Readers share divergent views on use of alternative medicine


LAST week TotT posted a question on Facebook asking readers how they felt about alternative and complementary medicines for general health as well as the treatment, cure and prevention of life-threatening illnesses such as cancer.

From the readers who responded the consensus weighed on both sides of the argument; some opposed and the other in favour, with several readers posting personal testimonies.

Julius Bramley stated that the reason he didn’t feel too strongly about alternative and complementary medicine was that there was no scientific evidence to support it.

Margaret Norton Weller, who is nearly 80, said she definitely believes in it. She attributes her busy schedule and vigour to taking life-long supplements.

“I walk without help, still drive my car, run a business – selling supplements and complementary medicine – and of course take it myself! [I] work in my garden, do house work…”

She also added that she couldn’t remember when last she had the flu and that her high blood pressure is the only thing she has an issue with.

On the other hand, Marie Wessels isn’t sold on the idea of using just alternative and complementary medicine.

“Registered medicines are the results of research and development,” she said.

She said the products are tested and retested before registration. She added that alternative products were not scientifically tested, could easily contain anything and sold on the premise of working to cure illness. “No, not for me thank you”.

Jacobus Reinier Grove mentioned a controversial topic in current alternative medicine studies: “Cannabis oil for cancer – a drop a day keeps the cancer away.”

Michael Troy Swanepoel’s opinion is that God had created a plant for each illness and would not have planted it on earth to have no purpose. Swanepoel said he uses bulbinella (the sap contains glycoproteins, which have soothing and protective qualities) mixed with orange flour and bicarbonate soda for cancers.

Russell Deutschmann said he supported the use of alternative and complementary medicines.

“Tested medicines are extremely expensive and don’t always do what they are meant to do. Some alternative medicine may be cheaper and do the exact same thing”.

Deutschmann also added that since before he was retrenched in 1998 he and his family had to pay thousands of rands each year for medical aid and since he has been off it and only uses alternative medicine he has saved a lot of money on doctors and prescribed medicines. He also said he has maintained good health and hadn’t seen a doctor in years.

Dorothy Anne Sutton said she doesn’t have faith in alternative medicines, but that she also doesn’t have much faith in conventional doctors either. “They often make mistakes and then don’t own up to it,” she said.

Deutschmann responded to Sutton and added that doctors make a diagnosis, write a script and if not better tell patients to come back in three days. “Now is the doctor unsure or is the medicine not working. Nevertheless you pay and might have to pay again. There is no free-bee from doctor and chemist,” he said.

Local columnist Beverly Young shared a story of a woman she met who had switched after seven years of studying medicine at university to pursue homeopathy. Young explained that the reason why the woman testified she changed her mind was because of the chemical make-up of the drugs for many ailments. She explained that in a series of pills the content is mixed and if one of those portions cure the drug is deemed a success.

“She named said content which was startling,” Young said.

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