BY DR LYDIA THURTON
Sometimes I disappoint my patients. Some patients come to me because they want to use natural medicine to heal themselves and I have to be honest and tell them it just isn’t going to work. This is especially prevalent in my Caribbean patient population. They recall a great-auntie that had a bush tea that could cure anything. It’s a big let down when I refer them back to their doctor for pills or surgery.
One of my biggest pet peeves about some natural healers is that they sell people a dream of miraculous healing just to make a buck. It makes me furious. My conscience won’t let me do that. If natural medicine won’t help, I have to be honest.
Cancer cures are a big one. Patients are afraid of radiation and chemotherapy, for good reason. And want to try to heal cancer with juicing, alkalinizing their diet and avoiding sugar. I have no problem with natural cancer care alongside main stream medical strategies. There are naturopathic doctors that assist in the care of cancer patients with intravenous vitamin C and mistletoe extract. If I had cancer I would look for this complimentary care myself. But at this time I cannot recommend natural cures for cancer without conventional care. Use both.
I actually stopped taking on cancer patients as a young naturopath after I watched a patient die. He was using natural therapies from the very expensive Gershen Institute in Florida. He spent his life savings and they starved him, made him vegan, when he shouldn’t have been and it accelerated his death via massive weight loss. It scared me, but opened my eyes to the down side of natural medicine.
Autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and irritable bowel diseases need natural medicine as an add on. The drugs are toxic and diet is a big factor in healing. However, once these destructive diseases start on a path of mayhem they need to be put in check with pharmaceuticals or surgery.
Let me give you an example. My best friend has Crohn’s disease. This is an inflammatory disease of the digestive tract that results in terrible pain, poor digestion and serious consequences like malnutrition and even colon cancer. She managed herself with diet and supplements, but there was one area of her intestine that was so damaged she developed scar tissue. That scar tissue was not fixable with natural medicine. She needed surgery and that diseased area of her bowel was causing intense suffering. After surgically removing that area of the bowel she could carry on healing herself with diet and yoga, which she did. This a great example of how to marry natural medicine with conventional.
Some infections need antibiotics. Some cases of depression need antidepressants. Some pain patients need orthopedic surgery. We push our bodies harder than ever before. And our environment and food supply is more toxic than ever before and this means that sometimes natural means can’t overcome our illnesses. It makes me sad to disappoint patients that are fearful of surgery and medication and want to go the natural route. My biggest advice is that natural medicine works well when you nip things in the bud. When a disease festers it can progress to a point where natural just won’t work. Act quickly if you are adverse to conventional medicine. Seek to prevent illness whenever possible.