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The Library of Natural Medicine

Choosing a Natural Medicine Clinic in Australia: What to Look For and What to Avoid

Discover how prescription natural medicine clinics can facilitate accessibility to services for Australians and how they can streamline the process of accessing treatments.

Author

medically reviewed by

Published

May 9, 2024

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Why can’t we mention prescription medications by name?

In accordance with guidelines and regulations set out by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA), we are unable to disclose the names of our treatments until you have completed a consultation with a Polln doctor and have been deemed eligible for treatment. 

Here at Polln, we prioritise your safety and well-being. These measures have been put in place to ensure that you are able to discuss all treatment options with a qualified medical professional who specialises in the prescription of natural medicines and can help tailor your treatment plan to suit your individual needs. 

All medications prescribed by our Polln doctors have been approved for use in Australia. 

Since the legalisation of prescription natural medicine in Australia in 2016, more and more clinics offering natural medicines and natural therapies have popped up all across the country. While more clinics means more choices for patients, more visibility, and more public recognition for natural medicine being a viable treatment choice for many medical conditions, the growing number of clinics can also make it hard for patients to choose a clinic to suit their needs.

It is crucial for individuals to find a clinic that supports them in their health goals. After all, the clinic you choose will directly impact your well-being, your patient safety, and your treatment's effectiveness. 

By making an informed choice, patients can access the potential therapeutic benefits of prescription natural medicine while also receiving professional guidance from qualified medical experts.

Today, we’ll explore what to look for when choosing a natural medicine clinic, teach you how to spot any red flags, explain the legal landscape surrounding access to prescription natural medicines in Australia, and give you the knowledge you need to make a well-informed decision.

Understanding Prescription Natural Medicine in Australia

While not as advanced as our Canadian and American counterparts, Australia has made significant strides in regulating the use of prescription natural medicine. In 2016, the Australian government amended the Narcotic Drugs Act, allowing for the legal cultivation and production of prescription natural medicine products, like dried herb. This change marked a crucial turning point in providing patients with access to alternative treatment options.

However, prescription natural medicine here in Australia is still subject to fairly strict regulations. Patients must meet certain eligibility criteria and obtain a prescription from a qualified medical practitioner to access prescription natural medicine treatments. 

Can You Get Prescription Natural Medicine From Your GP?

While you can choose to visit a general practitioner (GP) to access prescription natural medicine in Australia, there are several advantages to using a specialised natural medicine clinic to access advice and treatments. 

While GPs play a vital role in primary healthcare and are knowledgeable about a wide range of medical conditions, natural medicine clinics offer specialised expertise and a more comprehensive approach to natural-based therapies.

Some reasons to choose a specialised prescription natural medicine clinic include:

  • Expertise in prescription natural medicine: Natural medicine clinics are specifically focused on natural-based treatments, which means they have in-depth knowledge and experience in prescribing and managing natural therapies and natural medicine treatments - as well as the conditions and symptoms that could potentially be managed with natural therapies.
  • Access to Specialised Treatment: Certain natural medicine clinics provide access to a broader range of natural medications and treatment options that may not be readily available through a GP. This could include newer medications, treatments that may be conventionally more difficult to procure as well as uniquely compounded medications.  
  • Convenient All-in-One Appointments and Pharmacy Dispensing: Some specialised natural medicine clinics provide complete end-to-end care, meaning that patients can book and attend their consultations conveniently from home and have their treatments delivered to them. This can be especially beneficial for patients living in rural or remote locations.
  • In-Depth Understanding of Prescription Natural Medicine Laws and Regulations: Prescription natural medicine clinics stay up-to-date with the ever-evolving laws and regulations surrounding these medications in Australia. They can navigate the complex legal landscape, ensuring patients receive treatment in full compliance with relevant regulations and obtain the necessary approvals from regulatory bodies.
  • Holistic Patient-Centric Care: Some prescription natural medicine clinics adopt a patient-centric approach, focusing not only on the medical condition, but also on the overall well-being of the individual. 
  • Streamlined Medical Assessment: At specialist natural medicine clinics, the process of assessing a patient's eligibility for prescription natural medicine treatment is more efficient. The medical professionals at these clinics have experience in evaluating patients' medical histories and symptoms to determine whether prescription natural medicine and natural therapies are suitable options for their condition.

Some clinics also help all of their doctors become Authorised Prescribers (AP), which means that they have received approval from the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA) to write natural medicine prescriptions. This focused approach can save patients time and reduce potential delays in accessing treatment.

However, it's important to note that consulting with your regular GP may be a good idea as a first step. Your GP can provide important background information and referrals to prescription natural medicine clinics and work together as a team for your healthcare needs.

Green Flags: What to Consider When Choosing a Natural Medicine Clinic

Before choosing a clinic, it’s a good idea to consider a range of factors to find a clinic that will provide the best care for you. Just like any healthcare option, there is a lot to consider beyond just whether or not your clinic can provide you with medication. Some things you may want to consider include. 

✅ Easy Accessibility: Just like with your local doctor's surgery, it’s important to choose a nearby or online clinic that won't add commuting stress to your regime. Depending on your circumstances, you may prefer a reputable online clinic that allows you to speak to your doctor from the comfort of your home. This can be especially beneficial if you live in a remote or rural location, or if you require frequent appointments or follow-ups.

✅ Highly Qualified Medical Professionals and Staff: Look for high expertise and qualifications of the medical professionals and staff at a potential clinic. It’s best to look for additional natural medicine qualifications or experience - bonus points if doctors are Authorised Prescribers. Look for doctors who are also Authorised Prescribers (AP) who have TGA approval to write natural medicine prescriptions — saving you time in receiving treatment. 

✅ Long and comprehensive consultations: When deciding on a clinic, make sure your doctors will take the time to fully understand your health background and needs. Some patients find that anything less than a 30-minute in-person or video consultation is not thorough enough. It’s also a good idea to consider how they make you feel — a supportive and compassionate team can enhance your treatment experience.

