Alternative Medicine: Right Here, Right Now
Excerpted from the August 10, 2017 Address to Naturopathy Students
by Walter P. Drake, Director, Blue Marble University
This is an amazing field and getting bigger all the time. Why? Because of the growing distrust of conventional physicians and conventional medicine also known as “allopathic” medicine. The regular practice of medicine has become nothing more than pill pushing…you have such and such symptom, here is the pill for it… offered in total disregard for side effects. Fix one symptom and create two others due to these chemicals they are pushing. The clinicians are gone, replaced by agents of Big Pharma, what physicians are today. Yes, we will still need surgery to fix a broken bone, and will still need the three useful medicines: steroids for inflammation, antihistamines for allergy, and antibiotics for infections. But the rest are just a bunch of dangerous chemicals, and the public has caught on. The public is looking for and demanding alternative ideas.
Let me illustrate the difference between the normal practice of medicine and alternative medicine:
A patient with an enlarged prostate causing problems with urine stream (poor and interrupted stream) goes to a physician and gets a pill to open up the urine tube. If he goes to a practitioner of alternative medicine, he receives herbal treatment to reduce the size of the prostate, thus freeing the contraction of the urine tube. The pill causes many side effects, is dangerous, and does not fix the underlying problem; the herbal remedy is safe, and structured to fit the particular patient, and works just as well. In some cases, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is needed and testosterone gel will shrink the prostate. Again-an alternative.
The Herbal Pipeline and Leading Chinese Research
These days there is an alternative medical approach to many major diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and frankly, in many cases, they work just as well if not better. As alternative medicine has grown, there of course have been growing pains. Sometimes some of the approaches have been labeled quackery, and rightly so. Spreading an herbal cream on one’s breasts is NOT going to make them larger, despite ongoing sales pitches. Yoga is not going to cure ANY disease, I’m sorry folks. And hypnotism too. So all of this nonsense has hurt the alternative medicine movement. Not only silly approaches but also herbal remedies themselves are now largely suspect. What’s in that Saw Palmetto capsule, and how if at all was it tested? The popular and useful Ginseng and Ginkgo Biloba supplements have been shown to be either contaminated with pesticides, non-existent in the formulation, or substituted with plain vegetable matter. Actual proof of purity and potency is typically lacking.
You probably do not know this, but China supplies at least 80%, probably more, of all herbs and medicines and vitamins worldwide. But you never see that country on any label. The probability that your herbal formulation originated in China is extremely high, and there are so many unscrupulous money grubbers in China that no one has any confidence in their products. And why not, when story after story appears concerning substitutions, false ingredients, and mostly nothing at all except hay!! But you will see a lot of “Manufactured for XYZ Company”, “Distributed by XYZ Company”, “Imported by XYZ Company” suggesting the product is not of Chinese origin even though it is. And “Made in the USA” is of little value as well, since most makers of herbal supplements buy their ingredients from China and just repackage them. Why I am picking on China?? Because they are the main problem you are going to face when seeking a quality herbal preparation for a patient to use. After all, that was the country where one guy made and sold fake milk made of chemicals to babies. They executed him. And that ham in the US you heard about that was blended with pieces of tire rubber that came from Canada?? Well, it might of “come from” there, but that is Chinese all the way, selling to the US through their shell company in Canada, and giving Canada a black eye. So we definitely have problems with the herbal pipeline.
Now, having blasted the Chinese for flooding the herbal market with adulterated, substituted, and misbranded products, I would like to also give them credit where it is due:
Apart from its money grubbers and fraudsters, China itself has sought to maintain its reputation as the world’s supplier of the highest quality herbal remedies. Research at the major Chinese universities continues to deliver excellent and superlative advances in plant extraction methods and advanced protocols for the purification of herbal extracts. So, when it comes to advancing the field of plant and herbal extracts, China leads the world. When we look for the most advanced separation and identification techniques, we look to China. When we look for the very best clinical testing of herbal extracts, we look to China. The ancient Chinese herbal remedies and texts must be re-examined to identify possible new compounds that can be used in modern alternative medicine protocols.
