Thursday, October 01, 2020


A friend in remission from cancer posted a list of the alternatives to actual medical treatment that people have advised him to try. Including vegans and anti-vaxxers.

Baking soda/sodium bicarb (for cancer)
Alkaline water (cancer)
Wheat grass juice (cancer - still relapsed despite it, who woulda thought?)
Tumeric (cancer and chronic illness)
CBD oil (cchronic illness and spasticity)
Tart cherry (chronic illness and spasticity)
Montgommery cherries (chronic illness and spasticity)
Apple cider vinegar (chronic illness)
Lemon juice in morning. (cancer and chronic illness)
So many random juices recommended by random people. (chronic illness)
Veganism - 6 months (0 effect on chronic illness)
Vegetarianism - 6 months (0 effect on chronic illness)
Traditional Chinese medicinal herbs (caused pretty severe reactions, these did - indeed, known to interact with medications, and to be loaded with contaminants. Ask your doctors and be VERY careful with this one) - for chronic illness
Various homeopathic remedies (cancer and chronic illness)
Vitamin B, E, C, at varying doses and from various companies who promised to have the "best blend possible" (cancer and chronic illness).
Plus Yoga and Faith Healing

Well now! Four years ago when I felt that my own health starting to seriously slip I would have rejected all of these. And I note that neither tofu and Scotch are included -- they really should be -- and neither would have worked in any case.

I refuse to try the "cures" in that list. Before my insurance kicked in I was using dan shen (丹參) and eleutherococcus senticosus (五加), because I had no other choice. Since then I've been on far better stuff: Amlodipine besylate, Metoprolol, and Losartan. And both before and after I told the folks who were advising me to take apple cider vinegar that they were idiots. And please note that both of the "traditional Chinese medicines" I had been taking are known to interact /interfere with all three of the medicines I'm taking now. I've discontinued them (the herbals), and I still refuse to truck with any of the other alternative snake oils mentioned above.

Oh, and in addition to apple cider vinegar, I've been told to try becoming a vegan, use some kind of fancy honey, extra garlic, and ginger turmeric tea. Plus yoga and acupuncture. Yes, I did the internet research. Real medical journals, encyclopedias, Mayo Clinic articles, and numerous studies detailing the effects and interactions of all that crap, by real scientists. Real scientists! Not herbal new age shills and snake oil charmers. I've also read many papers about the side effects of the medications I'm currently on, as well as the (very minor) number of people who will experience those, and weighed the pros and cons in discussion with my regular care physician, my cardiologist, and the pharmacists. One should trust actual medical professionals and critical minds, not friends, alternative practitioners, well-willing ideologues and people on a mission, antivax types, snake oil salesmen, true believers, or diet goofballs.

I'm much better now.

Many traditional Chinese herbal compounds do have medical effects. But without training you do not know enough about them to self-prescribe. And until they are put to the test, as it were, in controlled studies, and more is known about them, they should be a last resort. Skepticism is advised in any case. Tiger penis and snake wine are garbage ab initio, and ginseng is so overrated as to be ridiculous. There are no magic pills. 

[Oh, and marijuana derivatives are good only as calmatives, painkillers, and laxatives.]

Part of traditional Chinese medicine was to venerate 痘疹娘娘 ('dau jan neung neung'), the goddess of smallpox, and to paste taoist talisman papers (靈符 'ling fu') at the entryways of homes to keep out disease.

That's seldom done anymore, but if you're going to put your faith in Chinese herbs, why not go whole hog?

Smallpox (天花 'tin faa') has been globally eradicated, by the way.
Traditional herbal remedies had nothing to do with it.
Neither did CBD or apple cider vinegar.

As an afterthought, I ask people to get the flu vaccine. Not only to protect themselves, but also as a contribution to herd-immunity, which will benefit everybody. Especially those people with weakened or compromised imune systems.

It's rather important. If I hear something along the lines of "everytime I get the flu shot I catch the flu, so I won't", I may savagely beat that person to death.
What they caught was NOT the strain that the shot protected the against.
But it proves that they are susceptible, and were idiots.
As well as likely carriers.

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All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

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