Principles of Naturopathic Medicine: Treat the Cause

Tolle Causam, or Treat the Cause, may sound simple, but we seldom follow the logic of this principle. If you have a headache and you take an Advil, was it because you were Advil deficient? Probably not. The headache went away, but only because you stopped the inflammatory cascade that was trying to alert you that something was wrong. There are of course dozens of reason why you may have had a headache, but the lack of Advil was not one of them.

If someone is anemic due to low iron, no amount calcium can fix it. Only iron can correct the problem. Why attempt anything else? Simple, but true.

How about something more chronic? Thyroid dysfunction is a growing condition in the United States. For some people, we might not ever get to the bottom of what is causing it, but we can look at diet as an easy first step. The amount of iodine in our diets has been decreasing over the last few decades, while the amount of toxins and endocrine disruptor exposure in diet and our environment has increased. The resulting impact on the thyroid is often a decrease in the necessary hormone production. We can treat by replacing the missing hormones with exogenous hormones (a more time consuming and complex approach) or we can stimulate the thyroid gland to function more efficiently (an effective and easier approach. We could also address the issue from a dietary approach by increasing the amount of iodine that is consumed, while identifying and decreasing toxic exposures.

So, treating the cause is both easy and complex. If we cannot find the cause, it is impossible to treat the cause. When this happens, however, we still can stimulate the body and do treatments that affect the whole person and improve overall health and vitality.