Are you confused by all the “natural” stuff out there these days?
The word NATURAL is used a lot these days by everyone from manufacturers, to marketers, to health professionals. Primarily because they know a lot of people are seeking alternatives to our dysfunctional modern lifestyles and to conventional medicine.
But what does it mean?
A dictionary definition of natural is ‘Existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind.’
A real flower is natural, a plastic one is not.
And while the definition of natural is slippery and we could argue forever about it, I think what most people generally mean by the word natural is coming from nature and not made by human processes.
What the products industry means by the word natural
The producers of products ranging from food-like items, to cosmetics, to clothing, to supplements and everything in between know that there is a movement toward natural products. And unlike the word organic which has legal requirements behind it, the word natural has no legal meaning.
So I could currently take the most synthetic chemical in existence, package it up and label it natural. And it would be totally legal.
Product makers are using the word natural to try and get you to buy their products and to charge higher prices. Sometimes this is justified, the products are really good and worthwhile, other times it’s a scam.
What this means is that you MUST read labels carefully. Unlike organic which gives you some guarantee that the food is free from pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals, the word natural means nothing. So don’t just grab an item that says natural and take it at face value, you must look deeper. The natural product may be synthetic and toxic.
In Part II, we’ll talk about the natural in natural medicine.
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