Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Lately, we have been expanding our over-the-counter items to include a wide array of alternative medicine remedies. This product expansion gives us the opportunity to further educate our customers, as well as ourselves, on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).  These terms are often used interchangeably, but alternative and complementary are actually two different approaches to medicine and healing.

Alternative medicine includes treatments that are used in place of conventional medicine. When compared to conventional practices, alternative options generally have less research and testing. This is primarily due to difficulty finding institutions to conduct these studies and lack of time and funding.

Complementary medicine is when alternative treatments are used alongside standard or conventional practices. Types of alternative and complementary medicine include homeopathy, acupuncture, and Ayurveda.

How do Complementary and Alternative methods differ from other branches of medicine?

Alternative and complementary medicine can be further understood by taking a look at conventional and integrative medicines.

Conventional medicine is a system in which doctors, nurses, pharmacists, therapists and other healthcare professionals treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation or surgery. Conventional medicine is commonly referred to as Western medicine.

Integrative medicine is a system that combines conventional medicine with complementary and alternative therapies. Integrative medicine is the incorporation of CAM practices into conventional healthcare –  where there is quality evidence of safety and effectiveness.

What types of CAM treatments are available at Oswald’s?

Oswald’s has grown our selection of alternative medicine options to include homeopathy, Ayurverdic practices, aromatherapy and various supplements.

  • Homeopathy is based on the idea that like can be treated with like; essentially this means that a malady can be treated by a substance that produces similar symptoms in healthy people. The other idea behind homeopathy is that the lower the dose of a homeopathic remedy, the greater it’s effectiveness.  Homeopathic remedies are often diluted to infinitesimal amounts. Homeopathic products available at Oswald’s include Boiron homeopathic, Liddell homeopathic, Hyland’s homeopathic, and more. These lines cover a wide range of remedies.
  • Ayurveda is a practice thousands of years old that originated in India. It is comprised of different elements including herbs, massage, and specialized diet, to name a few. Ayurvedic remedies available at Oswald’s can be found within our Herb Pharm and Nature’s Answer selection near the pharmacy. We also offer oil pulling concentrate and other oils that can be used for massage.
  • Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to promote healing. Aromatherapy oils can be used in a handful of ways – inhaled, applied topically, massaged or even taken by mouth. Different oils provide different solutions. Examples of different uses include lavender oil for a calming effect and lemon oil to increase concentration. Oswald’s pharmacy has lavender oil, lemon oil, and many more essential oils. Our biggest selection is from the brands Aura Cacia and SunLeaf. SunLeaf is made right here in the Midwest – Minnesota to be exact!
  • Supplements encompass a large number of items including vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids and enzymes. Supplements are used to treat a deficiency and/or improve health. We have a large selection of supplements – from Windmill vitamins to our Nature’s Answer supplements, which includes herbal extracts and even protein powder.

How can I incorporate CAM into my health care routine?

In order to find out if CAM is appropriate to incorporate into your healthcare routine, do your homework, targeted to your specific ailments. From there, work with your healthcare professional to decide what would work best for your needs.  Keep in mind that some alternative medicines can negatively interact with conventional medicines that you may already be taking.

We hope to provide a wide array of CAM options to our customers as we continue to grow and learn about these alternative practices. However, if there is ever a specific alternative product that you are looking for, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask. You can direct these inquiries to

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Written by Allison Anderson

Allison has been working for Oswald's since 2007. A 6th generation member of the Wickel-Oswald-Kester-Anderson family, Allison focuses on natural & organic products, social media, and online promotions. Allison graduated with a BA in Telecommunications from Indiana University Bloomington in 2013, minoring in Marketing. After graduating from IU, Allison worked at SAP Fieldglass as a Business Analyst. A graduate of Naperville North High School in 2009, Allison currently lives in Naperville and is attending classes at the University of Illinois at Chicago, studying Nutrition.