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Faithlife

Natural Medicine vs Conventional Medicine

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Natural Medicine is a paradigm that has the intrinsic wisdom to yield to nature.

It acknowledges that nature, which is the hand of God,

will never be dethroned, will always have the last word,

and if opposed, it is definitely

a "force to be reckoned with".

Inherent with nature are God's own

undisputed universal spiritual laws,

which command respect and honor

from every living species.

These laws governed the world

long before the creation of mankind,

and will continue to rule

long after man has forged his destruction

through his own reckless technology.

Natural Medicine,

Also known as Holistic Medicine

or Naturopathy,

is not new or foreign or weird.

It is older and more reliable than mankind or science.

It has been referred to as "folk medicine",

"quackery", "snake oil peddling",

and other derogatory terms

concocted by those in the mainstream.

But in fact, Natural Medicine is nature herself,

and it embodies all of the principles

and philosophies of nature.

It evaluates organ "function" versus organ "pathology".

Natural medicine has no need

to obsess with diagnoses, treatments or cures

because there is no need to do so.

The unchangeable and uncompromising

laws of nature

dictate that disease simply cannot survive

in a healthy body

any more than darkness can remain

in the presence of light,

or any more than ignorance can remain

In the same vessel

where knowledge and wisdom reside.

Natural Medicine understands

the trilogy of the whole person--

Body, Mind and Spirit,

and respects the fact that healing

must incorporate all three of these facets,

each of which has an innate intelligence

and an energy life-force.

Everything that you absorb

determines the state of your cellular makeup--

be it food, chemicals, attitudes

or your beliefs.

Therefore, Naturopathic Medicine

embraces the natural laws

through a non-invasive healthcare system.

This system is centered around

building immunity, enhancing body functions,

increasing longevity,

and improving mental and spiritual well-being.

It employs various safe and natural therapies

which are not used

by the orthodox medical community.

God's natural laws of the universe

for health and healing

are so utterly simple that it is almost impossible

to believe their power.

It is all about honoring nature

and keeping anything unnatural out of your body,

while keeping it internally cleaned,

toned and rejuvenated.

It means obtaining your

nutrition from whole foods and natural herbs

from God's miraculous plant kingdom.

It means clean air, pure water, adequate exercise, rest,

and effective stress-management.

It means absence from abuse of toxic substances

that deplete nutrients and cause cellular trauma,

Including drugs, alcoholic beverages,

tobacco, nicotine, and caffeine.

It means healthy habits and applying moderation

in every aspect of your lifestyle.

[Return To Top]

There really is no need to view illness as a mystery

because there is nothing mysterious

about what causes the human body to break down.

Regardless of symptoms or diagnosis,

most disorders that plague human beings are

caused by infractions against nature which

usually boil down to inadequate nutrition

or a toxic body caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi,

and as farfetched as it may seem to you,

even parasites.

Almost any symptom present could possibly

be a result of any one or any combination

of these microorganisms.

However, there is a natural internal cleansing process

of removing toxins, referred to as detoxification.

The detoxification process, along with

correcting the body's imbalance

and restoring nutritional requirements,

usually result in 90% of all

disorders remedying themselves.

Adequate detoxification along with proper nutrition

has helped millions of folks

when Conventional Medicine

could offer them nothing

except the dismal preparation for death

by "keeping the patient comfortable".

However, pharmaceutical prescription drugs

have been the rage for the last 45 years,

but up until 60 years ago,

we all relied on Natural Medicine.

Granted, Natural Medicine

has not had the luxury of government money

to provide funding for the likes of "double-blind studies"

or "laboratory rat experimentation",

but natural remedies would not be passed on

from generation to generation if they did not work.

The art of healing started out to be just that,

an art, not a science.

It was about caring and compassion,

and treating the whole person.

You might be surprised to learn that

before World War II,

the most powerful antibiotic and antifungal

substance was silver-- the same silver that is found in your jewelry and silverware.

Later, it was ground up into small particles

and suspended into a fluid,

which rendered it colloidal silver.

It killed over 650 different disease-causing organisms

without any side effects.

25% of the people in Europe died

from the Bubonic Plague,

but those who sucked on silver were saved.

In the early 1900's

the scientific reports concluded that

Colloidal Silver kills every known

disease-causing organism

within six minutes of contact,

and germs do not become resistant to it.

To this day, there has been no recorded case of

adverse effects from it when it is properly prepared.

But in 1928 Dr. Alexander Fleming

discovered that Penicillin, made from green mold,

could kill certain bacteria,

although not nearly as many as silver could kill.

Chemists could not grow enough of the mold

to make it commercially viable,

so they found a way to

synthetically make it from chemicals.

This was the beginning of synthetic prescription drugs, and drug companies have had a

money-making field-day ever since.

However, Medical Doctors are now

publicly announcing that antibiotics

lower the immunity and are not working anymore

as resistance to them grows.

There are several strains of tuberculosis that are

showing antibiotic resistance to all antibiotics.

In fact, in 1998, the world experienced the highest number of Tuberculosis deaths in history.

Also in 1998, there was an 838% increase in Whooping Cough among children who had been vaccinated against it.

Malaria and Hepatitis are higher than ever too,

and there is an upsurge of fatal pneumonia.

The government confirms that there are

over 500,000 cases

of this new pneumonia each year.

The overuse of antibiotics is

actually creating these new mutant bacteria

faster than they can develop new drugs.

These drug-resistant mutants

double in population every few minutes,

infecting your system in record time,

and new drug-resistant microbes will continue to emerge.

Other life-threatening illnesses

which are continuing to grow include

Legionnaires' Disease, AIDS, Ebola, viral diarrhea, salmonella bacteria, and new strains of influenza.

Anytime a bacterial infection in your body show antibiotic resistance, and is not stopped completely, your death is sure to come

because it eventually poisons the bloodstream resulting in bacteremia or septicemia.

Over 50,000 cases of it are

occurring each year in the USA alone.

In hospitals, staph and strep infections

have become resistant to every antibiotic

except Vancomycin,

and it is just a matter of time

before they will be resistant to it too.

[Return To Top]

Nevertheless, the USA has lost so much ground

and is so far behind other nations in healthcare.

Are you aware that the USA ranks

Number 17 worldwide

in terms of longevity?

That means that people in 16 other countries

live longer and healthier lives.

Those other countries have fewer incidents

of cancer and heart disease.

In 1995, 987,693 of our friends and loved ones died

from a form of heart disease

called Atherosclerosis,

which is clogging of the arteries.

The American Heart Association has estimated

that someone in the USA dies

every thirty seconds from heart disease.

Heart Disease now kills more people every year

than cancer, AIDS, murder and all accidents

put together.

In fact, heart disease has killed more people

than all of the wars in history combined.

It is a $50-billion-dollar-a-year industry.

Heart disease kills 5 times more women

than does breast cancer.

It kills more women than anything and everything else.

One of the best kept secrets in American health is

that heart disease has been the leading cause of death in women since 1908.

