February 6, 2023

Alternative or Complementary medicine is used to describe medical treatments that are used instead of or in support of modern western therapies to achieve a better outcome.
It is also known as integrative medicine.
Our Health Correspondent spoke with the Chief Medical Director, Queen’s Specialist Hospital, Ibadan, Dr Ralph Olatunbosun Oduwole on the pros and cons of this method of treatment.
Here are some excerpts from the interview.
Q: When we talk about alternative medicine, what is it and what does it entail?
A: Alternative medicine is an approach to treating diseases using natural products which includes plants,animals and minerals. In essence, it means that you give all these products like herbs and we know that the body can heal itself when it has natural supply of all these nutrients.
Q: So when these products are used in the treatment of patients, they get better and don’t need medication again?
A: What happens is that we practice complementary medicine that is combining the western modern medicine with  traditional/ herbal medicine, that makes it alternative. Somebody comes in with fulminating infection, alternative medicine will take a longer time but you can quickly arrest the infection whereby you  complement with modern western medicine.
Q: What are the processes involved in the use of alternative medicine .
A: When a patient comes in for instance, we use  western medicine to diagnose  and know what is actually wrong with the patient.
Traditional medicine is dated 60 thousand years ago in Iran. People use their local knowledge, experience to use these herbs to treat. Then they didn’t have many diagnostic means but they were using local experience and they come out with good outcomes. The advent of modern medicine helps with a quick diagnosis. Once diagnosed, pharmaceutical drugs help faster in some cases. Somebody comes with a very high temperature, herbal medicine will not drop the temperature drastically but the pharmaceutical will. Then you can use herbal and complementary medicine to  supplement. The body can heal itself when supplied with  all the deficiencies in mineral nutrients
Q: How safe, how popular is this method?
A: The medicine in terms of herbal remedies and supplements is regularized and approved for use by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC. All over the world,Over 200 million people are using  herbal products  and  is regulated by the Food  Drug Agency in America and Most of these products are standardized by international pharmaceutical companies  and they will tell you the daily requirement of these nutrients like ginseng and garcenia.
What we are saying is that the herbals have advantage when it comes to the treatment of cancer it is not destructive like chemotherapy with poor prognosis. Alternative medicine heal the patients while they are taking natural products. A lot of these cancers have been found to be due to deficiencies in some minerals like calcium and magnesium and by the time they take these and other nutrients like lycopene, beta Sistosterol , natural components from plants,vitamin D3, garlina, they are natural in the body. When chemotherapy comes in, radiotherapy  comes in, aggressive surgery comes in,they are invasive.
Q: what qualifies a person who practice alternative medicine.?
A: To be an Homeopathic Doctor,you must have qualified as a medical doctor,you have the knowledge to diagnose and to know which one to use specifically.You have to acquire the knowledge,even now there are courses in the Universities on plants and management of Illness.The herbalists and traditionalist have no medical knowledge.In fact Homeopathy started in the 18th century in Germany by Dr Samuel Heineman who was a doctor and a chemist.
Q: We are not talking about herbalists o but about people who are specialist first in medicine before acquiring additional knowledge as Homeopaths
A: Yes, you adopt complementary approach in the medicine practice gets better. For example a person with prostrate cancer can eat pumpkin seed because it has a lot of Zinc that is good for the body. Use tomatoes because it has a lot of lycopene that is good for the cell membrane .That way you eat healthy and live healthy.
Q: Words of advice.
A: Prevention, Prevention is the key word. It is cheaper, Safer and better than  cure. Let people embrace a healthy lifestyle, too much alcohol is not good as it suppresses the immune system. Eat healthy to live healthy.
Anthonia Akanji
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