✅ Product agnostic clinics: Product agnostic clinics do not have vested interests in promoting specific prescription natural medicine products. As a result, the medical professionals in these clinics can offer unbiased treatment recommendations based solely on your medical condition and needs and have access to any medicinal products available in Australia. Their primary concern is finding the most effective treatment plan for you, regardless of which licensed producer's product it involves.

It is also essential to inquire about the sourcing and quality control measures of the natural medicine products offered. Legitimate clinics work with licensed producers and adhere to stringent quality standards to ensure patients receive safe and effective treatments.

✅ Easy Delivery and Treatment Access: Your clinic should provide fast and easy delivery options for your medication. Some clinics or GPs may only provide a prescription, leaving you to search for one of the scarce natural medicine-prescribing pharmacies to physically fill your script. By selecting an online clinic that includes delivery services, you’ll be able to access your medication quickly and easily every time.

✅ Good Clinic's Reputation and Experience: The reputation and experience of the natural medicine clinics are a good indicator of the quality of care they can provide. Research potential clinics online and look for patient reviews and testimonials to gauge the experiences of others. 

What Kind of Consultation Process Should I Look For?

When choosing a natural medicine clinic, look for one that provides a comprehensive consultation process and longer appointments. 

More face-to-face time (whether it be online or in person) during the initial consultation, means that your doctor will be able to conduct a thorough assessment of your health, medical history, and the specific symptoms you are experiencing. Anything below 30 minutes for a first consultation may not give your prescribing doctor enough time to understand your conditions and symptoms and write an effective, personalised treatment plan.

The clinic should provide personalised advice on the usage of prescription natural medicine, including appropriate dosages and potential side effects. Follow-up appointments and the option for adjustments to your treatment plan as needed are also essential elements of a reliable natural medicine clinic. These kinds of regular check-ins allow the medical team to monitor your progress and make necessary modifications to optimise treatment outcomes.

Red Flags: What to Avoid When Choosing a Natural Medicine Clinic

While the growing acceptance of natural medicine in Australia has opened doors to many legitimate and trustworthy clinics, it has also led to the emergence of some questionable providers. 

To protect your health and ensure a positive treatment experience, it is important to be aware of red flags that may suggest a natural medicine clinic is unreliable or may not provide a high level of care. Here are some warning signs to watch out for:

🚩 Not speaking with an actual doctor: When choosing a natural medicine clinic, make sure you always have access to speak to a doctor (whether it’s in person or over a video call). Some providers will only provide phone consultations or even text-based consultations. Make sure you are getting the quality of care you deserve. 

🚩 Product-specific clinics: A responsible natural medicine clinic should tailor your treatments to you. Avoid clinics that only prescribe one brand or type of treatment. Treatment decisions should be based on your medical needs alone, not about making profits.

🚩 One-size-fits-all approaches: Avoid clinics where doctors appear to have a one-size-fits-all method, who seem to write prescriptions for natural medicines without conducting thorough assessments. Each patient is unique, and a personalised treatment plan is crucial for optimising outcomes. Reputable clinics will take the time to understand your specific medical history, symptoms, and needs before recommending any treatment.

🚩 Unrealistic treatment promises: Beware of clinics that make unrealistic promises or guarantees about the effectiveness of prescription natural medicine in curing/treating specific conditions. While natural medicine has shown therapeutic potential for certain conditions, it is not a miracle cure for all health problems.

🚩 Slow or delayed medication delivery: Some natural medicine providers might not be set up to quickly dispense and deliver your medication. While this might not be a problem for some people, if you are living with chronic pain or a condition that requires timely treatments you may want to ensure that you choose a clinic with end-to-end consultation and expedited medication delivery.

🚩 Lack of transparency or vague information: Reputable natural therapy clinics prioritise transparency and education with their patients. If you find a clinic that seems evasive or avoids answering your questions or doesn’t have an emphasis on patient education, it could be a sign of potential issues.

🚩 Lack of referrals or positive patient reviews: A credible natural medicine clinic should have a track record of positive patient experiences. Look for feedback from previous patients about their encounters with the clinic. If you find a clinic with consistently negative reviews or a lack of positive feedback, it may be best to explore other options.

🚩 Unsympathetic doctors: A trustworthy clinic should have medical professionals who genuinely care about their patient's well-being and prioritise individualised care. Be cautious if you encounter doctors who seem disinterested, rushed, or lack empathy during consultations.

Tips for Making an Informed Clinic Decision

Like any healthcare choice, choosing the right prescription natural medicine clinic for your needs is a big decision that requires careful consideration. To ensure that you make an informed decision and find a clinic that best suits your needs, here are some essential tips to guide you through the selection process:

  • Conduct Thorough Research: Be wary of advertising or making impulsive decisions. Take the time to research various natural medicine clinics and look for reputable clinics with a history of positive patient experiences and a track record of providing quality care.
  • Seek Recommendations from Healthcare Professionals: Consulting with your other healthcare providers (including general practitioners (GP), naturopaths, nutritionists, or other specialists) can provide valuable guidance on natural medicine prescriptions and treatments. They may recommend reliable clinics or provide advice to ensure that your treatment plan aligns with your existing medical conditions/medications. 
  • Contact the Clinic First, If You Need: It’s ok to need a little more information than what you find on a clinic website. A good clinic will give you the option of calling their team to ask any questions you might have before making an appointment. This also helps you gauge the clinic’s approach and how they communicate with patients.
  • Compare Costs and Services Offered: Different clinics may offer varying services and pricing structures. Compare the costs of consultations, products, and any additional services provided. Remember: the cheapest option may not always be the best, so prioritise the quality of care and the reputation of the clinic over cost alone.
  • Evaluate the Consultation Process: A reputable clinic will conduct a comprehensive consultation that includes an in-depth assessment of your medical history, symptoms, and overall health. The medical professionals should discuss potential treatment options, address any concerns you may have, and tailor a personalised treatment plan based on your needs.
  • Trust Your Gut: At the end of the day, it’s important to trust your instincts and choose a natural medicine clinic where you feel comfortable and confident in the medical professionals' abilities. A caring and supportive environment can significantly impact your treatment experience and overall well-being.

