The US is an extremely over-medicated country. Last year, Americans spent nearly $400 billion on prescription drugs—roughly $1,200 per person. The average American spends more money on prescription drugs than in any other developed country in the world. And the scariest part: this trend is increasing.

Why are prescription drug costs so high?

Several years ago, the total spent on prescription drugs was only $300 billion. Now it’s $400 billion. Why is this number increasing so quickly? According to CNBC, the main reason for this rise in drug spend is simple: rising drug prices.

In January, dozens of drug companies raised the list prices of their medications an average of 6.3%, according to Rx Savings Solution. Between 2008 and 2016, prices for oral prescription drugs increased 9% per year, while branded injectable drugs rose 15% annually. Inflation is only 2%.

Aren’t Natural Alternatives better than Prescription Drugs?

Yes. As a whole, natural alternatives are better than prescription drugs. But only the good and natural alternatives. Because many poisonous and unhealthy plants exist in the world.

If natural alternatives are generally better for our bodies, why do so many Americans still rely on pharmaceutical drugs?

This is a controversial topic. Because pharmaceutical drugs have already become ingrained into American society as a result of marketing power and oppression of natural supplements (like CBD and Kratom) via drug and health organizations.

However, the rising cost of prescription drugs is affecting Americans. A 2016 survey found that 14% of insured Americans either skipped a dosage of medicine or didn’t fill a prescription because of the cost. Even worse, uninsured Americans are 3 times more likely to postpone or skip a prescription because of rising costs.

Top 4 Most Prescribed Drugs, and the Natural Alternatives

Drugs can undoubtedly save lives, but prescription drugs mainly mask our symptoms rather than fix the underlying root cause.

There are natural therapies available that are much safer, often more effective, and cost much less. Of course, you should never start, change, or stop taking medications without first talking to your doctor.

  1. Acetaminophen/Hydrocodone (Vicodin)

Key Statistics: Every year, more than 131 million Americans are prescribed pain meds, for everything from sports injuries to dental surgeries.

Natural Remedy: Try massage therapy. Drugs will never solve your pain because pills treat only the symptoms and not the underlying cause. In fact, drugs can cause more long-term damage than short-term good. The ingredients such as acetaminophen may damage your liver in the long term. Rather than relying on a pill that masks your aches, try to tackle the trigger by seeing a professional with a healing touch. Go visit a chiropractor, acupuncturist or massage therapist. Pain can be caused by an interference in our body’s nervous system, so channeling energy from your body’s nervous system to the brain can help remedy aches.

Scientific Evidence: According to the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, people with lower back pain who received 4 chiropractic treatments in 2 weeks showed greater improvement in mobility and pain compared to those receiving general care.

  1. Statins, such as Simvastatin (Zocor) or Atorvastatin (Lipitor)

Key Statistics: Statins reduce the rate in which your liver produces cholesterol by inhibiting a necessary enzyme. More than 45 million prescriptions are filled annually for Lipitor alone.

Natural Remedy: Create a new diet. Certain foods reduce inflammation in your body, lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol naturally. Oats, garlic, olive oil, dark chocolate, and red wine are some good examples. Garlic contains an amino acid called allicin which protects the heart by preventing cholesterol from sticking to artery walls. Red wine is also great for your body. It is packed with “good” cholesterol and thins your blood to prevent blood clots from forming. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, moderate drinking may reduce your risk of heart disease by 40%.

Diet Recommendation: Eat a small chunk of dark chocolate 3 to 4 times a week. This can be 25 times more effective than taking statins for preventing heart disease!

  1. Lisinopril (Zestril) or Amlodipine Besylate (Norvasc

Key Statistics: Annually, pharmacies fill more than 144 million blood pressure prescriptions.

Natural Remedy: Take more natural supplements. Although prescription medication can play an important role in lowering blood pressure, the best approach is to increase your intake of natural supplements (with the help of your doctor), and cut back or quit prescription drugs. Your body will be much better off if you can lower and gain control of your blood pressure naturally. This way, you can avoid prescription medication completely and the long-term side effects that come with it.

Diet Recommendation: Increase your potassium and magnesium intake to lower your blood pressure. For potassium, aim for 500 mg a day. Natural sources of potassium include bananas, tomato juice, and coconut water. For magnesium, aim for 200 mg a day. Natural sources of magnesium include leafy greens, avocado, bananas, and nuts. If your blood pressure is extremely high, you can ask your doctor about Coenzyme Q10, an antioxidant that might help lower your blood pressure by dilating blood vessels.

  1. Levothyroxine Sodium (Synthroid)

Key Statistics: Hypothyroidism is a common condition for elderly patients. Women are particularly susceptible to this condition as 10% of women over 50 will have some form of hypothyroidism. In the US, more than 70 million prescriptions for Synthroid (medication for hypothyroidism) are filled annually.

Natural Remedy: Get a check-up for mineral deficiency. Hypothyroidism can be caused by a malfunction in your immune system, but it can also occur as a result of deficiencies in iodine, iron, or selenium levels. Before trying mineral supplements, speak to your doctor first. Depending on your condition, he may recommend medication or natural thyroid glandular supplements. Thyroid glandular supplements supply minerals that your thyroid needs to function—like iodine.

Recommendation: If you intend on testing natural supplements, work closely with your doctor to monitor your condition. Some supplements contain an excessive amount of iodine—way more than your thyroid needs. If you’re at risk for cardiovascular disease, consuming thyroid supplements could trigger heart complications like palpitations, heart attacks or anginas. Therefore, you should never start or stop taking a medication without your doctor’s approval.