ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES: Are They For You?

LET CAUTION BE YOUR GUIDE:

I have spent years checking out alternative remedies. Some work – some don’t. You can spend a fortune on stuff that does you no good at all. There are many people out there who prey on people with health problems by selling useless products. Those people are the scum of the earth and deserve nothing less than hanging.

You can protect yourself to some degree if you are careful….

FIRST: ALWAYS check with BOTH your doctor AND your pharmacist before trying any alternative remedy and DO NOT stop taking your regular medicine until you do so.

SECOND: You can catch most quack remedies right up front. They very often will make the claim, “Things your doctor doesn’t want you to know” or “Things Big Pharma hates” or some such attack on the Medical Profession or on the pharmaceuticals industry. Real professionals NEVER attack other professionals. It is considered unethical to do that. They simply recommend their own remedy. When you see such statements, move on quickly. It's a scam and like all such scams it is written in such a way as to rope you in. Even an old skeptic like me has been caught. Those scammers are GOOD at what they do!

THIRD: Watch out for silly claims. Something that might help you with arthritis is not likely to also help you with a skin problem or heart disease. And NOTHING can turn back the hands of time. You CANNOT get ‘younger’.

FOURTH: Check references. Often articles (actually ads disguised as medical articles) will attempt to give their claims weight by alluding to research that proves their claims. They will state that Dr.____X_____ has done research at ____XYZ____ research institution (often a university). Google that institution. Check to see if a research doctor by that name does research there. If so then check his published papers to see if he has done research into that particular remedy. You can even e-mail him/her care of the institution and ask him/her about that research; when it was done; is it still valid; does he know of newer research into the same thing, etc., etc.?

I have found that often that researcher is unknown to the institution he supposedly did that research at. Or is at that institution but has never done any research into that particular thing. Heck I even found that one university cited didn’t even exist!!

If no reference to research is made, Google that remedy's name and the name of the company selling it. You'll be amazed at what you come up with!

Having said all that, I will also say that, when I’ve done my homework properly, and checked out something I want to try, and everything lines up properly, I have had good success with SOME alternative remedies.

Views: 122

Comment by lorianne on June 27, 2012 at 7:32pm

i am always curious about alternative treatments & cures but i think it requires a bit of bravery to try them...  and research as you suggest. i like treatments that are natural when possible, but they often take longer and require a bit of patience.

Comment by Skypixiezero on June 27, 2012 at 9:15pm

Yes!

Keep in mind, however, that the term "natural" is much overused and very much improperly used. So much so that these days it has little real meaning. If you're like most of us, you probably take an aspirin now and then. Aspirin is composed of acetylsalicylic acid. It is chemically identical to that found in willow trees. Unlike that found in plants & trees, the manufactured one is pure. That found in the inner bark of willow trees is mixed with many other things, including arsenic in trace amounts. Arsenic is a metal (metalloid) and metals tend to stay in your body and build up. People have been known to die from arsenic poisoning who have use "willow tea" as a pain remedy for a long time. So "natural" ain't always too great.

.

Comment by Christopher S. Dunn on June 28, 2012 at 5:42am

I was going to mention that a lot of folks who are on the "respectable" side of medicine, however, do in fact, tend to treat nearly everything that doesn't come from Big Pharma as quackery without so much as a glance at whatever it might be.  This leads to a sort of "two-edged sword" effect where it's hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.  Natural, homeopathic and organic "remedies" are treated with the same general amount of contempt from the Medical Profession as does anything that basically equates to snake-oil salesmen pitching their "tonic" waters.

Right you are to point out how to do some due diligence.  There are plenty of fakirs, fugazis and frauds out there who will take advantage of the general ignorance of people when it comes to medical and remedial care and treatments.  That said, it should also be remembered that it took over 40 years of legal wrangling and studies to "prove" that Chiropractic Care was a valid form of medical and reparative treatment.

So it's a tough road to travel.  I would add that anything that is supposed to be taken internally be suspect, no matter what it is, even from your medical professional.  Our society has elevated the medical profession to the status of minor deities, to be trusted implicitly without question.  We should be aware that not only are there actual quacks with no medical backgrounds, there are plenty of medically trained nincompoops out there who can do as much, if not more, harm to you simply out of ignorance or willful neglect of their duties as doctors.

First do no harm.  This is the first rule of physician care and it comes directly from the Hippocratic Oath.  I am also reminded that, as I mention doctors have a near deific status, that the adage, "Physician, heal thyself," is practical advice -- not to be your own doctor, necessarily -- in order for you to take back your power to determine what is working for you and what is not.  Don't let a quack trick you, and don't give up all your power to decide your fate to a doctor, just because they have that training you lack.

Great stuff, Sky.

Comment by Skypixiezero on June 28, 2012 at 8:13am

Christopher,

Right on every point!

There seems to be two basic kinds of patient; the kind who spell "Doctor" as G. O.  D.  and who turn over the pink slip on themselves to their physician, along with all responsibility; and the kind who appreciate the high level of knowledge and expertise attained by most doctors, and who value very highly any and all advice proffered by their physician, but who retain the right to the final "say so" on their health and consider their doctor's advice a valuable resource but not "The Word of The Almighty."

Needless to say most - but not all - doctors much prefer the first kind of patient. They are the easiest patients to work with since they will patiently and uncomplainingly wait hours in a waiting room full of sick people - some with communicable diseases - without ever insisting that the doctor instruct his receptionist in the fine art of appointment booking so as to avoid needlessly filling up a waiting room.