By following these tips, you can navigate the process of choosing a natural medicine clinic with confidence and make an informed decision that aligns with your health needs and treatment goals. Your health is important, so take the time to find a reputable clinic that will support you and your health goals now and in the future.

The Bottom Line 

The process of choosing a natural medicine clinic is an important decision for many patients in Australia. By understanding the legal landscape, evaluating crucial factors, and being aware of both green and red flags, you can make an informed decision that supports your health needs and ensures a safe, effective, and compassionate treatment experience.

Remember that as everyone's medical background, health goals, and experiences with prescription natural medicine will vary, it is essential to select a clinic that will take the time to conduct a full medical evaluation and find the right treatment schedule for you. Armed with the knowledge and insights provided in this article, we hope you can prioritise your well-being and seek a reputable, caring clinic that will put your well-being first.  

References

Australian Government. (2016, March 8). The Narcotic Drugs Amendment Act 2016 (Cth). Retrieved from https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2016A00012

The information on this website is provided for educational and informational purposes only and not intended for use as medical advice. Polln is not promoting the use of medicinal cannabis. Medicinal cannabis in Australia is scheduled medication and regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Details about medicinal cannabis as a scheduled drug can be found on their website. If you would like to explore medicinal cannabis for your chronic condition, please consult with a doctor.

Switch to Polln for care that goes above and beyond
Get 20% discount on your first consultation
Ready to start feeling better, naturally?

Our caring doctors are here to help every step of the way.

Book your online consultation
Looking for care that takes a natural approach?
Join Polln
Speak to the experts in plant medicine, on your schedule

Appointments available same day, after hours and weekends.

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Latest articles
Medical Conditions

Natural Therapies: Prescription Natural Medicine and Neurological Conditions

4
min read
Read Article
Natural Therapies: Prescription Natural Medicine and Neurological Conditions

Why can’t we mention prescription medications by name?

In accordance with guidelines and regulations set out by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA), we are unable to disclose the names of our treatments until you have completed a consultation with a Polln doctor and have been deemed eligible for treatment. 

Here at Polln, we prioritise your safety and well-being. These measures have been put in place to ensure that you are able to discuss all treatment options with a qualified medical professional who specialises in the prescription of natural medicines and can help tailor your treatment plan to suit your individual needs. 

All medications prescribed by our Polln doctors have been approved for use in Australia. 

Neurological conditions can pose significant challenges to individuals and their loved ones, affecting not only physical health but also mental and emotional well-being. These conditions often require long-term management and personalised treatments.

Neurological conditions include a wide range of disorders, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and neuropathic pain. These conditions can have a wide range of symptoms, from seizures and muscle spasms to cognitive impairment or chronic pain.

Traditional drugs for neurological conditions can be an important part of neurological condition management, but they can come with limitations, such as unwanted side effects, varying efficacy, and the potential for dependence. This has led many patients and healthcare professionals to explore alternative treatments for adjunct therapies like natural therapies.

Prescription natural medicine, sometimes referred to as natural therapies, is gaining recognition for its potential to relieve symptoms associated with various neurological disorders in some patients. The active ingredients found in prescription natural medicine may help modulate pain perception in the brain, reduce inflammation, and potentially improve overall neurological function.

Read on to find out how prescription natural medicine may help some patients with symptoms associated with neurological conditions and how to safely explore options for natural therapy treatments. 

What Are Neurological Conditions?

Neurological conditions, also referred to as neurological disorders or diseases, encompass a broad spectrum of medical conditions that affect the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. 

These conditions disrupt the normal functioning of the nervous system, leading to a wide range of symptoms and health challenges. Neurological conditions can be caused by factors, such as genetic factors, infections, injuries, autoimmune responses, and degenerative processes (ageing-related changes).

Diagnosis, treatment, and management of neurological disorders typically involve a multidisciplinary approach, with neurologists and other healthcare professionals working together to provide comprehensive care.

Neurologists specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological conditions, employing a combination of clinical assessments, imaging studies, and laboratory tests to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. Once diagnosed, patients often receive tailored treatment plans that may include medications to manage symptoms, physical therapy to improve function, surgical interventions to address specific issues, and, in some cases, lifestyle modifications.

Lifestyle modifications can be particularly important in the management of certain neurological conditions. These modifications may involve dietary changes, exercise regimens, and adaptations to daily routines to optimise the patient's quality of life and overall well-being. 

The goal is to empower individuals affected by neurological conditions to lead as fulfilling and comfortable lives as possible, despite the challenges posed by their condition.

Types of Neurological Conditions

While neurological conditions share a common thread of affecting the nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and nerves), neurological conditions cover many different kinds of disorders. Each neurological condition, like Parkinson’s or Epilepsy, has its own specific causes and symptoms, which makes the field of neurology quite complex.

Some common neurological conditions include:

  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Chronic Pain
  • Migraines
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Neuropathy (damage or dysfunction of the peripheral nerves)


Each neurological condition presents its unique challenges in terms of diagnosis and management. Treatment approaches vary, and they often involve a combination of medications, therapies, and lifestyle modifications tailored to the specific condition and individual needs.

How Prescription Natural Medicine May Affect Neurological Conditions

Prescription natural medicine and prescribed natural medicine treatments may help some people manage some of the complex symptoms of neurological disorders.

While ongoing research is still uncovering exactly how prescription natural medicine interacts with neurological conditions, here are a few ways it might affect some patients: 

  • Managing Neuroinflammation: The two main active ingredients in prescription natural medicine, have anti-inflammatory effects. They interact with the body's endocannabinoid system, which regulates immune responses and inflammation.

It has been suggested that prescription natural medicine may help slow down the progression of conditions like multiple sclerosis in some patients by reducing neuroinflammation, as inflammation is a key factor in nerve damage.

  • Immune System Modulation: Active ingredients within prescription natural medicine treatments may affect how the immune system responds in some patients, especially in neuroinflammatory autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's. 

Prescription natural medicines may control the release of cytokines and other immune signalling molecules, which helps in calming down an overactive immune response. This is significant for conditions like Guillain-Barré syndrome and lupus, where an overly active immune system is a characteristic feature.

  • Pain Alleviation: Neurological conditions often bring persistent pain that can seriously affect a person's life. Prescription natural medicine may help manage pain symptoms in some patients due to its pain-relieving properties. This can be especially helpful for people with conditions like diabetic neuropathy, which causes nerve pain due to diabetes, or trigeminal neuralgia, a condition causing severe facial pain.

Remember: The efficacy of prescription natural medicine can vary from person to person and may depend on many factors, including your condition, the specific natural medicine treatment prescribed to you, and the dosing regimen.

As with any medical treatment, prescription natural medicine carries potential side effects and interactions with other medications. If you’re interested in learning more about natural therapy treatments, we recommend speaking to an authorised prescriber or a doctor who specialises in the prescription of natural medicine treatments to adequately weigh the risks and benefits. 

Possible Risks of Prescription Natural Medicine for Neurological Conditions

It's important to be aware of the potential risks associated with prescription natural medicine for neurological conditions. 

These may include: 

  • Cognitive Effects: Depending on the active ingredients present and their concentrations, prescription natural medicine might lead to cognitive effects, including impaired memory and concentration.
  • Interactions and Side Effects: Just like any medication, prescription natural medicine could interact with other medications you're taking. Side effects, though potentially fewer than with traditional medications, still warrant careful consideration.
  • Psychoactive Effects of Active Ingredients: The psychoactive nature of active ingredients may not be appropriate for people with certain mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. 

A comprehensive discussion with a caring medical professional can help you navigate possible risks and make an informed decision about whether prescription natural medicine could be right for you and your lifestyle. 

The Wrap Up

Living with a neurological condition can be a significant and long-lasting challenge. It requires a constant effort to manage symptoms, adapt to their limitations, and seek comfort and function despite ongoing neurological issues. Prescription natural medicine may provide hope for those dealing with conditions like epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and neuropathic pain when other treatments have failed to provide relief.

Prescription natural medicine, under the guidance of experienced healthcare professionals, can offer people new possibilities for people with neurological conditions to improve their quality of life and manage symptoms.

Remember: to qualify for access to prescription natural medicine treatments in Australia, you must have experienced a chronic condition for over three months and have tried other treatments that were either ineffective or resulted in unwanted side effects.

Neurological Conditions: FAQ

Can Multiple Sclerosis Be Cured?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune neurological condition with no known cure at present. While there is no cure for MS, various treatments aim to manage its symptoms, slow disease progression, and improve patients' quality of life. Prescription natural medicine has shown promise in alleviating some MS symptoms, such as pain, muscle spasms, and spasticity in some patients.

However, it should be viewed as a complementary therapy rather than a cure. Research on the long-term effects and optimal use of prescription natural medicines for MS is ongoing, and its effectiveness can vary from person to person. 

Individuals with MS should work closely with healthcare professionals to develop comprehensive treatment plans tailored to their specific needs and conditions.

Do Parkinson's Symptoms Come and Go? 

Parkinson's disease is characterised by both motor and non-motor symptoms, and their presentation can indeed fluctuate, with periods of symptom exacerbation (known as "on" periods) followed by relative relief (known as "off" periods). These fluctuations are often a result of the interplay between the disease progression and the effectiveness of Parkinson's medications, particularly levodopa.

Some people may experience the "wearing-off" phenomenon, where the medication's effects diminish before the next dose, leading to a return of symptoms. Prescription natural medicine has been explored as a potential adjunct therapy to help manage Parkinson's symptoms during "off" periods, offering relief from issues like tremors, rigidity, and bradykinesia in some patients. 

Medical Conditions

Natural Therapies: Prescription Natural Medicine and Sleep Disorders

5
min read
Read Article
Natural Therapies: Prescription Natural Medicine and Sleep Disorders

Why can’t we mention prescription medications by name?

In accordance with guidelines and regulations set out by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA), we are unable to disclose the names of our treatments until you have completed a consultation with a Polln doctor and have been deemed eligible for treatment. 

Here at Polln, we prioritise your safety and well-being. These measures have been put in place to ensure that you are able to discuss all treatment options with a qualified medical professional who specialises in the prescription of natural medicines and can help tailor your treatment plan to suit your individual needs. 

All medications prescribed by our Polln doctors have been approved for use in Australia.

Living with a sleep disorder, such as insomnia or restless legs syndrome, can be an exhausting and frustrating experience. These conditions disrupt our natural sleep rhythms, meaning we not only don’t get enough sleep — but the sleep we do get tends to be poor quality too.

The effects of bad sleep go beyond just feeling tired. Sleep disorders can cause difficulties concentrating, mood swings, lowered immune function, and a higher risk of illnesses.

Insomnia treatment can be challenging too due to the many reasons why sleep problems happen. Stress, poor sleep hygiene habits, and medical and psychological conditions can all cause sleep issues. The duration and severity of your sleep disorders also play a role in how to manage them, with chronic cases often requiring more comprehensive or holistic treatment options.

Prescription natural medicine has shown promise as a potential natural and lower-risk option for some people with insomnia. The active ingredients found in the medication interact with the body's endocannabinoid system to help regulate sleep and other bodily functions.

Learn more about how prescription natural medicine may help with sleep disorders in some patients and discover options for legally accessing natural medicine treatments in Australia.

Understanding Sleep Disorders

Insomnia and other sleep disorders are conditions that disrupt normal sleep patterns, making it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, or achieve good quality sleep. Many factors, including stress, medical conditions, lifestyle habits, or even genetic factors can cause sleep disorders.

Some common sleep disorders include insomnia, restless legs syndrome, and narcolepsy.

People with insomnia face ongoing challenges in falling asleep or maintaining sleep and are often accompanied by stress or anxiety.

Restless legs syndrome also causes disrupted sleep, however, sleep difficulties are caused by uncomfortable leg sensations and uncontrollable urges to move the legs.

Instead of trouble sleeping at night, narcolepsy causes sudden, uncontrollable episodes of daytime sleepiness. Narcolepsy can also cause sudden muscle weakness or paralysis triggered by emotions, like laughter or surprise. Additionally, narcoleptics can experience vivid hallucinations (also known as hypnopompic hallucinations) upon falling.

Effective management and treatment of sleep disorders require accurate diagnosis and personalised treatment plans. 

Want to know more about sleep disorders? Talk to a doctor to receive a comprehensive assessment and achieve better sleep.

Why is Poor Sleep Such a Problem?

With how busy our daily lives can be, it’s easy to underestimate how important sleep is for our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. 

During sleep, our bodies undergo essential processes that help repair tissue, strengthen our immune system, and regulate hormones. Additionally, sleep is vital for memory consolidation, learning, and problem-solving, allowing us to process and make sense of the information we encounter throughout the day.

Getting enough sleep also stabilises mood and emotional resilience. Ongoing sleep deprivation (like what you would experience with chronic insomnia) has been associated with heightened stress levels and an increased susceptibility to mental health disorders.

Poor sleep can even affect our physical health and increase our risk of chronic conditions like obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Polln Doctor, Dr Melissa Catanzarite, MBBS believes that sleep is the single most significant component of our self care. “Sleep is the real miracle drug; it promotes healing, emotional stability and even weight loss. Without sleep we struggle to have meaningful interactions with those we love, our creativity is dampened or ceases altogether and we are at more risk for significant health disorders.

A person can take all of the medications, supplements and yoga classes in the world and their health will not improve until they prioritise sleep.”

Challenges of Traditional Sleep Disorder Treatments

Conventional treatments for sleep disorders that rely on pharmaceutical interventions (sometimes called “sleeping pills”) or behavioural therapies can be challenging for patients due to their possible side effects, dependency concerns, and varying levels of effectiveness.

While behavioural therapies, like cognitive behavioural therapy, can be effective drug-free insomnia treatment options, they require commitment and patience as they often involve making long-term changes to sleep habits and routines.

Prescription sleep aids, like benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepine hypnotics, on the other hand, help insomnia by boosting the calming effects of various brain chemicals. However, these medications are typically recommended for short-term use. 

Prolonged or excessive use of prescription sleep aids can lead to tolerance, where the effectiveness of the drug diminishes over time, or drug dependence. Additionally, when individuals stop using these medications after extended use, they may experience rebound insomnia, where their sleep problems worsen again.

Benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepine hypnotics can also lead to issues such as daytime drowsiness, cognitive impairment, and an increased likelihood of accidents or falls, particularly among older adults.

There is a significant need for natural sleep aids. Some alternatives include prescription natural medicine, relaxation exercises, and improved sleeping habits, such as taking daily exercises, reducing caffeine and alcohol intake, and making changes to your sleeping environment to promote better sleep hygiene.

How Prescription Natural Medicine May Support as a Natural Sleep Aid

Prescription natural medicine may help treat sleep disorders due to its interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS plays an important role in regulating various bodily functions, including sleep.

The ECS has been found to influence sleep-wake cycles, sleep duration, and sleep quality through its modulation of neurotransmitters and receptors in the brain. Some of the active ingredients that are found in prescription natural medicine may influence the quality and duration of sleep in some patients by:

  • Reducing Anxiety: Prescription natural medicine may provide insomnia relief for some patients. Some of the active ingredients found within the medication have anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) properties that may help alleviate anxiety and stress, common contributors to sleep disorders like insomnia.
  • Regulating REM Sleep: Certain active ingredients found in prescription natural medicine treatments have been shown to suppress REM sleep, which could be beneficial for those with conditions like nightmares or REM sleep behaviour disorder. Interestingly, reduced REM sleep has been linked to early-onset dementia and cognitive decline; however, some active ingredients may allow for more REM, potentially protecting brain health for some people.

  • Pain Relief: Prescription natural medicine may alleviate pain in some patients, which is often a contributing factor to sleep disorders. By reducing pain, it may facilitate better sleep.

Therapeutic Effects of Prescription Natural Medicine on Sleep

When considering prescription natural medicine for sleep, it's essential to consult a doctor before starting a treatment course. Your practitioner can help you assess the potential risks and benefits, and decide if prescription natural medicine treatments align with your sleep disorder and overall health needs.

Prescription natural medicine offers several therapeutic effects that may set it apart from other sleep medications:

  • Natural: Unlike many traditional sleep medications, prescription natural medicines are derived from plants, making them a natural alternative that may appeal to those seeking natural, plant-based remedies without the side effects often associated with synthetic drugs. 
  • Fewer Side Effects: Compared to some pharmaceutical interventions, prescription natural medicine may have fewer side effects for some patients, particularly when used responsibly and under medical supervision. This can be appealing for those concerned about adverse reactions and dependency associated with traditional sleep medications.

Risks of Prescription Natural Medicine for Sleep

When deciding on any kind of medication, it's important to acknowledge any possible risks alongside their potential benefits.

Some risks of prescription natural medicine for sleep include potential side effects such as dizziness, dry mouth, and cognitive impairment, as well as the risk of developing tolerance, and dependence. 

Additionally, the psychoactive nature of some of the active ingredients found within prescription natural medicine may not be suitable for people with mood disorders, like bipolar or schizophrenia.

A comprehensive discussion with a caring medical professional can help you navigate these risks and benefits to help you make an informed decision about whether prescription natural medicine is a safe and effective option for you.

