Doctors have varied opinions on herbal remedies, so your approach to talking to yours about the subject really depends on their attitude towards it. Dr. Jen Tan explores the ways of approaching your doctor about using the herbal remedy Saw Palmetto to help your enlarged prostate, even if they may be sceptical.
This group of doctors will not have a fixed opinion of the role and benefits of herbal medicine and try to keep an open mind.
These doctors may admit that they don’t know much about herbs but are open to receiving more information. If asked, they will usually take the attitude that if a patient wishes to try a herbal product, if it does no harm and if he feels that it is helping, then there is no harm in doing so.
When discussing the use of Saw Palmetto with this group of doctors, remember that their position is usually the result of a lack of knowledge and experience, and that they hold their view because, by sticking to what they know, they will do their professional best for their patients:
This is a position that some healthcare professionals in the UK take. There may well be personal and professional reasons for your doctor adopting and defending this view, and it is unlikely that anything you can say or do will change the opinion.
If there is a more sympathetic doctor in the practice, try making an appointment with him or her. Discuss your intentions openly, ask their opinion, and leave the Healthcare Professional info pack with them.
In the end, it could be that you may have to ‘give-up’ and accept their position and advice. The last thing you should do is to jeapordise your relationship with your doctors.
In the UK, very few doctors would actively recommend that their patients use herbal remedies. Yet, in Europe, especially Germany and Switzerland, doctors routinely prescribe herbal medicines such as Saw Palmetto to help treat symptoms of an enlarged prostate.
Why does this difference exist? It cannot just be because of medical science or proof of effectiveness – this would mean that doctors in Switzerland or Germany are happy to prescribe a medicine which (in the view of UK doctors) has no proof that it works!
The answer, in our opinion, is that doctors are just people and are influenced by their personal and professional experiences, and what people around them think and do.
Few pharmacy or medical schools teach or discuss nutrition or complementary therapies, including herbal medicine. This means that unless they have a personal interest, healthcare professionals will have little exposure to the science behind herbs and the part they can play in patient care.
"Having been told by a consultant urologist some 30 years ago that I would at some stage require surgery, I am pleased to say that having used the saw palmetto capsules from that time he has (so far) been proved wrong!" James, UK
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