Most common alternative remedies in UK

The most common alternative remedies in Great Britain today are slightly different than those on the U.S. list. But not surprisingly, dietary supplements are big are both lists. Curiously, massage therapy and chiropractic are not on the UK list -- perhaps because osteopathy is considered a mainstream profession, one which is regulated by statute in the UK. In WHAT'S THE ALTERNATIVE? MORE AND MORE OF US ARE TURNING TO COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE ..LAST YEAR WE SPENT £191MILLION ON IT, a Scottish newpaper gives its list of the 10 of the most common alternative remedies in Britain today. These are not quite the same as those on reports from the Prince of Wales Foundation for Integrative Medicine and other more formal sources and studies:

Often used in tablets and creams, arnica is a herb which can be used to treat different minor conditions, ranging from aching muscles and bruising through to mild sprains.

Research has shown these properties may be down to an anti-inflammatory agent contained in the sunflower-like plant which can be absorbed by rubbing it on to the skin.


Given that it's an extract of the deadly nightshade plant, you wouldn't imagine that belladonna would be a wise thing to take. But in fact it's been used for its medicinal properties for thousands of years.

It can be found in medicines used to treat stomach problems, and it's also present in some over-the-counter cold and flu remedies. It's also used in homeopathic medicine to treat fevers, sore throats and conjunctivitis.


One of the more recognisable alternative remedies, aromatherapy involves the use of essential oils to help relieve stress and make people more relaxed.

The oils are extracted from plants such as peppermint and jasmine, with small amounts being inhaled or massaged into the skin.

Many cancer patients report finding aromatherapy to be useful during treatment, leading to some hospitals offering the service.


As one of the best-known herbal treatments, St John's wort has been used for its medicinal purposes since ancient Greek times, but it's now regarded as a useful herbal treatment for mild cases of depression. While it can take longer to work than other anti-depressants, it has fewer side-effects. In some countries such as Germany, it's prescribed more often for depression than any other drug.


Taken from a leafy tree found in China, ginkgo extract is believed to be useful for circulation, enhancing the memory and also for treating vertigo. It's commonly used in conjunction with with St John's wort as it can increase blood flow in the brain, improving the delivery of oxygen and nutrients, as well as getting rid of cellular waste, which can cause a lowered mood.


Believed to be an effective treatment against nausea and travel sickness, ginger has long been credited with being able to settle the stomach. Chinese women traditionally have taken ginger root during pregnancy to combat morning sickness. It has also been used in the past as an anti-inflammatory, although today its main use is in relieving nausea.


This American plant is used as a remedy for the symptoms of PMT and the menopause. It's particularly good for treating menopausal hot flushes caused by summer heat, although the herb can't be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, on the pill or taking any hormone supplements.


Widely known as a way of boosting energy levels, ginseng is believed to work by stimulating the adrenal gland, and so is seen as an effective treatment for fatigue. It's a regular ingredient in energy drinks and can be used to help reduce stress levels, making it a hugely popular treatment right around the world.


One of the reasons why green tea has become so popular in recent years is because of the wide range of health benefits it's been credited with. These range from reducing the risk of cancer and treating multiple sclerosis, through to reducing the effects of cholesterol and increasing your metabolism. Japanese researchers have claimed that if you drink five cups a day, you'll burn an extra 70-80 calories.


Recent research has suggested this herbal medicine can reduce your chances of catching a common cold by as much as 58 per cent. The same research also suggested that it could help a common cold clear up 36 hours earlier than it would otherwise. It works by boosting the immune system, making people more resistant to commonplace infections such as coughs and colds.
Again, this is just a snapshot based on informal gathering of information, not a formal study presenting data on top CAM choices by UK nationals.
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Michael H. Cohen is Principal in Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen and also President of a nonprofit organization exploring legal, regulatory, ethical, and health policy issues in the judicious integration of complementary and alternative medical therapies (such as acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine, chiropractic, naturopathic medicine, homeopathy, massage therapy, energy healing, and herbal medicine) and conventional clinical care. Michael H. Cohen is author of books on health care law, regulation, ethics and policy dealing with complementary, alternative and integrative medicine, including Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion, Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives (1998), Beyond Complementary Medicine: Legal and Ethical Perspectives on Health Care and Human Evolution (2000), and Future Medicine: Ethical Dilemmas, Regulatory Challenges, and Therapeutic Pathways to Health Care and Healing in Human Transformation (2003).
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Health care and corporate lawyer Michael H. Cohen has been admitted to the Bar of California, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington D.C. In addition to qualifying as a U.S. attorney, he has been admitted and to the Bar of England and Wales as a Solicitor (non-practicing). For more information regarding the law practice of attorney Michael H. Cohen, see the FAQs for the Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen. Thank you for visiting the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog.