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Something present in or produced by nature is natural, such as an earthquake or typhoon, or a poisonous mushroom. Death is natural in the sense that to die is to conform to the ordinary course of living things in nature. For a diabetic to die from lack of insulin would be natural. It would be unnatural for a diabetic to inject natural or synthetic insulin, since injections are not natural. Rotting wood on your porch is natural in the sense that you have not used anything artificial to protect it. The smell of rotting garbage is natural. Meanness and cruelty are natural to some people; that is, they are inherent, non-acquired personal traits. Some people are apparently natural born killers. Squishing bugs and kicking cats is natural for some people, in the sense that they do such things spontaneously, without reflecting on their actions. Nudity is the only natural state for animals, even humans. All clothing is artificial, that is, not natural. So are the fillings in your teeth. So is all make-up and jewelry. Bearded men are natural. To shave is to do something unnatural. The present Pope commits an unnatural act every day!
Just because something is natural does not mean that it is good, safe or healthy. Herbs are natural but they are also drugs when used in the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of a disease. The chemicals which comprise synthetic drugs are natural. St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is natural, but it is a drug. Why do some people say that they prefer St. John's Wort to drugs for depression? If someone said that he preferred Irish whiskey to alcohol, we'd think he was confused. St. John's Wort contains hypericin, which inhibits monoamine oxidase, a chemical associated with depression. In other words, St. John's Wort (hypericin) is an "MAO inhibitor". MAO inhibitors are commonly prescribed by medical doctors to treat depression. Other types of anti-depressants have become more popular because they have far fewer side effects. MAO inhibitors should not be used when a person eats substances containing the amino acid tyramine or bacteria with enzymes that can convert tyrosine to tyramine, viz., alcoholic beverages, products made with yeast, aged cheese, sour cream, liver, canned meats, salami, sausage, pickled herring, eggplant and soy sauce. Otherwise, convulsions, extremely high fever and death by natural causes may occur.
Some plants are lethal even though they are natural. But if you die from eating a lethal but natural plant, you will not be said to have died of natural causes. Ditto, if you die from being bitten by a poisonous snake whose venom is quite natural. If you die from lung cancer caused by smoking tobacco, a natural plant, you will, however, be said to have died of natural causes.
Fleas on dogs are natural. Flea collars are unnatural. Mosquitoes and flies are natural, though most people find them to be a nuisance and prefer the unnatural comfort of mosquitoeless nights and flyless barbecues. Eating meat might be a natural act, but eating cooked meat is unnatural. Most sauces put on meat are made with both natural and artificial ingredients. Salt is natural, but some healthy people avoid salt like the plague.
Civilization is unnatural. Indoor plumbing is unnatural. Corrective lenses are unnatural. So are automobiles. Think about that the next time you drive to the garden shop to get some natural fertilizer for your garden or to your naturalist herb shop for a little pick-me-up.
To have a broken arm set by a physician is unnatural. To let it heal spontaneously would be natural, even if debilitating for life. Getting a medical degree is unnatural. Foraging and experimenting by trial and error would be natural, even if often lethal. Children born with no brains or other monstrous deformities are natural. Brain surgery to remove a tumor is unnatural.
Anything supernatural is unnatural but is usually considered to be good by those who believe in the supernatural. Reading and writing are unnatural. Urinating whenever one has the urge is natural, but uncivilized. Marijuana is natural, so it must be good, right? LSD is unnatural, though mescaline is natural. Ergot is natural. Mold and bacteria and viruses are natural. Arsenic is natural. To strike back when struck is natural, but considered unchristian. Turning the other cheek when struck is considered Christian but it is unnatural.
Monogamy is natural among some mammals, but unnatural for most mammals. Reproduction is natural but marriage is unnatural. Using condoms is unnatural. Dying of AIDS is to die of natural causes. Herpes is natural. Raping women is natural to some men, but it is usually regarded as evil nonetheless. Pedophilia seems to be natural in some people, but does that make it good?
In fact, ultimately everything which is made is comprised of nothing but natural atoms, molecules, elements, or substances. So, if everything is basically natural, why do some people, such as the naturopaths, make such a big fuss about using only what is natural? Such an obsession seems unhealthy, but it helps one avoid having to ask difficult questions about whether something really is good, safe or healthy. All you need to know is that something is "natural" and you don't have to think about its value.
new Natural Does Not Mean Safe Herbal supplements are unregulated, overhyped, and potentially deadly. By Geoffrey Kabat "Between 1994 and 2008, the number of dietary supplement products on the market increased from 4,000 to 75,000. In the first 10 months of 2008, the FDA received nearly 600 reports of serious adverse events (including hospitalization, disability, and death) from these products and 350 reports of moderate or mild adverse events. However, the FDA believes that these reports are drastically underreported and estimates that the annual number of all adverse events is 50,000." [/new]
Health Canada pulls unauthorized arthritis pills (Specific-Formula Arthro-Ace, sold as a "natural" health product, was found to contain dexamethasone, a steroidal prescription drug used to treat inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and allergic reactions.)
Herbal eczema cures damage children by Oliver Wright
St. John's Wort Reduces Chemotherapy Effects Popular Herb May Seriously Dilute Effects of Many Medications By Jeanie Davis WebMD Medical News