Mark Doherty <mdoherty at pop.niaid.nih.gov> wrote:
>Fair enough, but personally I'm not going to waste time, effort or money on
>diet cures for a link to cancer for which no real evidence exists. And
>yes, I know some parasites *are* linked to some rare forms of cancer, but
>as far as I know, I don't have those or any other parasites - nor does
>anyone else of my acquaintance. Finally, there are specific and very
>effective cures for many parasitic infections. If I *did* have one, that's
>what I'd use - not some herbal potion of dubious relevance.
I think I would just like to insert a small but, imo, important caveat here.
My best friend, now in nursing school, is also an herbalist - has been for
some time now. I've been working in the sciences for about 10 years - as
a research technician and now as a graduate student. She and I have had
some long talks about the use of herbal remedies. When you think of it,
many of our drugs today have their basis in herbs and other plants and
animals - antibiotics are a good example. HOWEVER, this doesn't mean that
I, or my friend, advocate indescriminate use of herbal preparations in place
of medicine. Herbal preparations should be treated the same as any other
medication - the person taking them should be educated as to their use,
overdose and side-effects (yes, you can overdose and suffer side-effects from
numerous herbs, vitamins and minerals - some overdoses can even lead to
My friend tries to be an informed herbalist and she certainly would not
try to convince someone to take an herbal remedy when they would be better
off talking to their doctor. She does, however, look at diet and herbal
preparations as a way of helping to strengthen the body. When you think
about this it makes sense. If you are a cancer patient undergoing chemo-
or radiation therapy it is very important to make sure you are also eating
right. A poor diet can complicate any sort of treatment a person is getting.
My friend does a lot of work with women going through menopause. There
seems to be a lot of evidence suggesting that a change in diet and an
increase in certain vitamins and minerals can help some of the more
Regarding parasites - it seems to me that diet can certainly be a factor
in how well a body can support all these excess hungry critters.
BTW, knowing my friend, she would probably look at most if not all of these
"magic" herbal remedies with the same suspicious eye as the rest of us. She
would probably recommend a person talk to their doctor first and she would
insist on the person being closely monitored by someone who knows what to
look for should they have a bad reaction to the preparation.
I guess I just wanted to put my two cents in to say that not all herbalists
are scams - there are quite a few who are responsible and well-informed.
Same with alternative medicines - there are some out there who really don't
know what they are doing but there are some who are methodical and scientific
in their studies. Come to think of it, if you could go back in time and
tell some of the doctors 100 years ago what we are doing they would probably
laugh in our faces and tell us we were crazy. Of course, back in the early
1900s many respectable doctors felt that if a woman got depressed after
having a child they should remove her ovaries. Sounds pretty grim nowadays
(especially the mortality rate for those operations) but at the time...
Joan Shields jshields at uci.eduhttp://www.ags.uci.edu/~jshields
University of California - Irvine
School of Social Ecology Department of Environmental Analysis and Design
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