The Wrap Up

Sleep disorders can have a profound impact on both our physical and mental well-being, disrupting our natural sleep patterns and significantly influencing our overall health and quality of life. Traditional treatments, though effective for some, can come with some challenging side effects like dependence or rebound insomnia, and might not but suitable for everything.

Prescription natural medicine provides a safer, natural, sleep aid option. It can help improve sleep, reduce anxiety, promote relaxation, and even regulate REM sleep. 

Even though prescription natural medicine treatments have fewer side effects than other sleep medications, it’s still important to consult with a healthcare professional to weigh the risks and benefits and decide if natural therapies are right for you.

Prescription Natural Medicine and Sleep FAQ

What Is the Most Effective Natural Sleep Aid?

One natural sleep aid is prescription natural medicine. While the effectiveness and safety of natural medicine as a sleep aid can vary from person to person, there is a growing body of research suggesting that this treatment method may improve sleep quality, reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, and increase the duration of deep and restorative sleep.

Prescription natural medicine contains active ingredients that interact with the body's endocannabinoid system. This system plays a role in regulating various physiological processes, including sleep. It's worth noting that other natural sleep aids, such as meditation, hypnotherapy, and melatonin, are also recognised for their potential in promoting restful sleep. Different individuals may find varying degrees of effectiveness with these options, and we recommend exploring what works best for your individual needs and preferences with an authorised prescriber, or a doctor who specialises in the prescription of natural medicines.

Can You Become Dependent on Sleep Aids?

Yes, it is possible to become dependent on sleep aids, including prescription natural medicine. Both over-the-counter and prescription sleep aids, as well as natural remedies, can lead to physical and psychological dependence if used improperly or for an extended period.

  • Prescription Sleep Aids: Prescription medications like benzodiazepines and certain non-benzodiazepine drugs can effectively treat sleep disorders, but they carry the risk of dependence. Tolerance can develop over time, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effect. This can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the medication.

  • Over-the-counter and Natural Sleep Aids: Even over-the-counter sleep aids, including herbal supplements, and natural options like prescription natural medicines can also lead to dependence. Using these aids regularly can create a psychological reliance on them to induce sleep.

  • Prescription Natural Medicine: While the prescription of natural medicines has shown potential for improving sleep, prolonged and indiscriminate use can also lead to dependence. Regular use might lead to the body adapting to its effects, potentially requiring higher doses to achieve the desired sleep benefits. Learn more. 
Medical Conditions

Natural Therapies: Prescription Natural Medicine and Chemotherapy Side Effects

4
min read
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Natural Therapies: Prescription Natural Medicine and Chemotherapy Side Effects

Why can’t we mention prescription medications by name?

In accordance with guidelines and regulations set out by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA), we are unable to disclose the names of our treatments until you have completed a consultation with a Polln doctor and have been deemed eligible for treatment. 

Here at Polln, we prioritise your safety and well-being. These measures have been put in place to ensure that you are able to discuss all treatment options with a qualified medical professional who specialises in the prescription of natural medicines and can help tailor your treatment plan to suit your individual needs. 

All medications prescribed by our Polln doctors have been approved for use in Australia.

Dealing with cancer is an incredibly challenging journey, not only for patients but for their loved ones too. Chemotherapy, while effective in targeting cancer cells, often brings along a slew of daunting side effects that can make treatment even more difficult.

Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and rashes, or diarrhoea are just a few of the additional issues that chemotherapy patients face.

Chemotherapy-induced side effects are notoriously challenging to manage. Standard medications used to reduce them don’t always provide effective relief, and can even create additional complications. In recent years, studies have shown that prescription natural medicine has emerged as a promising alternative that holds potential in mitigating some of the adverse effects of chemotherapy.

‍This natural approach to symptom management has been gaining recognition within both the patient community and the medical field. Under the supervision of a medical professional, the therapeutic active ingredients in prescription natural medicine may offer relief from nausea, vomiting, pain, and other debilitating symptoms associated with chemotherapy for some patients.

If you or a loved one are undergoing chemotherapy and have not found effective relief through conventional therapies, doctors who are experienced in the prescription of natural medicine are here to guide you through this therapeutic option, ensuring that you receive the care and support you need throughout your journey towards better health and quality of life.

What Are Chemotherapy Side Effects?

Chemotherapy and immunotherapy are effective in targeting cancerous cells in many types of cancer, including breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, leukaemia, and many others. However, chemotherapy can also cause a range of short-term and long-term side effects due to its impact on healthy cells and tissues in the body.

These side effects can vary in severity from person to person and depend on the specific chemotherapy drugs used. Some common chemotherapy side effects include:

  • Nausea and Vomiting: Chemotherapy is often designed to be toxic to cancer cells, which can trigger nausea and vomiting. These symptoms can be acute (occurring shortly after treatment) or delayed (occurring days after treatment). Anti-nausea medications are often prescribed to manage these symptoms
  • Fatigue: Chemotherapy-induced fatigue is a common side effect that can have a debilitating effect on a patient’s quality of life. It’s more than just “feeling tired”, Chemotherapy-induced fatigue can feel mentally and physically exhausting. This fatigue can persist for weeks or even months after treatment
  • Hair Loss: Many chemotherapy drugs can cause hair loss, including hair on the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Hair usually grows back after treatment ends
  • Loss of Appetite and Weight Changes: Chemotherapy can affect the sense of taste and appetite, leading to weight loss or gain
  • Mouth Sores: Chemotherapy can cause mouth sores and mucositis, making it painful to eat or drink
  • Digestive Issues: Patients may experience diarrhoea, constipation, or other gastrointestinal problems during chemotherapy
  • Skin Changes: Skin may become dry, itchy, or sensitive to sunlight. Some chemotherapy drugs can cause rashes or skin discolouration
  • Cognitive Changes: Some people undergoing chemotherapy report cognitive changes often referred to as "chemo brain." This can involve memory problems, difficulty concentrating, and mental fogginess
  • Peripheral Neuropathy: Some chemotherapy drugs can damage peripheral nerves, causing symptoms like tingling, numbness, or pain in the hands and feet
  • Emotional and Psychological Effects: Coping with cancer and its treatment can lead to emotional distress, stress and anxiety, depression, and changes in mood

How Can Prescription Natural Medicine Potentially Help Manage Chemotherapy Side Effects?

