We all like to think we’re environmentalists, right? We want to help the planet, improve the situation, not worsen it, right? Trying to do our parts by driving less, getting hybrid cars, recycling, bringing our own bags to the market – yay for us! But, did you ever think about the effects your medicine cabinet may be having on our precious resource, Mother Earth? I know I hadn’t much until recently, and I’ve been blown away by what I’ve learned.

How many of us fancy ourselves environmentalists while we pop ibuprofen, antibiotics, cold medicines, cholesterol meds or HRTs like their candy?

According to the Mayo Clinic, 7 out of 10 Americans use prescription drugs, and that’s just the stuff behind the counter, not over the counter. I’m gonna guess including over the counter meds, that number soars to at least 9 out of 10, if not 10 out of 10! Stop and think about that for a moment, EVERYONE is taking some sort of drug made by Big Pharma.

Now, where are all these drugs coming from? Clean, pristine, environmentally conscious corporations doing the right thing (insert sarcastic face emoji)? Nope! They come from mostly nasty corporations having third world countries do their dirty work. Did you know most of our pharmaceutical drugs are produced elsewhere, where the regulations to get their pollution and serious waste habits on are practically non-existent? Yup, no big surprise there.

But, the impacts of drugs on our environment aren’t limited to production waste in third world countries (we can shove under the rug, because India is so far away, isn’t it?).

What about the stuff we’re gobbling down for every headache, cold, menstrual cramp, or heartburn symptom? That stuff goes right through us and into the environment right at your house and into our streams. We’re the ones polluting the environment and excreting toxic chemicals into our soil and water.

Think antibiotics kill all the good and bad bacteria in your body? Well, that’s only where their path of mass destruction starts. What happens when they hit the stream after not being killed off in the waste treatment plant or hit the soil when they leech out of your septic system? You guessed it, same thing. They’re killing gifts that keep on giving. Or the estrogen that’s staving off hot flashes? What happens when some animal ingests it down the line? Well, male fish testes filled with eggs is a hint. And, you can only imagine what radioactive chemo drugs do…

The deal is this stuff doesn’t break down in our bodies.

These are chemicals that keep on going, some even getting stronger in their effects over time. Many of these chemicals will last indefinitely in the environment. I’m not saying don’t take the life-saving drugs that you need, but just be mindful of the impact your choices are having on the environment. Perhaps it’s worth looking at your lifestyle or unresolved issues before you head down taking a drug to mask the symptom. That’s what most pharmaceuticals do, they only address the symptoms and don’t touch the real issue at all.

If you’re interested in learning more about this, a great resource is Stephen Harrod Buhner’s The Lost Language of Plants: The Ecological Importance of Plant Medicine to Life on Earth. I personally learned a ton I never knew or had even considered. Let’s just say I love what I do with holistic healthcare and essential oils even more now, and I’m on a serious mission to not use any drugs anymore for anything unless my life depends upon it. Always consult your doctor if you’re wanting to get off any drugs you currently take and consult a holistic health practitioner for support around lifestyle changes you can make and alternatives.