The USA has the highest level of chronic disease

than anywhere else on earth.

We are among the highest rates in the world,

not only for heart disease and cancer,

but also for diabetes, osteoporosis, neonatal death,

mental illness, depression,

constipation, and chronic fatigue.

According to Vital Statistics,

In 1993 the cost of health care in the USA was approximately $3300 per person,

which ranked the highest cost of health care

per capita in the world.

The second highest country was 50% less.

Medical expenses are the

"Number One" cause of personal bankruptcy

in this country.

One person in three will get cancer,

and 1500 people will die from it everyday

throughout the year 2003.

This is from the American Cancer Society.

Americans get breast cancer

eight times more than they do in Korea,

and 22 times more than they do in Thailand.

Yet these other countries consume

50% less prescription drugs

and spend 42% less on surgeries and medical costs.

Our own federal government has a department

called the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment.

They study and analyze the

technological progress of various industries.

According to their report on the medical field,

almost 80% of Conventional Medical procedures

do not work and have little scientific basis.

Even the World Health Organization

has referred to this mainstream healthcare system as

"invasive, controlling, and sometimes disabling".

I'm asking you to open your eyes and see that

your media industry

has cleverly and incideously hypnotized you

to believe in the following manner:

The more a product costs,

the better it tastes,

the prettier it looks,

the more artificial fragrance you can smell,

the softer it feels,

the fancier the packaging,

the longer the list of ingredients

(especially the unfamiliar ones),

the more prestigious the store,

the more recognized the brand,

the more elaborate the advertisement,

the more celebrities who endorse it,

that the product must be the best.

My friend, I will tell you

along with every other

Holistic and Naturopathic health practitioner,

that nothing could be further from the truth.

It is this very brainwashing

that will surely lead you right down the path

of disease and death.

The truth is that, bit by devastating bit,

your society has failed you.

However, Big Business cannot thrive

without the patronage of loyal consumers.

I urge each of you to empower yourself

with all the truth and knowledge

that you can handle.

I submit to each of you to write

to your government officials

on a local, state and federal level

to express your concerns

regarding any matter that you perceive

to be in violation of your constitutional rights to

"freedom of choice".

We must not allow continued infringement upon

our right to choose our health and healing modalities

through natural means.

We must speak up not only for our rights,

but speak up for what is right!

[Return To Top]

Good health and longevity begin with

having a basic understanding and appreciation

of what your body does for you.

Our Creator made the human body

a most magnificent structure

designed to survive and be healthy.

Each of our bodies is made up of

approximately 3000 million cells.

Healthy cells can withstand an

enormous amount of injury and trauma.

Human atoms replace themselves 98% every year.

We have a new stomach lining every 5 days,

new gums every 1-2 weeks,

a whole new skin every 30 days,

a new skeleton and a new bloodstream

every 3 months,

a new liver every 6 weeks,

new hair, nails, and an entirely new body

every 11 months.

Based on these facts and

according to the nation's leading

Aging Research Center at Tufts University,

old age does not cause disease.

nor do you inherit disease.

What you do inherit is a genetic propensity,

such as a high requirement for certain nutrients,

that predisposes you to certain diseases.

The only two causes of disease are

malnutrition and toxicity.

In fact, when death is attributed

to "natural causes",

it usually means malnutrition.

If we properly build our health

throughout our lives with the proper nutrients,

there are very few reasons why the human body should not live to be at least

100 years of age-- disease-free.

Our cells are made of nutrients.

If you were to dissect

even the tiniest cell in your body,

you would find that that cell is made up of

vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, fats,

water, oxygen, enzymes,

and a multitude of other nutrients.

Every healthy cell in the body

generates an electrical field

similar to an electrical generator.

If that cell is weak, sick or abnormal in any way,

it is because of inadequate nutrition

or toxic chemicals from air, water, food, etc.

that have entered your body resulting in

a virus, fungus, bacteria, or parasites.

The body can fight off most of these

unwelcome harmful intruders

because when these microbes enter your body,

every atom, molecule, cell, capillary,

blood component, lymph node, nerve, fiber, antibody, interleukin, interferon, and your nitric oxide

literally fight for dear life.

They band together in the most

outstanding strategic military fashion

that you can imagine,

and they usually win

the war against these microbes.

But when unnatural or toxic chemicals

accumulate in your body,

these chemicals actually denature

and change the entire structure of your cells

making them a foreigner in the body

that was once home to them.

Everyday we are exposed to approximately

50,000 of these toxic chemicals.

But the vast majority of those that enter your body

are the ones that you put there yourself.

Most of them are those that accompany the

food that you eat, the water that you drink,

and the unnatural chemicals

that you put on your body.

More than 100 different toxic chemicals have been found stored in human fat.

Many others are eliminated from the body,

but believe me,

only after they have damaged your health.

Conventional Medicine, on the other hand,

does not significantly acknowledge

the power and the truth of nature.

To the contrary, it has mutilated

and embroidered the truth beyond recognition.

Overall, it actually maximizes the irrelevant issues

and sidetracks the important ones.

In other words, it majors in the minors,

and minors in the majors.

Conventional Medicine tends to view

all living species from their fragmented parts,

rather than as complete

individual creatures of nature.

This deranged manner of thinking has compelled most Medical Physicians to specialize in one body system,

rendering them little knowledge of how each body system affects the others.

Another backlash of this fragmentation is their general tendency to view living species as chemical formulas.

For instance, chemists can contrive a laboratory creation of wheat, which is chemically identical

to real wheat under a microscope,

but when put into the ground,

which is nature's soil, it will not grow.

Chemists can also duplicate the exact

chemical formula for seawater,

but when fish and other sea creatures are placed into manmade seawater, they die.

Human beings are no exceptions.

Human cells are products of nature,

and nature never has been, and never will be,

compatible with synthetic manmade chemicals.

Sooner or later you will suffer repercussions

for every act committed against nature.

Nothing gets by it.

Unnatural synthetics are perceived

by your human cells

as foreign, toxic, and unnatural.

There is no such thing as finding good health or a cure through something that your body

opposes on a cellular level.

You cannot digest synthetic chemicals,

or metabolize them, or absorb them

without wreaking havoc among your healthy cells.

Consequently, the toxic residue

of the drugs and the microorganisms

are stored in your cells, tissues and organs.

Synthetic medicine, at best,

is temporary patchwork

with detrimental consequences.

The accumulation of these impurities eventually evolves into organ damage, serious degeneration

and chronic disease.

The state of wellness means that the body is in a state of homeostasis

where all body fluids are balanced

and everything functions as it should

without medication.

Wellness does not mean

that you depend upon medication

to patch up your symptoms.

This may come as a shock to you,

but studies show that patients who never have

any conventional medical treatment

are any worse off than those who do.

Even in the case of cancer

where radiation and chemo are administered,

believe it or not, but these patients

do not live any longer than those

who do not have any treatment at all.

