Observations Reality Check

Assaulting alternative medicine: worthwhile or witch hunt?

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e1075 (Published 15 February 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1075

Re: Assaulting alternative medicine: worthwhile or witch hunt?

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: No competing interests

22 February 2012
Adrian Murillo
Surgical Oncology
ABC medical center
Mexico city