That is actually a very good question, Gary.
There is a very wide range of remedies, therapies and products thay you could lump into the "alternative" category. Many of them, especially the tried and true herbal remedies that date back hundreds and even thousands of years, can be quite effective. On the other hand there is no lack of bogus products promoted by unscrupulous people who seek to profit by lying and, worse still, preying on the fears of the sick and dying. I think there should be a special place in Hell reserved for such people and I personally have assisted the FDA and various government agencies in shutting down such scams - in one instance at the risk to my life when hired thugs were sent to silence me, death threats were posted on the internet, and I was falsely accused by those I exposed as being a child pornographer and drug dealer who sold to school kids. Lovely bunch those guys were - and I am proud to have cost them millions of dollars by exposing them.
About 20 years or so ago, I became a bit concerned about my prospects for longevity when I realized that I was not going to be young and immortal forever after all. I began searching for ways to clean up my act and restore some of the years that poor dietary habits and lifestyle had likely taken away - and hopefully maybe even add a few years in the process. It has been an eye-opening journey.
When I first began my journey, I was pretty mainstream. While I thought that home remedies, native remedies and herbs and such might have some benefits,but were at best less effective than real medicine and at worst dangerous. I thought that real medicine only came in brown bottles with an Rx on them and that only mainstream doctors knew how to treat and heal illness. And thus I began as quite the skeptic and accepted nothing based on hearsay or hype. But I kept an open mind, and because I did, I discovered that much of what I had been led to believe was quite the opposite of the truth.
To say that my journey has been an eye-opener is an understatement. I discovered that herbal and natural healing could be very effective and that there was a very good reason why the majority of the people of the world continued to use such healing. I also discovered the mainstream deception that has suppressed and persecuted alternatives for the sake of profit, and it dismayed me greatly.
Even though I have become disappointed and disillusioned with mainstream medicine, I still recognize its importance - especially in emergency care, trauma and diagnostics. And I remain a skeptic about any claim for alternatives that I cannot verify to my own satisfaction. I don't accept something as valid simply because it is natural, but neither do I automatically reject it as I once might have.
If people would take the time to look at the body of my answers here instead of focusing only on areas of disagreement, they would find that I try very hard to give well thought out and detailed answers in the spirit of the questions asked and the theme of this section. At times, I recommend seeing a doctor or seeking professional mainstream help. I also regularly point out scams and duly report the spammers who post messages about them. In addition, I warn about the evils of drugs and bemoan all the drug users who frequent this section.
There is a place for mainstream medicine and there is a place for nature. Finding an unbiased middle ground is not easy. I think the key is to keep an open mind and to do your homework.
All the best!