After all, if modern medicine could heal you,

really heal you,

Would cancers come back

after they have been treated

with radiation and chemotherapy?

Would arteries that have been cleared

by heart bybass clog up again?

Would arthritis and ulcers strike over and over again

after they have been treated?

Of course not!

That is not healing. That is patchwork.

Medical Doctors usually fall

into one of three categories.

First, there are those who care more

about money and power

than about your health.

Secondly, there are those

who do sincerely care about your health,

but their education

pertaining to health remedies

in Medical School

was limited to synthetic drugs or surgery.

Certainly it is not their lack of education,

but rather their miseducation,

meaning they subscribed to

a "school of thought"

that goes against the grain of nature.

Unfortunately, their expensive schooling

places no emphasis on cures,

nutrition or prevention.

The third category consists of

those who have gone on to become nutritionally-oriented.

Those are the wonderful exceptions,

and it would behoove you to find one

in this latter category

[Return To Top]

Obviously, most Medical Doctors

are in the first two categories.

In all fairness to them though, it does seem that

they are taking their own advice,

and are "practicing what they preach".

According to Obituary Statistics,

the average lifespan for a Medical Doctor

is only 58 years.

The average lifespan for everyone else

is 74.9 years.

So what does that tell you?

Do you really want to hand your life

and your power over to them?

I don't know about you,

but a couple of scriptures

from the traditional Christian Bible

quickly come to my mind.

One is "Physician, heal thyself".

Another is

"Don't try to get the speck out of someone else's eye

when you have a board in your own".

Not only are Medical Physicians

not trained in natural methods,

but even if they were,

they are still at the mercy of the

American Medical Association (the AMA).

The AMA controls Medical Doctors,

Medical schools, pharmaceutical companies,

hospitals, insurance companies, etc.,

and they are all backed

By the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).

Natural remedies are regarded with contempt

by anyone looking to profit from them.

Fortunately, anything that occurs in nature

cannot be patented,

So drug companies do not make

any money off of them,

and most insurance companies

do not cover them.

Subsequently, Medical Doctors

cannot profit from them either.

But according to the

World Health Organization,

an estimated 80% of the people in the world

rely 100% on Natural Medicine.

Considering that the world's population is

6 billion,

you had better believe that the medical world

Is not happy about it.

Conventional Medicine, on the other hand,

does not significantly acknowledge

the power and the truth of nature.

To the contrary, it has mutilated

and embroidered the truth beyond recognition.

Overall, it actually maximizes the irrelevant issues

and sidetracks the important ones.

In other words, it majors in the minors,

and minors in the majors.

Conventional Medicine tends to view

all living species from their fragmented parts,

rather than as complete

individual creatures of nature.

This deranged manner of thinking has compelled most Medical Physicians to specialize in one body system,

rendering them little knowledge of how each body system affects the others.

Another backlash of this fragmentation is their general tendency to view living species as chemical formulas.

For instance, chemists can contrive a laboratory creation of wheat, which is chemically identical

to real wheat under a microscope,

but when put into the ground,

which is nature's soil, it will not grow.

Chemists can also duplicate the exact

chemical formula for seawater,

but when fish and other sea creatures are placed into manmade seawater, they die.

Human beings are no exceptions.

Human cells are products of nature,

and nature never has been, and never will be,

compatible with synthetic manmade chemicals.

Sooner or later you will suffer repercussions

for every act committed against nature.

Nothing gets by it.

Unnatural synthetics are perceived

by your human cells

as foreign, toxic, and unnatural.

There is no such thing as finding good health or a cure through something that your body

opposes on a cellular level.

You cannot digest synthetic chemicals,

or metabolize them, or absorb them

without wreaking havoc among your healthy cells.

Consequently, the toxic residue

of the drugs and the microorganisms

are stored in your cells, tissues and organs.

Synthetic medicine, at best,

is temporary patchwork

with detrimental consequences.

The accumulation of these impurities eventually evolves into organ damage, serious degeneration

and chronic disease.

The state of wellness means that the body is in a state of homeostasis

where all body fluids are balanced

and everything functions as it should

without medication.

Wellness does not mean

that you depend upon medication

to patch up your symptoms.

This may come as a shock to you,

but studies show that patients who never have

any conventional medical treatment

are any worse off than those who do.

Even in the case of cancer

where radiation and chemo are administered,

believe it or not, but these patients

do not live any longer than those

who do not have any treatment at all.

After all, if modern medicine could heal you,

really heal you,

Would cancers come back

after they have been treated

with radiation and chemotherapy?

Would arteries that have been cleared

by heart bybass clog up again?

Would arthritis and ulcers strike over and over again

after they have been treated?

Of course not!

That is not healing. That is patchwork.

Medical Doctors usually fall

into one of three categories.

First, there are those who care more

about money and power

than about your health.

Secondly, there are those

who do sincerely care about your health,

but their education

pertaining to health remedies

in Medical School

was limited to synthetic drugs or surgery.

Certainly it is not their lack of education,

but rather their miseducation,

meaning they subscribed to

a "school of thought"

that goes against the grain of nature.

Unfortunately, their expensive schooling

places no emphasis on cures,

nutrition or prevention.

The third category consists of

those who have gone on to become nutritionally-oriented.

Those are the wonderful exceptions,

and it would behoove you to find one

in this latter category

[Return To Top]

Obviously, most Medical Doctors

are in the first two categories.

In all fairness to them though, it does seem that

they are taking their own advice,

and are "practicing what they preach".

According to Obituary Statistics,

the average lifespan for a Medical Doctor

is only 58 years.

The average lifespan for everyone else

is 74.9 years.

So what does that tell you?

Do you really want to hand your life

and your power over to them?

I don't know about you,

but a couple of scriptures

from the traditional Christian Bible

quickly come to my mind.

One is "Physician, heal thyself".

Another is

"Don't try to get the speck out of someone else's eye

when you have a board in your own".

Not only are Medical Physicians

not trained in natural methods,

but even if they were,

they are still at the mercy of the

American Medical Association (the AMA).

The AMA controls Medical Doctors,

Medical schools, pharmaceutical companies,

hospitals, insurance companies, etc.,

and they are all backed

By the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).

Natural remedies are regarded with contempt

by anyone looking to profit from them.

Fortunately, anything that occurs in nature

cannot be patented,

So drug companies do not make

any money off of them,

and most insurance companies

do not cover them.

Subsequently, Medical Doctors

cannot profit from them either.

But according to the

World Health Organization,

an estimated 80% of the people in the world

rely 100% on Natural Medicine.

Considering that the world's population is

6 billion,

you had better believe that the medical world

Is not happy about it.

Synthetic drugs have a multitude

of ravaging side effects

that result in 1.6 million people

being hospitalized every year,

and up to 160,000 of these people die.

The side effects are so serious

that they are frequently misdiagnosed

as diseases themselves.

In 1998, 182 billion dollars was spent

treating adverse reactions

from prescription drugs.

