Conventional vs. Alternative?

What are they and how are they different?


Increasingly-emerging terms and titles are surfacing into the realm of WellCare medicine; How do you know what is right for You?

To be honest — even as I write this update — coined terminology and practitioners’ efforts to stand apart from one another with ‘branded’ terms and titles for their approaches are emerging onto internet searches on the regular.

Have you noticed this?

It can be overwhelming, at best — even paralyzing — for those who simply seek to put Food and Plants as a foundation of a healthy lifestyle, with genuinely effective “plant based” and science-backed options in Clinical Care of their health.

Is this You?

The linked video I recorded above just a couple of years ago only highlights TWO of these most commonly-utilized terms in describing OPTIONS in health care.. because it seems new terms pop-up in searches everyday!

This video almost seems ‘outdated’ to me, already! Its not — but let me try to simmer this into a bite-sized explanation…


Self-explanatory, yes? We refer to your AMA board-certified Medical Doctor and their work with pharmaceutical medications, surgeries, and related applications as ‘Conventional’ in nature.

Some are opening up to recommending ‘natural’ supplement tablets in a quest to be ‘Integrative’ with providing more options outside of pharmaceuticals — but with the same mindset of treating SYMPTOMS rather than seeking the CAUSE of imbalance.

Furthermore, these supplements are simply isolated and concentrated nutrients or “active ingredients” of a plant — which then renders the preparation a “Nutraceutical”. When a plant has a single component isolated in a laboratory and “standardized” (i.e. concentrated into a measured amount), it loses its innate or natural ability to regulate its activity in the body — which can then potentially trigger side-effects. 

Not exactly what you may have been seeking in your quest for finding “natural” options, hey?

This is not to throw this care “under the bus” (metaphorically-speaking), because clinical diagnostics are essential to determining precisely what is going on in the body ~ which can require CT scans, MRIs, blood work, biopsies, cultures, and other clinical testing measures. This eliminates the guesswork in what we may be experiencing.


Just as it describes, we refer to having ‘alternatives’ to ‘conventional’ options in our health care. Here we are talking about what may be a distinctly separate measure that can replace a pharmaceutical to produce results.

Sometimes, however, these alternatives can use the same mindset of treating the symptoms alone with a “natural alternative” — tethering us to a “supplement” indefinitely — because we are looking to fill a gap or hole in our functioning. This can lead to a cabinet-full of bottles and a nauseating handful of tablets or capsules to swallow daily (and limited results).

Supplements made in factories often utilize large numbers of isolated nutrients and ingredients sourced through numerous brokers, and it is very easy for supplement manufacturers to be unable to determine sourcing and verification of being what they are labeled as.

Some nutrients like B-vitamins can be sourced from petrochemicals, and some fat-soluble nutrients like Vitamin E can be of synthetic origin; Studies periodically emerge, proving them to be detrimental or carcinogenic (cancer-inducing).

Let’s look at two examples in Research:

Isolated nutrients that are proven effective in certain conditions, such as Vitamin C, can induce unintended side effects. For example, Dr. David R Jacobs Jr of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis found that naturally-balanced sources of Vitamin C for correction of deficiency from dietary food is much preferred to isolated supplementation. He found an increased risk of Cardiovascular Disease Mortality in Postmenopausal Women with Diabetes with high isolated doses of Vitamin C.

Another recent example in 2017, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology: Supplementing isolated Vitamin B6 and B12 has been linked to a triple or quadruple risk of Lung Cancer in men. Again, it is not the nutrient found naturally-balanced in food and whole plant extracts — it is isolated into supplemental form, and we cannot know what the source of those nutrients were.

These are simply two examples of isolated nutrient queries.

Here is where INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE comes in…

When we talk about “Integration” we are referring to having Conventional testing and diagnostics to confirm precisely what we may be navigating with an imbalance. From that point, we look at what is causing the imbalance, and what options on all sides of the spectrum are available to manage or resolve it.

Sometimes pharmaceutical preparations are unavoidable, and plant medicines can manage side-effects or address other issues while taking a prescribed medication.

Emergency Medicine can involve many medications that save our lives in critical situations, and so we then look to recovery through our plant kingdom once we are stabilized and on the mend.

Oftentimes, there are some most-effective alternative options that can be considered as primary care, but in having a proper exploration of the Medical History, we can determine what combination of care is most prudent.

Every case.. Every situation.. Every INDIVIDUAL is different. So, options in care must be matched precisely.

Now we come to some new terms emerging relatively recently: FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE

When we talk about our bodies’ dynamic nature, and aiming to support or resolve an imbalance through such changeable, adaptive nature, we refer to addressing our hormonal regulation as ‘functional’ in nature. As life demands change, events and circumstances happen, and we get older… our bodies adapt. We respond to stressors in our daily lives that can have cumulative effects in disrupting our hormonal balance.

My Post-Graduate work alongside Medical Doctors of Paris, France is grounded and firmly rooted in this clinically-affirmed dynamic nature of the NeuroEndocrine-Immune “brain/body hormonal” regulation; Then applying PLANT MEDICINE alongside naturally-occurring earth-based elements and lifestyle measures for remediation (healing, recovery, rebalancing, recalibrating).

So, while a couple of years ago, I distilled this video message down to TWO descriptions of approaches, a new term emerged onto the scene of health care that more effectively describes my work for your best care.

Not all “Functional Medicine” practitioners are the same, however.

Many practitioners are using the term of Functional Medicine to describe the same process they’ve always done toward symptoms, with supplement tablets to treat deficiencies in the blood work — but again — tethering the Individual to handfuls of questionable supplement tablets and capsules.

Treating a nutrient deficiency alone without addressing hormonal factors allows the true imbalance to perpetuate itself in other ways — or supplementation may bring initial, temporary results with a return of issues or a lingering of some irregularity. 

My approach is to aim for FULL RESOLUTION (when possible) and get to a point of simply harnessing the powers of Food and Lifestyle — once the source of imbalance has been identified and rebalanced at the Brain + Body Hormonal level.

Its not always possible to resolve conditions without some level of ‘maintenance’ support in certain Individuals SUCH AS (but not limited to):

Chronic Autoimmune issues, Post-Surgical requirements (i.e. following Thyroidectomy or Hysterectomy), Genetic predispositions, or Post-Menopausal needs (just a few examples, but not limited to only these concerns)

However — We often find ongoing management of these situations to be of a simple, streamlined measure. Sometimes, we find that these situations may resolve/remit for much of the year with some periodic needs resurfacing in a seasonal pattern.

Again, every Soul’s physical body is its own Blueprint; Its own mosaic of Personal Medical History and emotional factors, lifestyles, and interpersonal relationships that impact any given imbalance.


Tami Bronstein is a University-qualified Medical Herbalist via England, U.K. with Post-Graduate work in NeuroEndocrine-Immunology alongside Medical Doctors of Paris, France.

NeuroEndocrine [brain + body hormone]Balance along with Immune Management is her Specialty:  A [Plant Based] Hormone SuperHero!

Graduating with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) via University of Wales/College of Phytotherapy in England (U.K.) initiated her work applying hand-crafted Herbal Medicines. Additionally, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology with Psychology from Hofstra University in New York, and has provided over 25 years of NeuroMuscular + Osteopathic manual treatments for Pain and Rehabilitation.




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