Treatments That Are Better than Drugs or Supplements

Scientifically-proven therapies can come from many sources, including food and traditional medicine
October 8, 2020 Updated: October 8, 2020

Natural medicine doesn’t just involve “nutraceuticals,” but extends to modalities such as yoga and acupuncture that an increasing body of peer-reviewed research shows can be superior to drugs.

Natural medicine is an amazing field, full of inspiring stories and an ever-accumulating body of scientific research to support its views on health. specializes in dredging up promising clinical pearls from the oceanic depths of the National Library of Medicine. That library contains a database of 27 million citations and this evidence indicates that not only are natural substances valuable in treating and preventing disease, but sometimes they are clearly superior to drugs. Considering correctly prescribed medications are one of the top three causes of death, what’s not to like about safe, effective food-based alternatives?

But our project, and natural medicine at large, is not without its challenges, one of which is that it is quite easy to get caught up in the allopathic model of treating surface symptoms, albeit naturally.

This “natural allopathy,” if you will, entices people to look for “natural cure” shortcuts and Band-Aids (“nutraceuticals”). Instead, they need to focus on the deeper issues associated with avoiding, limiting, and addressing environmental exposures, reducing stress, and improving diet and exercise, for instance.

In a culture that pops hundreds of millions of doses of drugs and supplements on a daily basis, it is increasingly difficult to break free from the powerful psychological pull to ingest something—be it a natural or synthetic “magic pill”; its effects real or imagined—instead of addressing the underlying problems.

This is also why part of our project is to identify peer-reviewed published research from biomedical journals indicating that there are therapeutic actions, from walking to yoga, dietary changes to exercising, that are at least as effective and often superior to conventional drug-based treatments.

There is a good smattering of data that edifies the notion that sometimes we do not need to “take anything” to stimulate our body’s innate self-healing abilities. Rather, we can use non-invasive therapies—including doing nothing (i.e. watchful waiting)—can accomplish favorable results.

Here are a few examples from research studies. For links to the studies referenced, please find this article at

Colored light versus benzyl peroxide for acne: A combination of blue- and red-light irradiation therapy was found superior to 5 percent benzoyl peroxide in treating acne vulgaris without side effects. Another study found blue-light irradiation therapy alone as effective as 5 percent benzyl peroxide in the treatment of acne, but with fewer side effects.

Dietary changes versus drug treatment for hypertension: A high-fiber, low-sodium, low-fat diet is superior to the beta-blocker drug metoprolol in hypertensive Type 2 diabetic subjects.

Acupuncture and moxibustion versus pharmaceutical treatment for sudden deafness: Acupuncture and moxibustion therapy was found to be superior in treating sudden deafness as compared with the routine drug-based therapy.

Acupuncture versus drug treatment for treating migraines: Acupuncture treatment exhibited greater effectiveness than drug therapy with flunarizine in the first months of therapy for migraine and with superior tolerability.

Dietary changes versus high-dose steroid for Crohn’s disease: An elemental diet is as effective as high-dose steroid treatment in improving Crohn’s disease activity in children, while superior in supporting the growth of the children. Two additional studies found similar results in adults with mild-to-moderately active Crohn’s disease.

Aromatherapy massage versus Tylenol for menstrual pain: Aromatherapy massage on the abdomen was found superior to Tylenol for alleviating menstrual pain in high school girls.

Hypnosis versus Valium for anxiety: Hypnosis during embryo transfer was found to be as effective as diazepam in terms of pregnancy ratio and anxiolytic effects, but with fewer side effects.

Yoga technique versus antidepressant drug for depression: Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (a rhythmic breathing technique) was found superior to the drug imipramine in the treatment of depression.

Yogic intervention versus drug treatment for irritable bowel syndrome: Yogic intervention consisting of poses and breathing exercises was found superior to conventional treatment in diarrhea-predominant IBS.

Foot reflexology versus drug treatment for insomnia: Foot reflexology (wooden needle technique) was found superior to the drug alprazolam (Xanax) in the treatment of insomnia.

Watchful waiting versus drug treatment for childhood ear infection: Watchful waiting compares favorably to immediate antibiotic treatment for some children with non-severe acute otitis media.

This sampling reflects only a minor subset of data within our Therapeutic Actions index, 1 of 6 databases on the open access site. Presently, we have 216 distinct actions indexed, which can be viewed on our Therapeutic Actions display page. You may be surprised how simple conscious acts such as chewing your food thoroughlylaughing, or a walk in the forest can produce healing responses within the human body.

The GMI Research Group is dedicated to investigating the most important health and environmental issues of the day. Special emphasis will be placed on environmental health. Our focused and deep research will explore the many ways in which the present condition of the human body directly reflects the true state of the ambient environment. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Sign up for the newsletter at