The following field study, entitled “Sourcing Herbal Extracts in China“, is an excellent model and review of the difficulties and successes in sourcing herbs and botanicals in China, the main worldwide supplier. This monograph was created by Alan W. Abrams, a 15 year resident of China, and a Chinese language graduate student in “The China Program” at Blue Marble University. It supports what we have intimated about the herbal pipeline from China and we have benefitted greatly from his efforts. This paper, presented by permission, can be downloaded and read by Clicking on the below cover:
Now, when we speak of alternative medicine, we are not just limiting ourselves to herbs!! Two other movements also speak to alternative medicine: The Bioidentical Hormone movement; and Stem Cell Therapies using the patient’s own stem cells. So let me address these each briefly.
Bioidentical hormones are hormones that have the EXACT chemical structure as those in our bodies. What the pharmaceutical companies have been selling for years are adulterated hormones that do not exist anywhere in nature and have caused cancer for many many ladies. Who created this movement toward using only bioidentical hormones for hormone replacement therapy? An actress named Suzanne Somers. She exposed the fraud perpetrated on the unsuspecting female population by Big Pharma in selling chemicals they invented as useful hormones. Little did anyone ever suspect that they were getting chemicals and not the identical hormones they were seeking to replace. I believe that the drug companies involved should be criminally prosecuted for this fraud and cover-up just as the cigarette companies were. To this day, Big Pharma still claims (1) that their chemicals are “bioidentical” because after the enzymes in your body carve off all the different parts they added, then you will end up with a bioidentical hormone. Hmmm, maybe all those ladies that couldn’t successfully cleave off the adulterated part were the ones that got cancer; (2) that bioidentical hormones are synthetic too as they are made in a lab. Yeh, made in a lab from wild yams, but yielding an EXACT copy of one’s own hormone.
So what do bioidentical hormones have to do with alternative medicine? The ladies of America pushed and pushed, and when the medical community of pill pushers ignored them, they proceeded en masse with the helpful guidance of Suzanne Somers in not only testing their hormone levels directly via saliva testing but also creating and obtaining hormonal creams for transdermal application of the bioidentical estrogen and progesterone. This was and still is “alternative medicine”, as the transdermal creams can be mostly obtained online or via a Doctor of Naturopathy, thereby avoiding traditional medicine altogether.
The second related area of alternative medicine I wanted to mention is stem cell therapy using a patient’s own stem cells or stem cells found in the discarded placenta of healthy newborns. Again, Big Pharma is opposed to this “new medicine” because it does not involve any patentable product. So they have again screwed the American public by getting together with their cronies at the Food and Drug Administration and attempting to block all manner of such treatments. They have successfully done this for over 15 years and put the US in last place in the world for stem cell therapy. The “stem cell wars” are now over, adult stem cells won, and anyone that still believes that “embryonic stem cells” (that can be patented) will have any role whatsoever in patient therapy must be a rabid member of ESC’s are better than ASC’s club. The US medical-pharma establishment still generally prohibits stem cell therapy, but globally, these therapies are being successfully used against ALL of our most debilitating diseases, with premier world-class treatment centers in Thailand, Panama, and Mexico just to name a few. And many physicians, realizing the benefits of adult stem cell therapy, are now treating small numbers of patients in the US under the “off label”, “compassionate use”, “patient specific clinical trial”, and/or under “Institutional Review Board approval”.
What the stem cell therapy movement really created, was not only the idea of treating patients in a “patient specific clinical trial” just for that patient to receive the advanced therapy, but the vastly more important concept that treatments of any kind- herbal or otherwise- should be specifically tailored to the patient: Patient Specific Therapy. Now, for sure, when you start talking patient specific anything, you are off grid and far away from conventional medicine with its 1 pill for everyone mentality!!
So, as Alternative Medicine tries to find its place in the world of health care, one element of it will be the idea of patient specific therapy. Herbal combinations specifically suited to that patient or the particular problem. You probably heard of a “compounding pharmacy” that makes medicine as directed by a physician. Well, what about a compounding herbalist?
Opportunities abound in testing, not only of patient medical status via saliva and urine, but also testing herbal formulations for purity and potency; for improving on the typical raw herbal supplements (e.g. 1 gram of powdered root) by extracting, purifying, and producing better more potent extracts; controlling safe organic production of herbs; creating supplements wherein each step of the chain is known, verified and tested; developing new tests for potency and purity; and so on.
The Drake Biomedical Institute is now focused on bringing advanced quality to the field of Alternative Medicine, and in particular, is committed to advancing herbal remedies that work.