditions, with certain prescriptions, and over-the-counter medications. Please consult your physician before starting any alternative modalities.