Prescription natural medicine has shown promise in alleviating several chemotherapy-induced side effects. The potential benefits of prescription natural medicine in managing these side effects are mostly attributed to the active ingredients that interact with the body's endocannabinoid system. 

Here's how prescription natural medicine may help some patients to manage the side effects of chemotherapy: 

  • Pain Management: Prescription natural medicine has analgesic (pain-relieving) properties and may be effective in managing chemotherapy-related pain for some patients, including nerve pain (neuropathy) and bone pain
  • Anxiety and Stress: Chemotherapy can cause anxiety and emotional distress. Some active ingredients found in prescription natural medicine have anxiolytic properties, and may help reduce anxiety and improve mood for some patients as a result
  • Sleep Improvement: Prescription natural medicine may aid in improving sleep quality for some patients experiencing insomnia or sleep disturbances due to chemotherapy
  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Prescription natural medicine has anti-inflammatory properties that may potentially reduce inflammation for some patients and alleviate symptoms related to chemotherapy-induced mucositis and skin issues
  • Neuropathy Relief: Some patients develop peripheral neuropathy as a side effect of chemotherapy. Prescription natural medicine may help manage neuropathic pain and discomfort
  • Combination Therapy: Prescription natural medicine may be used in conjunction with other medications to manage side effects. This can lead to a more well-rounded and personalised treatment approach

Remember: the use of prescription natural medicine in cancer care is a topic of ongoing research, and its effectiveness and potential risks and side effects can vary from person to person. It is important to note that prescription natural medicines are not a primary treatment for cancer and cannot cure cancer.

Additionally, the type of natural medicine treatments prescribed, dosages, and administration methods should be carefully considered and discussed with a healthcare provider experienced in the prescription of natural medicine to ensure safety and optimal results.

Possible Risks of Prescription Natural Medicine for Chemotherapy Side-Effects

While prescription natural medicine shows promise in managing some chemotherapy side effects, it is important to understand the potential risks and side effects associated with its use.

The impact of prescription natural medicine can vary depending on individual factors, the specific products that have been prescribed, and the method of consumption. Here are some possible risks to consider when using prescription natural medicine for chemotherapy side effects:

  • Psychological Effects: Prescription natural medicine products with high levels of certain active ingredients, can induce psychological side effects. These may include anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and impaired cognitive function. Individuals with a history of mental health conditions, such as anxiety or schizophrenia, may be at greater risk of experiencing these side effects
  • Dependency and Withdrawal: Long-term, consistent use of prescription natural medicine can lead to dependence. Attempting to reduce or cease the use of the prescribed natural medicine treatment may result in withdrawal symptoms, including irritability, mood swings, insomnia, and loss of appetite
  • Impaired Cognitive Function: Prescription natural medicine can impair cognitive functions such as memory, attention, and decision-making. This may raise concerns, particularly for individuals needing mental sharpness for tasks like driving or operating heavy machinery
  • Interaction with Medications: Prescription natural medicine has the potential to interact with certain medications, either by enhancing or diminishing their efficacy. Individuals using medications should consult healthcare professionals to assess potential interactions before incorporating prescribed natural therapies into their regimen
  • Potential Adverse Effects on Chemotherapy Side Effects: While prescription natural medicine may offer relief to some chemotherapy patients, it may not be suitable for everyone. In some cases, it might exacerbate side effects such as nausea, vomiting, or underlying digestive issues

When considering prescription natural medicine as a complementary therapy for chemotherapy side effects, remember to talk to an Authorised Prescriber or a doctor who specialises in the prescription of natural medicines about the risks and benefits before starting a course of treatment.

A specialty practitioner can provide guidance on whether prescription natural medicine is an appropriate option, assist in selecting the right dosage and strain, and closely monitor for potential side effects or interactions with existing medications.

The Wrap Up

Cancer treatment, especially chemotherapy, can be incredibly challenging and is often accompanied by many distressing side effects that can affect patients and their loved ones. Nausea, vomiting, pain, and the many other issues that come with chemotherapy can be overwhelming. 

Conventional treatments may not always provide sufficient relief and can even introduce new complications.

While there is still much more research to be done, prescription natural medicine may provide some people with a natural alternative for chemotherapy side-effect management. By harnessing the active ingredients found within the medication, prescription natural medicine treatments may offer relief from a wide range of symptoms, helping make cancer treatment more bearable for some patients.

If you or a loved one is navigating chemotherapy, expert doctors are available to help you, discussing the potential benefits of this therapeutic option.

Chemotherapy Side Effects FAQ

How Can You Minimise the Side Effects of Chemotherapy?

There are many ways to minimise chemotherapy side effects. Firstly, open communication with your treatment team and oncologist is essential, as they can tailor your treatment plan and prescribe different natural and conventional medications to manage symptoms effectively.

In recent years, prescription natural medicine has emerged as a promising addition to potentially help alleviate various chemotherapy side effects, including nausea, vomiting, pain, and loss of appetite. Consulting with a healthcare provider experienced in natural medicine can help you explore its potential benefits while ensuring safe and effective use alongside traditional treatments.

Maintaining a balanced diet, staying hydrated, managing pain, and incorporating supportive therapies like exercise, psychological support, and complementary therapies can further enhance your ability to cope with chemotherapy side effects. 

How to Help Chemo Nausea?

Managing chemotherapy-induced nausea can be a challenging aspect of cancer treatment, but there are several strategies to help alleviate this discomfort. Your treatment team and oncologist can prescribe anti-nausea medications (antiemetics) tailored to your specific needs.

