There is a context to everything.
I don't believe there is such a thing as a "Natural" remedy - or a Synthetic remedy, for that matter. A chemical compound, or complement thereof,
will interact with the body according to the laws that govern chemical reactions. To look at it any other way is a fool's game.
Placebo effects are difficult to study and compensate for. Studies have shown the Placebo Effect has actually been getting -stronger- in
industrialized nations. This is likely due to an increased confidence in the capabilities of medical treatment. The Placebo Effect is still a
relative area of mystery - and most medical practitioners will tell you that the will to overcome health issues is more important than the form of
Studies have also indicated that surgery is little more effective than lifestyle changes (although meta-analysis of the relative success of lifestyle
changes compounded on top of surgery are not provided). Bypass surgeries are, statistically, little different from lifestyle therapy and adjustments
(life-span after heart-attacks or other medical problems average roughly the same).
There are multiple factors to consider - but we live in a microwave society. We want it yesterday. This mentality is the basis for most of the
issues our generation faces (the housing crisis, credit problems, health issues, learning disabilities, etc). It's no different in medicine. We
want to go to the doctor and get a pill or procedure that will fix the problem so we can go on like nothing happened.
It's not a healthy concept of reality. Our bodies are not like cars. You can't just stuff food in them and drop by for an oil change on occasion
(and put them in the shop when something critical fails).
That said - there's the opposite end of the spectrum; where people believe they can simply will their way out of anything. They adorn their body
with magnets, ingest various metals, etc in the hope of defeating or staving off illness, pain, etc.
There's a very interesting case, in those. Studies have shown these methods to be little better than placebos, if not worse. However, a number of
people believe it does, and doing it puts them at ease and/or reduces pain.
It may or may not have any clinical backing for it being an effective treatment... but why destroy someone's quite effective placebo mechanism?
Good doctors will prescribe hypochondriacs a placebo, or, in some cases, prescribe placebos for minor issues involving irritation. The precedent
exists for utilizing the placebo effect as a treatment.
That said; I think the best course of action is to simply sway things back the other direction.
Two comprehensive analyses of antidepressant trials have uncovered a dramatic increase in placebo response since the 1980s. One estimated that the
so-called effect size (a measure of statistical significance) in placebo groups had nearly doubled over that time.
Note, this is mostly discussing cases of depression - a largely psychological issue to begin with; an arena placebos have always fared very well
But the large way to address this is to swing things back in the other direction. Rather than a prescription serving as the placebo - make exercise
and proper eating the placebo (arguably, this could be some kind of ulterior motive behind the organic food label).
Though that will be a difficult stigma to change.