300,000 Americans are killed each year

in hospitals as a result of medical negligence.

Ralph Nader documents this statistic.

According to the

Journal of the American Medical Association,

the third highest cause of death

is medical malpractice.

This is more people than are killed

by guns and accidents combined.

In 1995, 60,000 people died in hospitals

from infections that they did not have

before being admitted to a hospital.

We only lost 56,000 people in Viet Nam

and that was over a 10-year period.

Despite Conventional Medicine's

lack of adequate knowledge

in the area of nutritional healing

and other modalities of Natural Medicine,

notice that at no time has it been mentioned

that there is no place for

Conventional medicine.

There is definitely a place in the healthcare world

for certain Medical Physicians.

For instance, some of the lesser invasive

diagnostic procedures are very helpful,

such as laboratory testing of

blood, urine and stool specimens.

Some occasional X-rays are also helpful. Unfortunately, most physicians perform

too many invasive diagnostic procedures

too often and unnecessarily.

Radiation from any and all x-rays

is toxic and cumulative,

eventually contributing to cancer

and other chronic diseases.

Undoubtedly, among the most important of all conventional physicians is the surgeon.

Surgery, if it is absolutely needed,

can save your life

by removing large tumors that heavily

tax the immune system,

repairing damaged organs,

performing organ transplants,

re-construction, and resetting broken bones.

The problem with surgery is that

Surgeons are generally far too determined

to remove vital organs which could,

in many cases, heal with Natural Medicine. Statistical research shows that

the vast majority of surgeries done in the USA

are totally unnecessary,

especially for prostate, hysterectomies,

caesarean sections, mastectomies,

back surgeries, and heart bypasses.

A prime example is that per capita,

Americans have twice as many bypass surgeries

as Canadians,

Yet 20% more people in the USA

die of heart disease than in Canada.

Other valuable Conventional Medical Physicians include the Emergency Room trauma physician

when you need radical emergency drugs

and procedures to immediately save your life.

Now this is the time for synthetic drugs!

Another valuable Medical Physician

is the Psychiatrist,

if anti-psychotic drugs are necessary,

as in the case of a true psychosis.

Here, again, is the time for synthetic drugs,

but they should be used only temporarily,

and then only in conjunction

with intensive nutritional therapy,

including specific nutrients

that play a significant part

in healing the brain and mind.

In short, certain surgeries and synthetic drugs

are irreplacable in times of

crises and emergencies,

but they are not meant to be relied upon

for routine maintenance,

which is the case more often than not.

It is a rare occasion in a person's life

that he or she faces stab wounds,

ruptured spleens, broken bones,

psychosis, or other catastrophes

that require drastic or emergency

synthetic drugs or surgery.

In everyday living, it is the practicing of

Natural Medicine

that restores and sustains good health

by allowing the body

to strengthen, fortify and heal itself.

Return To Top

The Origin of Disease

Your body simply is not equipped and does not know what to do with foreign chemicals

{accumulated residue of drugs, pesticides,

preservatives, radiation, heavy metals, etc}

Disease begins the moment they enter your body, regardless of the amount.

They multiply rapidly, and within a few minutes,

your glands reduce their function from

100% down to only a small percentage

of their total capacity.

Your body ends up making complex molecular chains

out of the foreign chemicals,

and stores them in various parts of your body.

If they are stored in your joints,

it becomes arthritis.

If they are stored in your muscles,

you get muscle disorders.

If they are stored in your heart,

you get cardiovascular disease.

If your immune system is amply compromised,

you get allergies.

Often your body stores them as cysts or tumors,

as they either eat away

or crowd your healthy cells out.

Then your cells cannot reproduce normally,

so they either die or mutate, and cancer is born.

These toxic cells are fed and nourished

over time with more toxins that you

continue to ingest.

You must know that disease

may be present for years

before you exhibit any symptoms.

In fact, frequently by the time the symptoms appear,

disease has reached a point of no return.

The cumulative effect is that they proceed to invade your tissue, and then your organs,

until finally the function of a vital organ is lost,

and this is how death enters.

Your only counterattack is to

address the problem in time, detoxify your body,

and fortify your immune system

with the proper nutrients known to do so.

If your body does not have the ammunition

to resist the "common cold", you surely do not have what it takes to fight off fatal strains of influenza

or AIDS or cancer.

It makes good sense to view any disease process as a form of inactive cancer

because you can never accurately judge what damage abnormal cells are doing.

Do not be frightened by this concept.

After all, we all manifest cancer cells

everyday due to free radicals attacking

our healthy cells and altering their DNA.

Free radicals are unstable electrons

which set off a chain reaction in molecules

that damage the integrity of any cell they enter and distort its membrane, enzymes,and genetic code.

Our immune systems uses free radicals

to destroy microorganisms

and to do other good things for the body,

but problems arise when they become excessive. The idea is to keep your immune system

strong enough to fight off the excess

so that they will not replicate, form a tumor,

and then have a foothold.

You are not powerless.

According to the

National Cancer Institute,

At least 80% of all cancers

are caused by poor choices in dietary

and lifestyle habits.

Remember that the same principles that

sustain life also heal life.

Return to God's law of nature,

and disease can be both prevented and reversed

Herbal Medicine

Herbal medicine is the most ancient form of health care known to humankind. Herbs have been used in all cultures throughout history. Extensive scientific documentation now exists concerning their use for health conditions, including premenstrual syndrome, indigestion, insomnia, heart disease, cancer, and HIV.

Herbs have always been integral to the practice of medicine. The word drug comes from the old Dutch word drogge meaning “to dry”, as pharmacists, physicians, and ancient healers often dried plants for use as medicines. Today approximately 25 percent of all prescription drugs are still derived from trees, shrubs, or herbs. Some are made from plant extracts; others are synthesized to mimic a natural plant compound.

The World Health Organization notes that of 119 plant-derived pharmaceutical medicines, about 74 percent are used in modern medicine in ways that correlated directly with their traditional uses as plant medicines by native cultures.

Yet, for the most part, modern medicine has veered from the use of pure herbs in its treatment of disease and other health disorders. One of the reasons for this is economic. Herbs, by their very nature, cannot be patented. Since herbs cannot be patented and drug companies cannot hold the exclusive right to sell a particular herb, they are not motivated to invest any money in that herb’s testing or promotion. The collection and preparation of herbal medicine cannot be easily controlled as a manufacture of synthetic drugs, making its profits less dependable. In addition, many of these medicinal plants grow only in the Amazonian rain forest or other politically and economically unstable places, which also affects the supply of the herb. Most importantly, the demand for herbal medicine has decreased in the United States because Americans have been conditioned to rely on synthetic, commercial drugs to provide quick relief, regardless of side effects.

Yet the current viewpoint seems to be changing. “The revival of interest in herbal medicine is a worldwide phenomenon,” says Mark Elemental, Executive Director of the American Botanical Council. This renaissance is due to the growing concern of the general public about the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs, the impersonal and often demeaning experience of modern health care practices, as well as a renewed recognition of the unique medicinal value of herbal medicine.

