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Traditional use medicines and therapies - what are your thoughts?


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Having lived in China, we did take TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) along with western medicines for most common ailments. Such was prescribed by a local physican/medical doctor.

Questioning this doctor, we were told that it is beleived the TCM can reduce symptoms and also potentially the duration of an illness (reportedly by assisting in the recovery of the immune system), but would not prevent one from getting the illness.

While we were a little skeptical, we took both the TCM along with pharmaceutical medicines. We thought, as it has been used in China for many generations and Chinese society still exists, it can’t be bad for us, especially when prescribed by a qualified medical doctor.

The TCM had no side effects, other than tasting terrible, and we will never know if it assisted with the recover of our illnesses as we also took pharmaceutical medicines which were proven to have sympton reducing effects and also treat the ailment.

I am still possibly a little skeptical about some TCMs, but there is some evidence that TCMs reduce severity of ailments/assist in reducing duration of symptoms. There is also evidence that TCM do have some measured benefits for some specific ailments.

I also understand that the Chinese are carrying out ongoing clinical trials of many of the popular TCMs to determine their effacy. I suppose time will tell whether these TCMs are complementary to pharmaceutical medicines and their use is supported based on science.


Allopathic Medicine, that’s a synthetic (artificial) drug, is often judged as “working” when 60% or more of people in trials have their symptoms improve. This is called “evidence based” science. For the remaining 40%, they have to then “get their meds right” with some other drug. They may also be suffering from the side-effects of the original drug, which has essentially increased their toxic load and probably weakened their immune system.

This toxic load is rarely counted in the effectiveness of synthetic drugs, nor how it impacts on the overall health of someone, not just the particular ailment that the drug is trying to alleviate the symptoms of.

I am merely trying to point out the short-comings of evidence-based science, which only asks one question but leaves gaping holes in the concepts of addressing wellness, immunity or healthiness.

I had a dear old cat who suddenly started suffering from hyperthyroidism. Her whole body was convulsing & ejecting fluid from both ends. The hyperthyroid drugs were administered, to no effect. The was down to 2.25kg in weight and was sure to die. A friend said there was a naturopathic Vet in a nearby town so I took her there & was given homeopathic drops. Only then did the cat stop convulsing and finally kept some food down. She died about two years later at the age of 18, in her sleep. I promise I didn’t brainwash the cat to believe in homeopathy, she came to her own conclusion about that.

So, is this instance of homeopathy “evidence-based” or snake oil?


It’s snake oil. Or more accurately anecdotal.

Your first three paragraphs are full of claims without evidence. Combined they are tantamount to claiming that side effects are not considered by establishment doctors when thinking of possible treatment. That is demonstrably wrong.

You also make the error of conflating evidence based science with taking a simplistic view of the world. Another fallacy.

In your last para you tell us a heart warming story. But that is all it is. The fate of your moggy is quite irrelevant to the nature of modern human medicine both conceptually and statistically.


This is actually a ‘modern’ phenomenon. When Mao Tse-Tung and the communists took over the rule of mainland China, they realised that they were short on properly trained doctors (presumably these either left or were purged). Mao decided that to resolve this shortage he would encourage the ‘traditional’ practices that had actually fallen by the wayside.

This term, considered an insult by believers in woo, refers to evidence-based medicine.

As opposed to ‘natural’ stuff? A large number of modern medicines have been developed from the natural world! How it’s made bears little relationship to its efficacy (except that if you have a proper manufacturing process you can get the dose right).

So you’re saying a drug that works for 60% of people should be abandoned in favour of treatments that have not been shown to work on anyone? Medicine is complicated, because the human body is complicated - and we are not all the same. I would be happy with a medication that is shown to work only on males, for instance. In that case, it would be efficacious for only 50% (actually, more like 49% unless you live in China) of the population - but we would know which 50%.

In reality, modern medicine is still often a case of trial and error - let’s see if this medication works in this individual, and if it doesn’t we’ll try the next alternative. Until we have individualised medicine, we are stuck with this process - which still works better than leeches, or dilute of water, or sticking pins into people based upon ideas that people had a couple of thousand years ago when they didn’t know anything about how the body worked (except that it was attuned to the stars and the alignment of the planets)!

Questions: what is a ‘toxic load’? How is it defined? How do you measure it? Who discovered it? How can one increase or decrease one’s ‘toxic load’? Where is a peer-reviewed paper that describes its working?

At least you admit that it is evidence-based - as opposed to the alternatives. No, evidence-based medicine is not perfect… but it is far better than any alternative that has been suggested.

Sorry to hear about your cat. In a counter story, one of my dogs once developed Cushing’s Disease. It was terrible - he just had no energy, and simply lay on the floor. Fortunately, the vet was able to diagnose what it was (based on science) and prescribe medication. He was also able to provide the medication that got Vana back on his feet and living a normal life for several more years.

