Treat the cause of your condition, not just the symptoms of it. Seems like a logical concept doesn't it. If you identify and treat the cause of your condition, the symptoms of it should go away. Unfortunately, conventional medicine (and often natural medicine) doesn't usually take this approach with treatment and management of long term chronic health issues.
If you have a headache every day. You go to your physician and they will check you out, make sure you haven't had anything serious happen like a stroke or something worse. You will often walk away with pain medication of some sort. If you are lucky and the pain medication helps, what happens if you stop taking the pain medication? The headache will likely return, because you didn't identify and remove the cause of the headache. You simply suppressed the symptom.
If you have chronic reflux and heartburn, your physician may investigate for more serous issues such as ulcers and do endoscopes and further testing. If this all comes back "normal" then you are likely to be given an antacid medication or treatment of some sort. If you are lucky and this medication alleviates your symptom, what happens if you stop taking the medication? The reflux will return, because you didn't identify and treat what CAUSED the reflux in the first place.
You can see the pattern here. Very often, conventional medicine takes a "symptomatic management" approach with treating these and many more conditions. Depression medications, sleeping medications, cholesterol medications, blood pressure medications, all are targeting the symptoms of a larger condition without addressing that condition. In many cases this type of intervention is necessary and beneficial. Some of these issues can be serious and life threatening and need acute intervention with some of these medications. But in many cases the conditions aren't that severe and these interventions are unnecessary for long term management of the condition.
Many in the Alternative Medicine world will take issue with what I'm about to write. Complementary and alternative medicine is often just as guilty of this symptomatic management approach to dealing with our health concerns. If you are on hypertension medications and want to pursue a more natural approach to your condition, you might visit a local health food store and be recommended the herbal medicine Hawthorn to take for treating your hypertension. So instead of taking a synthetic medication to manage your hypertension, now you will be taking a natural product to manage the hypertension. Regardless of which "product" you use, you are still just targeting the SYMPTOM of the condition rather than identifying and treating the CAUSE of the condition.Hypertension is not caused by a natural deficiency of blood pressure medications. Nor is it caused by a natural deficiency of the herb Hawthorn in our diets.
Many other examples of this "natural medicine" approach exist. People taking antidepressants will often try and switch over to the herbal medicine St. John's Wart to help them with their issue. People with sleeping issues will often try herbal medicines such as Valerian root as a sleeping aid. People with reflux and heartburn will often try herbal medicines such as Licorice root and marshmallow to manage their symptoms. These can be extremely effective natural medicines for managing these kind of symptoms, but you need to remember and keep in mind that they are also targeting the SYMPTOM of the condition and not necessarily the CONDITION causing the symptom. The problem with this approach is the same as for the conventional medical approach. If effective, these natural products will only be effective as long as you take them, and if you stop the symptom will likely return. Also as we age, the effectiveness of both the pharmaceutical approaches and the natural approaches because to lessen.
The point here is even though you may be using a "natural product", you still may be just treating the SYMPTOM and not the CAUSE of the symptom.
Many of these conditions can be caused by deficiencies of certain natural products. Mild depression can be caused and aggravated by simple B Vitamin deficiencies so in some cases, you can actually treat the cause with natural medicines. But before you can do this you have to understand the cause of the symptom. Depression can also be caused by many other things aside from B Vitamin deficiency. Hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, reactive hypoglycemia, substance abuse, caffeine use, medication side effects, psychological and environmental factors, food allergies and inflammation ALL can cause mild depression. You can see that a generic B Vitamin recommendation at the health food store might not be effective if the symptom (depression) is caused by one (or several) of these other conditions. Before you can effectively treat a condition and symptoms associated with it, you have to figure out all the contributing factors to the condition and symptom.
Conventional medicine (and often Natural medicine) approach many health issues by asking the question "What can I give for this condition/symptom..." If it's an acute, life threatening condition then this is obviously an appropriate question to ask. For less acute conditions and symptoms, I suggest that a more appropriate question to ask is "What is causing this condition/symptom..." and then try and figure out how to correct this.