“The scope of herbal medicine ranges from mild-acting plant medicines such as chamomile and peppermint, to very potent ones such as foxglove (from which the drug digitalis is derived). In between these two poles lies a wide spectrum of plant medicine with significant medical applications, “ says Donald Brown, N.D., of Bastyr College, in Seattle, Washington and an educator in herbal medicine. “One need only go to the United States Pharmacopoeia to see the central role that plant medicine has played in American medicine.

What Is An Herb?

The word herb as used in herbal medicine (also known as botanical medicine or, in Europe, as phytotherapy or phytomedicine), means a plant or plant part that is used to make medicine, food flavors (spices), or aromatic oils for soaps and fragrances. An herb can be a leaf, a flower, a stem, a seed, a root, a fruit, bark, or any other plant part used for its medicinal, food flavoring, or fragrant property.

Herbs have provided humankind with medicine from the earliest beginnings of civilization. Throughout history, various cultures have handed down their accumulated knowledge of the medicinal use of herbs to successive generations. This vast body of information serves as the basis for much of traditional medicine today.

There are an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 plants on the earth today (the number varies depending on whether subspecies are included). Only about 5,000 of these have been extensively studied for their medicinal applications. “This illustrates the need for modern medicine and science to turn its attention to the plant world once again to find new medicine that might cure cancer, AIDS, diabetes, and many other diseases and conditions,” says Norman R. Farnsworth, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “Considering that 121 prescription drugs come from only ninety species of plants, and that 74 percent of these were discovered following up native folklore claims,” says Dr. Farnsworth, “a logical person would have to say that there may still be more jackpots out there.”

How Herbal Medicine Works

In general, herbal medicines work in much the same way as do conventional pharmaceutical drugs, i.e., via their chemical makeup. Herbs contain a large number of naturally occurring chemicals that have biological activity. In the past 150 years, chemists and pharmacists have been isolating and purifying the “active” compounds from plants in an attempt to produce reliable pharmaceutical drugs. Examples include such drugs like digoxin (from foxglove [Digitalis purpurea], reserpine (from Indian snakeroot [Rauwolfia serpentina]), colchicines (from autumn crocus [Colchicum autumnale]), morphine (from the opium poppy [Papaver somniafera]), and many more. According to Andrew Weil, M.D., of Tucson, Arizona, because herbs and plants use an indirect route to the bloodstream and target organs, their effects are usually slower in onset and less dramatic than those of purified drugs administered by more direct routes. “Doctors and patients accustomed to the rapid, intense effects of synthetic medicines may become impatient with botanicals for this reason,” Dr. Weil states.

Herbal medicine has most to offer when used to facilitate healing in chronic ongoing problems. By skillful selection of herbs for the patient, a profound transformation in health can be effected with less danger of the side effects inherent in drug-based medicine. However, the common assumption that herbs act slowly and mildly is not necessarily true. Adverse effects can occur if an inadequate dose, a low-quality herb, or the wrong herb is prescribed for the patient.

The Action of Herbs

A great deal of pharmaceutical research has gone into analyzing the active ingredients of herbs to find out how and why they work. This effect is referred to as the herb’s action. Herbal actions describe the ways in which the remedy affects human physiology. In some cases the action is due to a specific chemical present in the herb (as in the antiasthmatic effects of ma-huang) or it may be due to a complex synergistic interaction between various constituents of the plant (the sedative valerian is an example). A much older, and far more relevant approach is to categorize herbs by looking at what kinds of problems can be treated with their help. Plants have a direct impact on physiological activity and by knowing what body process one wants to help or heal, the appropriate action can be selected. The qualities of herbs which make them beneficial in treating the human body, include:

Adaptogenic:

Adaptogenic herbs increase resistance and resilience to stress, enabling the body to adapt around the problem and avoid reaching collapse.

Adaptogens work by supporting the adrenal glands.

Alterative:

Herbs that gradually restore proper functioning of the body, increasing health and vitality.

Anthelminitic:

Herbs that destroy or expel intestinal worms.

Anti-inflammatory:

Herbs that soothe inflammations or reduce the inflammatory response of the tissue directly.

They work in a number of different ways, but rarely inhibit the natural inflammatory reaction as such.

Antimicrobial:

Antimicrobials help the body destroy or resist pathogenic (disease-causing) microorganisms.

Herbs help the body strengthen its own resistance to infective organisms and throw off illness.

While some contain chemicals that are antiseptic or poisonous to certain organisms, in general they aid the body’s natural immunity.

Antispasmodic:

Antispasmodics ease cramps in smooth and skeletal muscles.

They alleviate muscular tension and can ease psychological tension as well.

Astringent:

Astringents have a binding action on mucous membranes, skin, and other tissue.

They have the effect of reducing irritation and inflammation, and creating a barrier against infection that is helpful to wounds and burns.

Bitter:

Herbs with a bitter taste have a special role in preventative medicine.

The taste triggers a sensory response in the central nervous system leading to a range of responses, including:

stimulating appetite and the flow of digestive juices; aiding the liver’s detoxification work; increasing bile flow, and motivating gut self-repair mechanisms.

Carminative:

Plants that are rich in aromatic volatile oils stimulate the digestive system to work properly and with ease.

They soothe the gut wall; reduce any inflammation that might be present; and ease griping pains and help with the removal of gas from the digestive tract.

Demulcent:

Demulcent herbs are rich in mucilage and soothe and protect irritated or inflamed tissue.

They reduce irritation down the whole length of the bowel, reduce sensitivity to potentially corrosive gastric acids, help prevent diarrhea, and reduce the muscle spasms that cause colic.

Diuretic:

Diuretics increase the production and elimination of urine.

They help the body eliminate waste and support the whole process of inner cleansing.

Emmenagogue:

Emmenagogues stimulate menstrual flow and activity.

With most herbs, however, the term is used in the wider sense for a remedy that affects the female reproductive system.

Expectorants:

Herbs that stimulate removal of mucous from the lungs.

Stimulating expectorants “irritate” the bronchioles (a subdivision of the bronchial tubes) causing expulsion of material.

Relaxing expectorants soothe bronchial spasm and loosen mucous secretions, helping in dry, irritating coughs.

Hepatics:

Hepatics air the liver.

They tone and strengthen the liver and in some cases increase the flow of bile.

In a broad holistic approach to health they are of great importance because of the fundamental role of the liver in maintaining health by not only facilitating digestion but by removing toxins from the body.

Hypotensive:

Hypotensives are plant remedies that lower abnormally elevated blood pressure.

Laxative:

These are plants that promote bowel movement.

They are divided into those that work by providing bulk, those that stimulate the production of bile in the liver and its release from the gallbladder, and those that directly trigger peristalsis (wavelike contractions of the smooth muscles of the digestive tract).

Nervine:

Nervines help the nervous system and can be subdivided into three groups.

