I’m an allopathic doctor. That means I prescribe pills.
Along with the rest of the established medical profession, I have “looked down my nose” at those who tout the superiority of plants and herbs. Now I’m not so sure.
Still, I remain skeptical of those with a high profit motive and extremely limited medical knowledge. Discovering that an herb may have an effect on the mouse thyroid does not make it a proven weight-loss drug for humans. If you read the fine print on nutraceutical products, you’ll see that, despite their claims, they are “not intended for any medicinal use.” If you investigate the science behind the claims, you’ll likely find it is scanty indeed.
On the other hand, some of our most useful drugs are derived from the natural world: aspirin, botox, curare, penicillin, digoxin, morphine, to name a few.
I remember as a youthful MD smugly explaining why pharmaceutical drugs are superior. For example, why is digoxin better than foxglove? The pill contains a single, purified, active ingredient in a precise, predictable dosage. But is 0.25 mg of digoxin the equivalent of one foxglove leaf or 10? Plants or stems? We know the safe dose of digoxin, but might a strong cup of foxglove tea kill your grandmother? There are dangers of using herbal products. Just because something is natural does not make it safe, as in poison mushrooms or even pure oxygen.
Yet I believe God has given us the natural world to benefit us (and not primarily Big Pharma). Medical science has greatly expanded our understanding of the microscopic, chemical, biologic, immunologic, and genetic sciences. Perhaps it is time to marry the two together.
Some claim that at TEOTWAWKI we’ll be plunged into medical care of two centuries ago. But if the knowledge base is preserved, even apart from the manufacturing capability, at least we’ll know better how to preserve life, avoid infection, rehydrate patients, and not harm our loved-ones in the process with dangerous therapies now proven to be ineffective.
When I read sites on herbal medicine I despair at the lack of objectivity. Grandma’s remedies may have worked just because she was Grandma. Medical science has a tough time separating this placebo effect from a true effect. And if Granny’s favorite potion worked every time (which is certainly not true of any pharmaceutical product), maybe what people need most is a Granny.
I don’t want this site to be another source of questionable information. I have asked our medical professionals to contribute (see Question of the Week#2), and their opinions run the gamut. Researching the hard science is time-consuming, and there just isn’t much out there to support clinical use. But that doesn’t mean plant-based therapies don’t exist. We just don’t understand them well enough yet.
So my own thinking has undergone a gradual transition and this summer I plan to plant a medicinal herb garden and do some experimenting of my own. As time goes on, I hope to offer additional articles on proven therapies, something you can both trust and use.
- Diabetes and TEOTWAWKI – Part 1 – Herbal Treatments (armageddonmedicine.net)
- Week 2 – Question of the Week: Which herbal medicines do you believe in? (armageddonmedicine.net)