I would never consider giving my pets diluted water that allegedly has a ‘memory’ of something to assist if they are sick. Homeopathy is quackery - pure and simple. I suggest that in your cat’s case either:

  1. The medication kicked in; or
  2. She had a remission of some sort. It is known of.
  3. Another possibility is that hyperthyroidism was a misdiagnosis - something that appears to be fairly common. Maybe you should have a look at this article, or perhaps read this.

Any of these options makes more sense than your cat being ‘cured’ by homeoquackery, and the improvement of symptoms could well have occurred at around the same time as you gave your cat the ‘magic water’*. Correlation, of course, is not causation - whatever you may think. Just as importantly, your single anecdote contains zero data points or evidence.

*This kind of correlation is used by anti-vaxxers claiming that vaccines cause autism because the vaccines and symptoms arrive at around the same time. They ignore all evidence to the contrary.


Wow - anyone would think you actually want solid proof :wink: good summary !


I don’t appreciate your condescending tone, postulative, which is also quite insulting.
I think to be truly scientific you need to have an open mind, so please remove yourself from your high horse. You’ve done quite a bit of conflating of your own. Nowhere have I suggested not to try drugs with a 60% success rate. I have simply stated there are alternatives with better outcomes for the 40%.

Your apparent confusion about what is a toxic load is ingenuous. If you’re sick then your immunity (your own body’s ability to counter toxins) is usually compromised. So to then take a synthetic drug, with the “active ingredient” isolated and copied from nature (but separated from it’s natural state in nature, which is often found with other naturally occurring ingredients in synthesis), may inhibit one’s own healing ability. A great example is tea-tree oil. It is very toxic, but if harvested at the right time so that the other properties are in the correct ratios, it can complement healing. I think your comment “How it’s made bears little relationship to its efficacy” shows your ignorance in this regard. To the contrary, how it’s made is crucial if you are concerned in an wholistic sense to healing a complex human being, as opposed to just ticking a box in a Lab experiment.
Sure, the scientific method can ask a specific question to get a specific answer, but what science hasn’t yet learnt will never lead it to ask a question outside of its knowledge. This is why “evidence-based, synthetic medicine” is limited. Besides, only Big Pharma has the research resources to ask these specific questions because they will make the money back from selling the new drugs. They’re not motivated to heal people but they are highly motivated to counter symptoms with new drugs. They, and you, postulative, are trying to downplay the effects of toxic loads on individuals, as if it’s of no significance. In fact, Big Pharma has many other drugs to treat those toxic load symptoms of yours! Kaching! Another sale!
Think of the cancer industry in USA, where, if your child is diagnosed with cancer and you don’t do what’s prescribed (ray treatment &/or chemotherapy), you will be charged with child neglect unless you deliver your sick child to their clutches. Only when your child’s treatment is exhausted and you’re told by the industry “there’s nothing more we can do”, are you allowed to take your child home for “alternative” treatments. But by then your child is at death’s door from the TOXIC LOAD and has a very slim chance of recovery, even with the best of alternative treatment. (And then you’ll be told by the powers that be, when your child dies a horrible death, “See, we told you, natural therapies are useless!”)

I believe 100% of GP’s and Vets are trying to achieve the best results for their patients’ health. I just don’t believe Big Pharma has the same scruples.

Your fervent, fanatical, brain-washed belief that only evidence-based (allopathic/synthetic) medicine can possibly heal has led you to believe my cat’s hyperthyroidism was probably a misdiagnosis. Well, you are wrong.
For the record, both Vets gave Puddy numerous blood tests over the time & follow-up tests in case her kidneys were giving a false result. The first Vet wrote the prescription for the drug, which incidentally is the same drug given to humans with hyperthyroidism. The LEVEL of the dosage is the critical factor for the drug to work (if it’s going to work), which was administered twice daily at first, then daily.

So for you to then conclude that her recovery was due to “the drug kicking in” later, not the homeopathic drops working, is a complete misnomer. The drug is only supposed to work if taken daily, same as the homeopathic drops.

Your second guess, that she went into remission, is just clutching at straws! She was on death’s door, lying on the ground, ejecting everything inside her from both ends, a horrible liquid mucous in both cases. She couldn’t even keep any water down. Her lowest weight went down to 2.15kg. She was dehydrating fast and I believe, dying, until she got the homeopathic drops into her. I understand it’s hard for you to hear this truth. I don’t know how the homeopathic drops worked, all I know is they DID work.

I hope science will eventually learn how to think outside the square and have the ability to measure the complexities of nature. It will only happen when research is driven by the resolution to address humanitarian goals, not driven by profits by private companies.

One more thing, if health departments around the world really want to increase the up-take of vaccinations, they should start by eliminating the unnecessary TOXIC LOADS most of them contain, like heavy metals and other carcinogenic toxins. I think a large majority of anti-vaxxers are most concerned about this, not the idea of protecting their children from preventable diseases, which anti-anti-vaxxers often conflate with child neglect.