Nervine tonics strengthen and restore the nervous system.

Nervine relaxants ease anxiety and tension by soothing both body and mind.

Nervine stimulants directly stimulate nerve activity.

Stimulating:

Stimulants quicken and invigorate

the physiological and metabolic activity of the body.

Tonic:

Tonics nurture and enliven.

They are used frequently in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, often as a preventative measure.

Tonic herbs like ginseng build vital energy, or qi.

HerbalGram

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Issue: 28 Page: 48

THE BOTANICAL ALTERNATIVE.

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HerbalGram. 1993;28:48 © American Botanical Council

Increasingly, America is becoming a Third World country when it comes to herbal medicine. In this last decade of the second millennium, we have already seen our Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (1) raid the office of Jonathan Wright, M.D., for using unapproved supplements, (2) confiscate evening primrose oil derived from an Amerindian food plant while allowing cottonseed oil, from an Mien non-food plant, as the second ingredient in our alien potato chips, and (3) ban as a nutrient an essential amino acid, tryptophan, which occurs in all food, because of a goof in Japanese biotechnology.

There are other examples of counterproductive interventionism in alternative herbal andor food "farmacy" therapies by an agency that blithely allows cigarettes and alcohol to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans. Old fashioned root beer is still outlawed, though the safrole in it rendered a can of root beer less than 110th as carcinogenic as ethanol (gram alcohol) renders a can of ethanolic beer. Perhaps the worst example was documented on "60 Minutes" (Dec. 1, 1991). There it was shown that, thanks largely to behind-the-scenes lobbying of the DEA, the country was about to eliminate the use of herbal Cannabis (marijuana) for the side effects of chemotherapy. And, it was to be replaced by a synthetic dear to the pharmaceutical industry's heart. The only catch was that the non-herbal alternative (Zofran) would cost $600 a day. Worse, it requires hospitalization for intravenous feeding. How many Americans can afford $600 a day?

My retirement salary at age 65, after more than 25 years government service, will be less than $100 a day. I will retire a third world citizen, unable to afford modern medicine. Maybe my insurance company would line the pockets of pharmaceutical companies with that $600 a day, but the cost of doctors, insurance and medicine will inflate more than my retirement benefits. All taxpayers will share in paying this exorbitant $600 a day.

According to Sen. David Pryor (D-Ark), "Americans get drug prices that are 50 to 60 percent higher than any other industrialized nation in the world." When used as a sheep wormer, levamisole cost $14 per treatment, but in 1990, when FDA approved it for colon cancer, Johnson & Johnson raised the price to $1,500 per year. The average American takes seven prescriptions a year, paying more for them than any other country (ca $275 a year, more than the percapita gross natural product in Haiti). (Austin American-Statesman, May 25, 1992)

Increasingly, more and more Americans will join the ranks of the Third World, unable to afford modern pharmaceuticals, many of which, like taxol, were also developed with taxpayer money, while the profits accrue to the pharmaceutical industry. The American consumer is swept into the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry, already one of the most profitable of all U.S. industries. I want the best medicine, be it synthetic or natural.

How will we know which is best, the synthetic or the natural? We won't, unless you, the reader, convince your Congressperson to stand up to the pharmaceutical lobby that might not encourage preventive medicine! Economics leads the pharmaceutical firms to prefer a semisynthetic derivative to the natural product. Today, according to pharmaceutical industry estimates, it costs $231 million to prove a new drug safe and effective. Drug companies are therefore more interested in developing semisynthetic derivatives which can better be protected by patents. To use an old frayed example: What drug company wants to invest $231 million to prove an herb like fever-few, which you and I could grow at home, can prevent migraine? How would they get their $231 million back if we raised homegrown feverfew and self-medicated and how much would they lose in sales of remedial migraine medications if this herb prevented 70 percent of migraine headaches?

Possible Research Questions

If evening primrose oil prevents PMS symptoms in British subjects, should it be banned for American housewives? Will evening primrose oil curb alcoholism as well as Antabuse? Are chamomile's apigenin and luteolin as antiinflammatory as the stomach-plaguing indomethacin? Are ginkgolides from Ginkgo and huperzine from Lycopodium stronger than physostigmine used in Alzheimer's and with fewer side effects? Is Evodia extract a better anti-anoxic than hydergine? Will ginkgolides do as well for ventricular fibrillations as diltiazem? Will willow bark tea prevent heart attacks better than a half aspirin, and with fewer ulcerogenic side effects? Will garlic alleviate encephalitis? Is garlic as good as aspirin at preventing blood clots? Will onions raise beneficial HDL cholesterol better than cholestyramine? Is oleuropein a better antioxidant than BHT? Is onion diphenylamine more potent than tolbutamide at lowering blood sugar in diabetics? Are grapefruit and apple pectin as good as chole styramine at lowering blood cholesterol?

Will oregano tea prevent cataracts? Will rutinade prevent telangiectasis (dilation of a previously small or terminal blood vessel)? Will the pectin in an apple a day keep the doctor away? Will the pectin in apple juice keep the doctor away. Will a tea of quebracho, saw palmetto, scotch pine pollen and stinging nettle double blood levels of testosterone? Will 200 grams of stinging nettle prevent osteoporosis? Will a diet of antioxidant teas, legume nodules, purslane greens, and psoralen-containing fruits and vegetables extend the life span of AIDS patients on AZT? Will 200 grams of crude cottonseed oil a day for two weeks make a man reversibly sterile? Will licorice prevent and alleviate ulcers?

Is banana better than Tagamet for ulcers? Is a mixture of bananas, cayenne, ginger, licorice and turmeric better for ulcers than any one of the herbs alone? Is ginger better than Dramamine for postoperative nausea? Will GLA (gamma-linolenic-acid) prevent PMS? Will GLA and fishoil double the life expectancy of HIV-positives? Will the tryptophan in outlawed evening primrose seed prevent insomnia better than genetically engineered tryptophan or Sominex? Will goldenseal prevent or cure Giardia andor other intestinal parasites? Will sweet annie correct candidiasis? Could it help in Lyme disease? Will eggplant remove a basal cell carcinoma better than cauterization? Can hot pepper relieve the pain of arthritis, cluster headache, diabetic neuropathy, and shingles? Will mountain mint prevent ticks? Will ginger prevent motion sickness? Will a jimsonweed leaf ($0.01leaf) behind the ear prevent vertigo better than a dermal patch of scopolamine ($4.50patch)? Will soybeans prevent breast cancer? Can 100 grams cornsalad containing 3 mg boron double estrogen levels and prevent osteoporosis? Will stinging nettle's sting alleviate arthritis? Will root extract of stinging nettle alleviate asthma andor hayfever better than cacao's theobromine and/or theophylline? Will 40mg ginkgo prove aphrodisiac as stated in the pop literature? How much ginkgo will prevent tinnitus?

