It takes a long time to become a master herbalist. There is a lot of training involved, including botany, anatomy, physiology…and law. We have to know what we can say/do and what we can’t.
Many in traditional medicine look askance at any alternative care. It’s largely unregulated, poorly researched and can create problems a traditional doctor then has to fix…or does it?
No, it doesn’t have to be like this. In fact, “alternative” remedies are often the basis of traditional drugs. It’s time to set aside our differences and come to an agreement that is best for us all, *and* for the patient.
Training: I have received a lot of training. I am still studying and learning. New things come out on a regular basis, and I can’t work with or avoid them if I don’t keep up. People involved in alternative medicine need to do that. There is always more to learn. Coming up with one or two “cures” and sitting back on our laurels isn’t good for anyone.
Research: Almost every study I read on plants is considered “preliminary.” There should be much more done, and it should be made clear that it is a plant and not a patent. Does cinnamon really lower blood sugar? If it doesn’t, why do most websites that list safety issues recommend diabetics avoid it? It doesn’t make the pharmaceutical company any money but it sure could help some diabetics if it did.
Stop the Hype: I don’t believe in hype. As a patient, I want facts. As a master herbalist, I *need* facts. There are celebrity herbalists that I don’t read or follow because they don’t give me both sides of information about what they are recommending.
Team Approach: My dream, at least as far as herbal remedies is concerned, is to work as a team member with doctors. I know stuff they don’t know and they know stuff I don’t know. If both of our objectives is the best interest of the patient, the team approach makes the most sense.
You Can’t have it both Ways: There is at least one doctor who wants to take on all alternative medicine because of the way certain herbalists push their favorite potion. I’d like to take on the pharmaceutical companies for the way they hype their drugs on television to people with absolutely no idea what these drugs can or will do. Both of these are bad approaches, but if you’re going to take on one, it’s better to take on both. Two wrongs do not make a right.
Keep this in mind: if you want digitalis, you can’t outlaw foxglove. That’s what they use to make it. Alternative medicine can work. What we have to do is work together to make it beneficial.