Okay folks, enough with the medicine. Every time someone has a headache or a cold, they run for pill-packed relief. The truth is that the generations before us survived these non-detrimental symptoms without significant problems. Before we had Tylenol, Aspirin and Ibuprofen, families actually used natural ingredients to alleviate their aches. Even with Aspirin’s heart-healing use for more serious health problem prevention, such as heart attack prevention, there’s a concern in our society and within medical circles that this drug can carry with it, damaging side effects to other bodily functions. It’s time to return to basics and compare aspirin to alternatives without the same side effects.

Recently published article in the Chicago Tribune, “Aspirin is good for heart-attack prevention, but skip the proton pump inhibitors,” shares, “Aspirin treatment has become standard for the prevention of heart attacks, particularly among middle-aged and older people at high risk for heart attacks. But taking a low-dose aspirin daily increases the likelihood of gastrointestinal bleeding, so some doctors suggest that aspirin should be taken with another medication — a proton pump inhibitor — to reduce the risk of bleeding. A new study, however, has found that adding the proton pump inhibitor isn’t justified for most patients.” Sounds like we’re adding medications to already medicated patients. What is the solution to this medical merry-go-round?

If the solution is not Aspirin, then what is it? Have you ever considered using garlic? According to a Livestrong article, “Natural Alternatives to Aspirin for Heart Health,” Aspirin’s blood-thinning properties lower heart attack and stroke risks because it improves circulation and lowers the risks of blood clots. However, because of the daunting side effects of Aspirin – risks of gastrointestinal bleeding and kidney damage – it would be in our best interest to consider less dangerous methods of blood thinning.

The Livestrong article, several natural herbs have been shown to act as healthier substitutes to using medication like Aspirin. Garlic has been shown to greatly improve blood circulation and even contains mild cholesterol-reducing properties. While it’s not risk-free, it can be a more desirable choice than Aspirin: “The dosage of garlic recommended for heart health is between one and three cloves daily. Side effects include indigestion, nausea and increased bleeding risks. Garlic may be taken in supplement form or crushed and added to foods for its medicinal effects.”

Other natural treatments include turmeric and willow bark. Turmeric has historically been used as a blood thinner. Livestrong claims, “Its main active compound, curcumin, has anti-inflammatory and blood-thinning effects that may be useful in conditions such as atherosclerosis and heart disease.” Willow bark has similar blood-thinning effects and pain-relieving properties, but should also be taken with caution and in moderation.

The bottom line, people, is that we have to pay attention to the medicines that we are swallowing. When preventing one medical catastrophe by taking some pills, it makes no sense to cause another with that treatment. Pay attention to studies on natural therapy verses pharmaceutical therapy, and be careful to believe what anybody says. You only get one heart. Take care of it!