• And when comfort is what we want, one of the most powerful tonics alternative medicine offers is the word 'natural.' This word implies a medicine untroubled by human limitations, contrived wholly by nature or God or perhaps intelligent design. What 'natural' has come to mean to us in the context of medicine is 'pure' and 'safe' and 'benign'. But the use of 'natural' as a synonym for 'good' is almost certainly a product of our profound alienation from the natural world.