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?

I have been practising treatment of some diseases with honey for about 12 years. I have no idea about other forms of alternative or complementary treatments. I have come to the following conclusions:

1. Why do people seek alternative treatment? We have to acknowledge that modern medicine has failed to heal many diseases. Healing means cure and not just alleviation of symptoms. Cure means getting rid of an ailment or ailments leaving an intact body. Intact body means intact anatomy and function. Not all treatments are healers but all curatives are healers. We have to admit that modern treatments are not curatives in all cases.

2. Modern medicine does not admit or recognise anything which is not evidence based. This is right. However what is the mechanism or mechanisms underlying the so called “a placebo effect of a drug”? What is the physical pathway for its expression? Nobody knows.

3. Based on my personal experience of using honey as an alternative treatment, I have found that most patients will also need the modern medicine for treating their symptoms. A very common example is fever. Although the duration of a febrile illness might have been shortened with honey yet the fever may have initially increased. Therefore most parents request prescribing antipyretics and others do not tolerate such initial reaction and shift to the traditional (modern) medicine.

4. A lot of money has been spent on investigating the effect of a drug through different phases of trials. Ultimately a drug has been proved effective and relatively safe; but for how long? After years of using a drug, we discover that this drug is toxic.

In conclusion: “Not everything should be materialistic; otherwise we should see the electrons”

Competing interests: No competing interests

23 February 2012
Mamdouh Abdulmaksoud Abdulrhman
Paediatric Department, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University
Paediatric Department, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Abbasia, Cairo, Egypt