  1. I’m sorry that you find my tone insulting; I was simply looking at what you had written, and going where the evidence (or lack) took me. It is true that I tend to be blunt in my opinions, and I often need to be reminded to tone things down. Having reviewed my previous comment, I cannot see where I have erred - feel free to point out which parts you found insulting or condescending, though.
  2. I have no problem with an open mind. My problem is with assumptions without evidence.
  3. I’m terribly sorry if I misread what you meant about drugs with a 60% success rate, but if doctors knew who the 40% were before-hand they would try science-based alternatives. What alternatives are you suggesting for that 40% (once they are discovered)?

Let me repeat: What is a ‘toxic load’? How is it defined? How do you measure it? Who discovered it? How can one increase or decrease one’s ‘toxic load’? Where is a peer-reviewed paper that describes its working?

I will ignore your spelling, but again you are making a claim without evidence. Show me the evidence, so I have some actual context rather than simply being asked to believe what someone wrote on the Internet.

Can you please explain what you mean by this statement? It sounds like the kind of double-speak employed by people like Deepak Chopra - who knows all the words, but hasn’t a clue what they mean and so simply throws them into a blender to see what comes out.

Oh no… once again the rabbit hole leads to Big Pharma. No, pharmaceutical companies do not (generally) work for the good of humanity but for their shareholders. No, this does not mean that they have discovered the secrets to curing all disease but are withholding it - competitive pressure alone prevents that.

Yes, pharmaceutical companies are motivated to create new medications - but claiming they simply counter symptoms ignores the evidence. Have you had polio lately, or chicken pox? Maybe smallpox? Wait - that was eradicated. How? Medicine - produced synthetically. How many people have been dying of AIDS lately? You might see these examples as minor irrelevancies to ‘an holistic view’ - but the reality is that either medicine works or it’s called ‘alternative’.

Again, you mention this ‘toxic load’ - and again leave me baffled.

HOW DARE YOU! You are defending parents whose neglect has led to the progression of cancer beyond any hope of treatment, and denigrating the people who do their best to save children’s lives against the efforts of their parents to trust in ‘alternative’ medicine.

Cancer is not easily treated, and not all cancer is curable - especially when it is not acted upon quickly. My father and my father-in-law both died of cancer. My nephew had a rare form of it when he was six or seven, but received the necessary treatment and is now a healthy adult.

Cancer has not been ‘solved’ by the medical and research communities, but that is not through lack of trying. There is no one ‘cancer’ - there are hundreds of types of it! Even then, millions of lives have been saved by getting the proper medical treatment in a timely manner - how many cancer survivors do you know (or even know of via reputable sources) who have relied upon ‘alternative’ therapies?

You are defending parents whose children have died through their criminal neglect, and then blaming their deaths on this ‘toxic load’ for which you have provided zero evidence!

Sorry? I thought I was the ‘insulting, condescending’ one.

No, I do not know your cat’s circumstances. I was not there, I did no tests, I diagnosed no condition and prescribed no medication. I did suggest some possible, realistic alternatives to magic water, but that is all.

No, you don’t even know that. You are simply assuming that correlation is causation.

Ever been in a car? Do you have air conditioning or heating in your home? Paint on the walls? Anything other than wooden or dirt floors? Science thinks well outside whatever square you are thinking about, and without it you would not be able to send messages on an Internet! Maybe you should try listening to one or two science podcasts that discuss things other than profit - such as The Infinite Monkey Cage, or Crowd Science, or even the Ri Science Podcast. At the moment you seem to have an incredibly distorted view of what science is and does in the world.

What heavy metals are contained in vaccines? What carcinogens? Again, you have put forward a claim without any evidence.

And still you go with ‘toxic loads’! Please, I want to know more about these. Can you link some basic evidence in support of your claims? Because at the moment you’re just spouting buzzwords.


Spontaneous remission of cancer and other serious diseases is a well known phenomenon. Sometimes the problem just goes away, nobody knows why. Omniscience is something usually ascribed to scientists and doctors by others not something they claim for themselves.

Single events are just anecdotes not medical evidence. We can reasonably infer that treatments work (or don’t work) because of detailed studies of many cases not just one. Your example tells us nothing about the efficacy of homeopathy or of anything else that might have been administered. You asked is it snake oil, I call it insufficient data to form a conclusion.

‘Toxic loads’ doesn’t mean much to me. Please tell me one or two of the substances in vaccines that bother you the most, name them specifically. What harm do they cause? Why are they unnecessary?


3 posts were merged into an existing topic: Getting a flu shot will make me sick?

Getting a flu shot will make me sick?

So I bought what I thought was a simple vitamin supplement for a specific area of health. I should’ve read the bottles more carefully but I was a little unwell so I just went for the one that was more pills/dollar. And I got what I deserved.

Turns out I’ve bought a bottle of ‘traditional herbs’ rather than just a straight vitamin booster. And it recommends taking as many as SIXTEEN pills per day for it to work.

So am I better off taking that dose and emptying the bottle in a week, or taking half? Or does it really not matter since I’ve already parted with my money?