Which is better for the hangover, ginkgo nuts or kudzu flowers or a combination of the two? Should someone proving that the combo of these two foods is effective as a hangover remedy be given exclusive marketing rights? Will coneflower and/or milkvetch boost the immune system enough to prevent the common cold or iatrogenic infections? Are they synergistic or antagonistic? How many milk thistle seeds a day will it take to prevent cirrhosis? How many to save the life of someone who just ingested a poisonous Amanita mushroom?

Will American bugle prevent or alleviate Graves' Disease? Will faba bean sprouts cause priapism, prevent tardive dyskinesia or alleviate Parkinsoniasm? Will marijuana treat glaucoma better than the synthetic options? Can 500 mg of bayleaf, cinnamon, cloves andor turmeric halve the need for insulin in diabetics? Can fenugreek inflate the bosom while deflating the blood sugar count? Can a daily 16-ounce draught of applecarrot juice halve our chances for lung cancer. Will the juice's vitamins be better preserved with the addition of antioxidant tea?

Will prosnut butter (mixture of pumpkin seed and saw palmetto) alleviate benign prostatic hypertrophy as well as Prosgar (Finasteride)?

We don't know the answer to all these questions and we won't know! Unless we bend the ears of an intelligent Congressperson. Increasingly more Americans, who could at least afford botanical (herbal and food-farmacy) alternatives, cannot afford the modern pharmaceutical. It behooves Congress and its constituents to insist that we learn whether the herbal alternatives are safe and efficacious. In some cases, I predict the herbal options will prove both safer and more efficacious, not to mention cheaper, than the overexpensive synthetic options. Ask your Congressperson: "Who benefits most from preventive medicine: the consumer, the government, the medical establishment, or the pharmaceutical industry?" Clearly, the doctors and pharmaceutical industry stand to lose, if preventive medicine prevails. The taxpaying consumer and his government gains! Then why is 90 percent of government funds targeted for curative medicines, whose efficacy is too often measured in days added to a misera ble uncured life?

As it stands today, the FDA prohibits the sale of herbal alternatives, if there are any preventive or curative messages implied. These herbs could save thousands of lives. The FDA tolerates tobacco while prohibiting the sale of licorice or lobelia to help people stop tobacco, or antioxidant teas or even carrots to prevent lung cancer or willow bark to prevent heart attack. The FDA tolerates the sale of alcohol while prohibiting the sale of evening primrose to curb the alcohol habit, or milk thistle seed or dandelion flowers to prevent cirrhosis, or antioxidant teas to prevent oral, kidney, or liver cancer. They tell us that without scientific proof of efficacy, these herbs cannot be sold with health messages. Are they helping the American consumer or the pharmaceutical industry? Are we missing some of the safer, even more effective, herbal drugs? Yes!

Don't despair. Write a personal letter, not a form letter, to your Congresspersons. Let them know that the costs of modern pharmaceuticals are slipping out of the economic reach of more and more of their constituents. Tell them you think the American consumer and the Third World need and deserve answers to the questions in this article. Request legislation that would require a pharmaceutical firm, in any new synthetic chug trial, to compare its new drug, not only with a placebo, but also with one or two of the better herbal alternatives. If the drug company finds, as I predict it will in many cases, that the herbal alternative is nearly as safe and efficacious as their synthetic option, they could be granted marketing rights to both the herbal and the synthetic alternative. Then modest-income people could buy their processed, standardized herbal alternative, grown by underemployed American citizens returning to the farm from the slums. Alternatively, homeless people would know t hat there is a reasonably safe herbal alternative that can be found growing nearby. And the Third World citizenry, even poorer on average, than Americans, would benefit from the research of the new "altruism" in Farmacy. Urge your Congressperson to give the herbal alternative a chance to help poor and wealthy Americans avoid economic strangulation by the current situation. Put the burden of proof of empirical herbal effectiveness on the agency which confiscates an inexpensive, long-standing, and empirically proven botanical, while favoring the exorbitant synthetics and expensive, unproven or unnecessary interventions like angioplasties, bypasses, chemo-nucleolysis, caesarians, and the like. These cause thousands of deaths a year (evidence follows). How many herbal fatalities were there in the last decade?

According to Rep. Ted Weiss (D-NY), more than half (102 of 198) of the prescription drugs approved by the FDA between 1976 and 1985 caused serious reactions that later caused the drugs to be relabeled or removed from the market. (Chemical Marketing Reporter, June 4, 1990). Perhaps Mr. Weiss should be asked why the pharmaceutical industry should not be required to compare any new drug not only with a placebo but also with the best recognized herbal alternative(s). If the herbal alternative proved safer and/or more efficacious, the tester should have some form of patent protection to sell the herbal alternative, sharing its profits with the herbal industry. Insist to Mr. Weiss that Americans deserve the best medicines, be they herbal or synthetic.

"The prevalence of fatal drug reactions has been estimated at 0.01% for surgical inpatients and 0.1% for medical inpatients." (Journal of the American Medical Association, Nov. 27, 1987, p. 2891). This means 1 in 1,000 of those patients admitted to hospitals for medical rather than surgical reasons will be killed by the medicine.

"According to various estimates, 200,000 cases of gastrointestinal bleeding, with 10,000 to 20,000 deaths, occur each year due to the 68 million prescriptions of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NS AIDs, used for arthritis." (CMR, Jan. 2, 1989) The quackbusters are quick to quack that only quacks peddle medicines claiming to cure arthritis. Are NSAIDs industry killing 10,000 to 20,000 people a year, possibly alleviating the symptoms of, but not curing, arthritis?

"Three to eight percent of patients hospitalized in the U.S. will suffer a bacterial infection during their stay. Of an estimated 4 to 8 million patients infected, Center for Disease Control estimates that "hospital-acquired infections contribute to the deaths of 100,000 patients per year." (CMR, May 13, 1985)" "`Centoxin' treats septic infections that kill as many as 100,000 patients a year and are the leading cause of death in intensive care units." (CMR, July 20, 1992, p. 5)

The Bjork-Shiley heart valve, never reviewed by the FDA, has killed 240 people. There's no way to find and warn the 11,000 or so Americans who don't know their heart valve is a Bjork-Shiley (Health July/Aug. 1992, p. 74).

Julian Whitaker, M.D., surveys many treatments that might be more lethal than the diseases they treat. For example, a million angiograms are given a year, 90 percent unnecessarily (0.1-0.5 percent result in death). Nearly 300,000 people have $15,000 angioplastic procedures each year. Several die during the procedure or during the first year (the $4.5 billion sacred cow). As many as 44 percent of bypass patients don't need it and might be better off with a combination of drugs, diet and exercise. Five percent of bypass patients die as a result of the surgery. Over $10 million a day is spent on unnecessary bypasses, which kill 14,000 to 28,000 people a year. (Wellness Today, June 1992)

A California study in the Chemical Marketing Reporter (June 8, 1992) indicated that 92 percent of drug advertisements in leading medical journals fail to comply completely with FDA regulations. FDA commissioner Dr. David A. Kessler hopes" to see the industry take a closer look at its marketing practices and reaffirm its commitment to providing accurate, non-misleading information about its products." The California study, after examining 109 advertisements in 10 medical journals in 1990, found an average of 4.3 cases of inadequate or misleading information per advertisement. Half had little or no educational value and 60% contained poor or unacceptable scientific references, 38 percent lacked information on safety, and 28 percent failed to disclose side effects or contraindications.