Additionally, you may want to consider discussing the use of prescription natural medicine with a healthcare provider experienced in its administration. Some patients find that natural medicine treatments can be helpful in reducing nausea. However, it's essential to ensure legal and safe access and consult a healthcare professional for guidance.

Incorporating complementary approaches like acupressure wristbands, ginger, dietary adjustments, and mind-body techniques can also provide relief. These methods, combined with staying hydrated, avoiding triggers, and staying informed about your treatment plan, can help you cope with nausea and improve your overall quality of life. 

Medical Conditions

Natural Therapies: Prescription Natural Medicine, IBS, IBD and More

6
min read
Read Article
Natural Therapies: Prescription Natural Medicine, IBS, IBD and More

Why can’t we mention prescription medications by name?

In accordance with guidelines and regulations set out by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA), we are unable to disclose the names of our treatments until you have completed a consultation with a Polln doctor and have been deemed eligible for treatment. 

Here at Polln, we prioritise your safety and well-being. These measures have been put in place to ensure that you are able to discuss all treatment options with a qualified medical professional who specialises in the prescription of natural medicines and can help tailor your treatment plan to suit your individual needs. 

All medications prescribed by our Polln doctors have been approved for use in Australia.

Digestive problems, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), can cause discomfort and frustration. These conditions often lead to unpredictable bouts of pain, bloating, and bowel irregularities, making everyday activities a challenge.

Digestive problems, medically known as gastrointestinal conditions, are disorders and ailments that affect the digestive system, which includes the stomach and small and large intestines. Common gastrointestinal conditions include IBS, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and diverticulitis.

Conventional treatments for gut problems often include a mix of traditional pharmaceutical medications, lifestyle changes, and dietary restrictions. However, these solutions don’t always provide relief, are hard to maintain, or may come with unwanted side effects.

Prescription natural medicine, also referred to as natural therapies, is gaining scientific recognition for its potential to manage symptoms associated with digestive problems in some patients. 

It’s been shown to help some patients with inflammation and pain, or even help with uncomfortable symptoms like diarrhoea, constipation and nausea. 

Prescription natural medicine may help some people improve their gut health naturally and provide a natural treatment alternative for conditions like IBS and IBD. 

Read on to explore the science behind prescription natural medicine and digestive problems, and how you can explore natural therapies in Australia.

What Are Gastrointestinal Diseases?

Gastrointestinal (GI) conditions, also called digestive disorders, are a wide range of medical issues that affect the digestive system, including the oesophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.

These conditions can disrupt the normal functioning of the digestive system, leading to a variety of uncomfortable symptoms and health complications. Digestive conditions can arise from a myriad of causes, including genetic predisposition, infections, dietary factors, autoimmune responses, and lifestyle choices.‍

Diagnosis, treatment, and management of digestive conditions can be exhausting and time-consuming. It can be difficult to get a diagnosis quickly, as many gastrointestinal conditions share many of the same symptoms. In fact, people with IBS can wait up to four years to get a diagnosis.

Effective condition management often requires a collaborative effort among healthcare professionals specialising in gastroenterology, nutrition, and other relevant fields, like prescription natural medicine experts. Gastroenterologists are experts in diagnosing and treating these conditions, utilising a combination of clinical evaluations, imaging tests, and laboratory assessments to pinpoint the issue accurately. 

Types of Gastrointestinal (GI) Conditions 

Digestive conditions encompass a wide spectrum of disorders that affect the gastrointestinal (GI) system, ranging from common issues like acid reflux to more complex conditions such as irritable bowel disease (IBS) or Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Some common gastrointestinal conditions include:

  • Acid Reflux (GERD): Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), occurs when stomach acid flows back into the oesophagus, causing symptoms like heartburn, chest pain, and regurgitation.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): IBS is a common functional gastrointestinal disorder characterised by abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhoea, constipation, or a combination of both.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): IBD includes conditions like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, which involve chronic inflammation of the digestive tract, leading to symptoms such as severe diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and weight loss.
  • Diverticulitis: This condition occurs when small pouches (diverticula) in the colon become inflamed or infected, causing abdominal pain, fever, and changes in bowel habits. Prescription natural medicine may help some people manage acute pain, but patients will typically need antibiotics to treat diverticulitis.
  • Gastroenteritis: Commonly referred to as "stomach flu," gastroenteritis involves inflammation of the stomach and intestines, leading to symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps.
  • Peptic Ulcers: These are open sores that develop on the inner lining of the stomach or the upper part of the small intestine, often caused by infection with H. pylori bacteria or the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Prescription Natural Medicine and Gastrointestinal (GI) Conditions 

Prescription natural medicine may hold promise in providing some relief for a variety of gut symptoms associated with common gastrointestinal (GI) conditions. These symptoms can often disrupt daily life and diminish the quality of life for those affected.

Prescription natural medicine may help some people:

Reduce Abdominal Pain

Prescription natural medicine may help reduce abdominal pain for some patients – a common and distressing symptom found in numerous GI disorders, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Crohn's Disease, and Ulcerative Colitis.

By modulating pain perception and mitigating gut inflammation, prescribed natural medicines may provide much-needed relief to those grappling with chronic abdominal discomfort. This relief can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals burdened by such symptoms.

Reduce Nausea and Vomiting

Prescription natural medicine can potentially help reduce nausea and vomiting, which are common in gastrointestinal conditions such as IBS, gastroenteritis, and GERD. Some active ingredients found within prescription natural medicines have well-established anti-nausea properties, rendering theman effective resource for managing both acute and chronic nausea in some patients.

Diarrhoea and Constipation 

In gastrointestinal (GI) conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), individuals often experience diarrhoea, constipation or both. Prescription natural medicine offers potential relief for some patients by aiding in the regulation of bowel movements.

For those dealing with diarrhoea, certain active ingredients found in natural medicines can slow gut motility, potentially reducing the frequency of bowel movements. On the other hand, the muscle-relaxing properties of prescription natural medicine may be particularly beneficial in alleviating constipation, providing individuals with more comfortable and regular bowel function.