Preventing the Prescription: Students find alternatives to commonly used medications, use natural remedies

Sheila Gregory, Co-Editor

Dealing with a serious illness is difficult enough without having to worry about nausea, upper-stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, painful urination, agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, confusion, fainting, seizures, burning in your eyes and/or suicidal thoughts.
These are only a fraction of side effects for the commonly-advertised depression medication, Cymbalta. Below the 54 possible side effects, it also states the list may not be complete and if you experience any other symptoms to contact your doctor.
If experiencing these effects seem unpleasant, then there is an alternative to prescription medication.
Herbal remedies are the use of plants and essential oils for treating illnesses from headaches to depression.
Junior Whitney Sherraden has first-hand experience using these remedies.
“I use essential oils a lot actually,” Sherraden said. “My skin gets really dried out over the winter, so I made this scrub stuff with coconut oil and mixed a few oils in to make it smell really good, and I rub it on my hands and knuckles when they get super dry. It hydrates them almost instantly.”
Dry skin isn’t the only area these essential oils can help. Sherraden said she had trouble concentrating in school until she found an herbal remedy.
“I started using peppermint oil before school,” she said. “I started focusing a lot better, and I actually wasn’t as tired during school.”
Not all essential oils are consumable, but to use ones that are, you simply put a drop on your tongue.
While it differs from person to person, certain medications can cause several liver diseases since all medication consumed are filtered through it.
“All our bodies are different, but some of us could be more prone to liver disease and failure than others,” Sherraden said. “The more medication you consume, the higher your chances of liver issues are.”
She said the reason most people disregard herbal remedies is because they aren’t fully aware of how effective they are.
“They’re really overlooked because it sounds kind of weird, but they really do work,” Sherraden said. “I even have this one old family friend who literally threw out every medication in her cabinet and replaced every bottle with a vile of essential oils. I think that’s a little extreme, but her daughter was cured of a minuscule form of ovarian cancer that caused her to have a miscarriage.”
Sherraden said she thinks using essential oils could become more common in the future.
“They might become more popular in the next few years because they’re doing studies in the [United Kingdom] on frankincense oil and cancer treatment,” Sherraden said. “Frankincense is actually so powerful it can penetrate cell walls in overactive cancer cells.”
Obtaining common herbal remedies is simple and inexpensive, Sherraden said.
“The basic, multi-purpose oils can be found in a starter’s kit online for pretty cheap,” she said. “It comes with a couple different oils, so you can test out which ones you like the best.”
Sherraden said she recommends herbal remedies because there is no downside to using them.
“Herbal remedies are natural and are meant to be consumed on the daily, so they aren’t going to harm your body at all,” Sherraden said. “They’re a good substitute because they all have very specific purposes that medications do as well.”
The benefits of using oils range from stress relief to reducing cramps.
“A lot of people just think, ‘Well, I have my ibuprofen, so I don’t need any other pain relief,’ and don’t really feel like experimenting with any alternatives,” Sherraden said.
Sherraden said she fully endorses the use of essential oils for everyone.
“Think before you swallow a ton of ibuprofen for pain or melatonin supplements for sleep,” she said. “Think about trying essential oils, and you definitely won’t regret it.”
To find more information on essential oils or to purchase some, visit


Common Maladies to be Treated:

Memory/Attention: Ginkgo leaves — part of an ancient Chinese tree — are ground up and put into capsules to dilate blood vessels. This improves circulation to the head, heart and other extremities. If the blood flow to the head is restricted, many negative symptoms can occur such as memory loss, depression and difficulty hearing. The ginkgo capsules combat these symptoms, leading to a more alert and stimulated individual. When the recommended dosage is kept, no side-effects exist. Only when large quantities are taken, it can cause gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

Fatigue: Ginseng also has origins in Asian medicine. It is an herb with has capabilities to lower stress, anxiety and fatigue levels. While helping the body fight against all kinds of stress, it returns once compromised functions back to normal. Since it has been around for so long, it can be taken in many different forms such as teas and capsules. It has no side effects and is a very common remedy both here and around the world.

Cold and flu: Echinacea is a member of the sunflower family whose roots can be used for treating colds, flu, bronchitis and other types of infections. When brewed into teas, it is most effective, though capsules do exist. It is a generally safe remedy, except for those who have allergies to ragweed. Then, itchy eyes and throat have been reported.