If Dr. Kessler or his successor is to let the multibillion dollar pharmaceutical fox guard the chicken advertisement coops (multimillion dollar business itself), should he not extend the same privilege to the depauperate botanical (herbal and food farmacy) industry to "take a closer look at its marketing practices and reaffirm its commitment to providing accurate, non-misleading information about its products."

As columnist James Kilpatrick summed it up, we need to be protected from the FDA, not by the FDA. The empirically proven botanicals should be considered innocent until proven guilty. Let the FDA or some responsible government agency prove the botanicals safe or unsafe, efficacious or inefficacious. Ask your Congressperson for proof that the expensive synthetic medicine the FDA approves is safer and/or more efficacious than the cheaper, empirically proven botanical. We really deserve to know, not just assume, which is better and safer, the herbal or the synthetic.

Has the best been subject to test?

Indian, Chinese, Ayurvedic?

We really deserve the best,

Be it nat'ral or synthetic!

Anonpoet, 1991

Article copyright American Botanical Council.

~~~~

By James A. Duke

American Botanical Council, 6200 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78723

Phone: 512-926-4900 | Fax: 512-926-2345

Website: www.herbalgram.org | Email: abc@herbalgram.org

The information on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional. The American Botanical Council does not endorse or test products, nor does it verify the content or claims made, either implicit or explicit. ABC does not accept responsibility for the consequences of the use of this information or its most up-to-date accuracy. ABC is a nonprofit, tax-exempt research and education organization under IRS section 501(c)(3). All text, images and content Copyright © 2005 American Botanical Council, unless otherwise noted.

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I Made It Through the Rain

By Robert Sterling

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Short Essays on Key Aspects of Healing

Background

My name is Robert and I was born in Los Angeles in 1939. My father was enormously successful as a residential and commercial land developer. Being a son of a multi-millionaire and growing up in the Hollywood Golden Era, I had it all: wealth, freedom, and “attitude.” I grew up in affluence.

How it started

My future seemed guaranteed and unquestioned. Then, suddenly, at age 17, the life I knew began to crumble.

I had to go the hospital for a routine appendectomy. When the anesthesia wore off, I awoke feeling that my brain was on fire! I became hysterical and felt totally out of control. I now know that my experience was a panic attack. But at the time, I had no idea what was going on. I was absolutely terrified.

From that moment on, I became a frightened, dependent person, clinging to my mother and my sister. I was afraid I would die if I was left alone.

I saw many doctors. They were all puzzled: they could find nothing wrong with me. I tried many of the psychiatric drugs of the time, including thorazine. Nothing helped. If anything, the drugs made things worse.

What the suffering was like

One day, I was driving to school at UCLA over Coldwater Canyon Drive. I became overwhelmed with a feeling of impending doom. My heart was racing, and I thought I was having a heart attack. My mind was swirling with scary thoughts. I felt absolutely disoriented with feelings of unreality.

I stopped at a stranger’s house and called my Mom. She reassured me that I was OK, and I became calm enough to drive home.

But from that day, I needed a “babysitter” wherever I went. I needed constant reassurance. I couldn’t even go on a date without running to a pay phone to call my parents or my sister for reassurance.

I was so afraid to leave home, I took my entire sophomore year in college through correspondence courses. In my junior year, I had to pay people to drive me to school.

On the day of a final exam, I would need a relative to go with me and sit at the back of the room, so that I could feel safe enough to concentrate.

My entire life was run by a condition that no one – including me – could understand.

After college, I struggled to keep a job – any job. I think I could be in the Guinness Book of Records for the number of times I was fired.

My personal life was no better. My unnamed condition – with its constant neediness and “weirdness” – cost me two marriages and countless friends.

Diagnosis

Finally, in 1968, I met Dr. Brownstein at UCLA. He diagnosed me with “agoraphobia.” Finally, my condition had a name.

A few months later, my mother saw an article in the Los Angeles Times. It was about Dr. Arthur B. Hardy, who was running a group called “TERRAP,” standing for “territorial apprehension.” Shortly thereafter, I met the great Dr. Hardy at his center near San Francisco.

For 11 years, many doctors, family members and friends had tried to fathom my condition, without success. But within minutes, Dr. Hardy knew me “like a book.”

Finally, someone understood me and the condition I had been suffering with for all of my adult life.

Healing

Dr. Hardy did not believe in medication. For him, the answer was “behavioral modification.” His method was called “flooding,” which meant facing the fear head on.

“Flooding” amounted to daring your symptoms to kill you, with Dr. Hardy’s reassurance that they wouldn’t.

Dr. Hardy’s methods worked. From being basically housebound, I made rapid progress in only two weeks’ time.

At the end of the second week, Dr. Hardy handed me a pack of matches and asked me to please give it to his assistant, Don Bain. I said “Sure, where is he?” Dr. Hardy answered: “He’s in Lake Tahoe.”

I told him he had to be nuts – that was 200 miles! Dr. Hardy calmly replied: “Go ahead. You’ll be fine.”

Well, I started the drive to Lake Tahoe, by myself. Dr. Hardy’s instructions were to not call my mother or anyone that could calm me down. This work was to be mine and mine alone.

4 ½ hours later, I arrived in Lake Tahoe! I was weak from the experience, but I had done what I thought was impossible! The experience greatly raised my self-esteem.

Dr. Hardy’s “flooding” method changed my life dramatically, but it didn’t stop the suffering. I became a “functioning phobic.” I still suffered, but I knew the symptoms were lying to me, so I did my best to ignore them. I suffered, but I could function.

Many years later, I met a psychiatrist in Mission Viejo, California. He introduced me to a new approach called “cognitive therapy.” I learned to challenge the false beliefs that were the basis of my fears, and I learned “cognitive skills” to combat my symptoms. Cognitive therapy helped me to get to a whole new level in my healing.

And there was more dramatic healing to come. In 1996, I saw a psychiatrist in North Carolina who was an expert with medications for panic. By artfully combining Prozac, Buspar and Remeron, I was able to achieve a true “comfort level” for the first time. Now, finally, after all these years, I am comfortable in my own skin!

The success of my healing turned out to be a three-pronged process:

1) behavior modification and desensitization (thanks to Dr. Hardy)

2) cognitive therapy and

3) medication

For me, the combination of all three approaches was the answer.

I recently published a book about my story called “I Made It Through the Rain,” by Robert E. Sterling. It’s available on Amazon.com (where you will find several interesting reviews), BarnesandNoble.com and Borders.com.

You are welcome to contact me for support and encouragement. My email address is RESterling@carolina.rr.com

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