Assaulting alternative medicine: worthwhile or witch hunt?

Re: Assaulting alternative medicine: worthwhile or witch hunt?

22 February 2012

Alternative medicine has a long tradition which goes back to ancient oriental and occidental cultures. The use of medical plants, along with different methodologies for exploring and curing illness gave ways to occidental medicine as we know it. Unfortunately alternative medicine has a limited value at present time due to the lack of empirical evidence to support it-s claims. Little work has been done in as much as clinical trials or other forms of investigation to validate the use of the distinct techniques and medications which are available, thus limiting the ability of a physician to study and prescribe these treatments, with the awareness of the benefits and possible side effects which they may have. Until there is evidence and literature to validate such practices, as a physician one is obliged to treat patients with medications and treatments that have been validated through a series of trials and for which one can predict benefits and possible side effects. Let us hope that more scientific evidence will be available in the next few years as to broaden our understanding of these ancient techniques so as we may also use them in our practice.

Competing interests: None declared

Adrian Murillo, Surgical Oncology

ABC medical center , Mexico city

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