I'd suggest that such "waiting room packing" serves no purpose other than to feed the ego of a doctor who needs to think of himself as a minor deity. It certainly is not conducive to the good health of his patients since it exposes them to the diseases that others in that waiting room may have. I understand that research has been done into how many people contract communicable diseases while in doctor's waiting rooms and the results would make you shit a brick!

Such patients will also try to obey any and all instructions given to them by their doctor, even when contradictory or confusing. The second type of patient will ask questions so as to be sure that s/he clearly understands those instructions. Many doctors see this as "wasting their valuable time." Since they get paid on a 'per patient' basis, they try to see as many patients per day as possible, so as to enhance their income and patients who ask questions slow down this process.

I would advise the second kind of patient to be determined in their demands for full disclosure from their doctor. It is almost impossible to be a "responsible" patient without obtaining as much information about their condition, and the doctor's proposed treatment, as they can. 

People often overlook a valuable and very important resource that can provide them with much good information about the medicines prescribed for them. This is their pharmacist. Doctors simply do not have the time to keep up with every little bit of new information on the research into new pharmaceuticals. Pharmacists are a lot more likely to be on top of their game in this regard than doctors are. I make it a point to ask my pharmacist about any drug prescribed by my doctor. One of my questions is, "do you know of any new drug that treats this ailment that has fewer side-effects or other problems." It is amazing how often the pharmacist does indeed know of such new remedies!. When confronted with this situation, I do not hesitate to ask my pharmacist to call my doctor, speak to him about my prescription and advise him of the newer medicine. In a number of cases my doctor is well aware of that new medicine and has chosen to go with an older one for various valid reasons. BUT.... in a number of cases my doctor WASN'T aware of the newer medicine and he has changed my prescription accordingly. 

Doing this can help you weed out slack or careless doctors too. This is important to you and your good health. Remember, in the final analysis, YOU are the sole owner of you. It is up to you to take full responsibility for your own wellbeing. Doctors and pharmacists are great resources, but YOU have got to make the final decisions about yourself.

.

Comment by Xenonlit on June 29, 2012 at 9:47am

I have a condition that requires checking everything that I ingest. But it is amazing how mindlessly pushy some "alternative" medicine folk can be! 

I tell them that I can't just swallow everything and they keep pushing their latest find as if I haven't said anything. There is something wrong with that.

The best person to ask is the pharmacist. They are fully aware of the qualities of alternative and traditional medicines and can get the answers we need.

Comment by Poor Woman on October 26, 2012 at 4:15pm

Not every pharmacist has enough qualifications in the area of herbal remedies. ANd sometimes what is in one can interact dangerously with any meds we might take. It pays to read every label and to do research prior to taking anything, as SKy cautions us to do here. Even so, some of us (myself included) have serious allergic reactions to most prescription meds and therefore have no alternative but to go with alternative formulas. I'd proceed with caution, tho'.

Comment by Skypixiezero on October 26, 2012 at 4:57pm

Poor Woman,

Thanks for your comment.

I'm sorry but I'll go with Zuma on this one. The pharmacist is the best source of info. Those people who think that a pharmacist hasn't the qualifications in the area  of herbal remedies, ought to see how ignorant of pharmaceuticals an herbalist is!

Too often have I heard someone say that doctors and/or pharmacists lack knowledge of herbal remedies. I have learned that this can, with a high degree of accuracy, be translated as, "The doctor/pharmacist doesn't believe what I believe about an herbal remedy."

Guard yourself against the BS that too many herbalists like to spread about the medical/pharmaceutical professions. And RUN - don't walk - away from anyone who says, "big pharma is just out to sell you anything as long as they can make a buck on doing so.  "They like to imply that the manufacturers of herbal remedies and not "in it" for the money.

Anyone over 3 years old should understand that the manufacturers of herbal remedies are most definitely in it for the money. Some of those companies are HUGE!  They are, in a great many cases, companies that are owned by big pharmaceutical companies!  There are big pharma companies that are owned by herbal remedy companies too. So don't get sucked in by the old "good guy - bad guy" nonsense. Nobody who sells pharmaceuticals or herbal remedies is in it for love of mankind - Nobody! There is nothing unethical about making a buck, provided it is not done in an unethical way. 

Comment by Poor Woman on October 26, 2012 at 5:05pm

I could not agree more. Let me clarify. I am saying that not EVERY pharmacist knows enough about herbal treatment. So this is not a black and white issue.

Comment by Skypixiezero on October 26, 2012 at 5:23pm

Perhaps not EVERY pharmacist does know "enough" (whatever you consider to be ''enough'') about herbal remedies. Yet I'd bet that pharmacists, as part of their formal training, study much more about herbal remedies than anyone who sells herbals has ever spent studying the very herbals they sell. The info the pharmacist has comes from solid, careful, peer reviewed, research done in big private labs and in University labs. The info the herbalist has is usually about 10% borrowed from legitimate research and 90% anecdotal. I, for one, am not impressed by anecdotal evidence unless I get the same results when I use something.   


Comment by tr ig on October 26, 2012 at 6:32pm

This cool vegan/healthnut/carpenter that helped this last week was telling me about a tea-remedy from the Ojibway, of Canada I think, that was "discovered" by some nurse in the 20's. She would give it (kind of behind the back of the docs) to terminal patients-- the ones that were left by the Docs to die, and saw quite a few, apparently, recover. Called something like Essiac. I'm totally into, in theory at least, using 'alt' remedies and medicines, but of course... not on faith alone.

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