Saturday, January 29, 2011

15 Resources: Alternative Treatment Links

Although I have an LLMD who is a bit old school (as I've said before), that doesn't mean that I don't endorse the use of any alternative treatment. Given my increasing intolerance to antibiotics, I may have to try more alternative treatment in the future, so this is something I am investigating.

I realize it's not a perfect world, and I wish everything was tested under double-blind random controlled studies, but I don't forsee that happening in the near future. If you're dealing with an illness now and want to try an alternative treatment, protect yourself by using treatments which have some research to back them, are not being sold as panaceas, and forewarn you of the potential for side effects, drug interactions, and risks. Avoid the overpriced and look for the most effective for the price, and start on a small dose if you don't know how it will affect you.

When at all possible, begin taking alternative medicine while under the care of a qualified and certified medical professional - either a regular physician who will regularly monitor your blood chemistry including liver function test and kidney panel, or a naturopath from a licensed degreed program such as Bastyr University in Washington State. (Note that there are only two universities in the US which have naturopathic graduate degrees and Bastyr has a rigorous curriculum.)

Three links I really find of use on alternative medicine:

Planet Thrive: Stephen Buhner on Lyme:
http://planetthrive.com/category/experts/buhner/


Stephen Buhner wrote the book, Healing Lyme, which besides having an herbal protocol for treating Lyme Disease also has a pretty good write-up on the lifecycle of Borrelia burgdorferi. For an herbal treatment book, it is amazingly well researched and does not do a hard sell; it comes with a list of benefits and potential side effects users may experience. The web site listed here is an extension of this, and Buhner has taken on individual patients' questions on his site. He does not see private clients and is paid nothing for this work.

The University of Maryland Medical Center Alternative Treatment Database: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/

Here is a link to one of the most comprehensive alternative medicine treatment databases online. Look up various treatment types (acupuncture, herbalism, aromatherapy, etc.), herbs, and supplements. Learn about different conditions and how herbs and supplements are used for treating them. Look up drug interactions, side effects, and warnings here - and ask a doctor and/or pharmacist for confirmation.

Bastyr University: http://www.bastyr.edu/

Bastyr University in Washington State is a non-profit, private university offering both graduate and undergraduate degrees, with a multidisciplinary curriculum in science-based natural medicine. The University is recognized globally for its curriculum and research.

Disclaimers: I don't assume that everything at these sites is correct. I am not responsible for content. I endorse these sites as an improvement over many other alternative sites that have been available due to their own disclosures on side effects, detailed reports, and the use of citations.

15 comments:

  1. Hello Friend
    Your work is very well researched. Bastyr University is indeed the top alternative medical school in the country, with very high standards and conducts top-level research. Lead physician/faculty Michael Murray, ND is known for his cutting-edge naturopathic health research in Canada and the USA alike.

    I wanted to offer a friendly headsup to you about double blind studies for herbs. I am a trained herbalist and studied with one of the major authorities internationally. I read voraciously and can tell you that a) Phytotherapy, the new term for scientifically-informed herbalism, is now about 30 years old b) it is a new science but quite sophisticated in its depth c) double blind studies of herbs are being done absolutely all the time and drug-herb interactions studied, noted and logged. You can read many of these on the US Government's own medical database, www.pubmed.gov but sophisticated medical and pharmacological terminology are required. For doctors, not laypeople.

    Of the studies mentioned here, some are smaller studies, many are more than 1,000 patients, and some study larger cultural cross-sectors. A well designed study will be long-term, at least six months but preferably several years long. Many herbal studies are long-term, if not most of them. And I have found them to be very full disclosure, as is the herbalism industry in general.

    That is, those who are sincere and educated in their scientific craft. Unfortunately, there are many scam operations designed to sell herbs and which use well-meaning but uninformed salespeople. Some will sell you on a long-term "Subscription" which should automatically raise eyebrows (I have seen some which are designed in a way that would cause side-effects). Disregard those entities and go for the reputable herbal manufacturers/growers such as GAIA Herbs, HerbPHarm, New CHapter Organics and Paradise Herbs, Planetary Herbals, WishGarden Herbs, etc. It may sound like manufacturers/growers/formulators such as those above would be biased and want to "Sell" you. In fact, I have found that herbalists go into the art for the sake of healing people, and are highly ethical---very full disclosure--- as well as very impressively educated. Oohhhh yes. In fact, some of the herbal authorities know body chemistry so well,as well as drug-herb interactions, that they could answer questions about mainstream drug metabolism that pharmacists in my area could not tell me. They know herbal studies in and out, down to the sex of participating patients and their medical vulnerabilities prior to participating, etc. Amazing details.

    One physician of note who has a Lyme treatment protocol would be Dr Dietrich Klinghardt. Google his website and look for his Lyme protocol, it is very well designed.

    A mainstream MD with naturopathic work alongside, recommended a herbal product by Healthy Directions, Inc of Rohnert Park, CA as "the best he has seen" for Lyme and co-infections. These are designed by a naturopathic doctor (ND) the phone number is 1-800-332-7713 (but you need a physician to diagnose the exact bugs in question, and which herbs are the best ones to target them individually. Never attempt to do this on your own, herx reactions are not layperson's material and require licensed medical supervision).

    I recommend this website, where only the nationally and internationally renowned naturopathis post their articles. You can search almost any health topic of your desire: www.healthy.net

    Find a Naturopathic Doctor in your area by looking here: www.naturopathic.org

    I hope this is helpful.

    Thank you again for such meticulous research and for all your devotion and caring. It's obvious.

    Best wishes, Drina Brooke

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for your comment, Drina, and for all the information you've provided.

    I have some experience with naturopaths and found the one I worked with from Bastyr to be the most informed and willing to keep up on new research in both mainstream allopathic medicine as well as integrative or alternative. I think if you have to go with an alternative treatment, so far as what I've seen, Bastyr graduates know more out the door than others.

    I know they are conducting NIH-funded studies at the campus that are ongoing. A list of current research projects can be found here: http://www.bastyr.edu/research/projects/

    The idea of buying an herbal subscription does sound like a scam to me, too - and with ongoing use of an herb I think some doctor needs to at least occasionally monitor people to make sure the herbs aren't having a negative impact on their body. Some negative impacts show up in tests before symptoms are apparent, so it is good to be informed to head off cellular damage.

    Ongoing consultation with a certified and experienced naturopath will often lead people down a better path, I think, than if they had done it on their own. It's not just the monitoring that is a benefit to prevent negative problems - I think it's also good to get confirmation from a practitioner about treatment plateaus and when it's time to work on another health objective.

    I know about Dr. Klinghardt and while I would agree that combining the right herbs with antibiotic treatment as he has promoted can be a very good path for patients, I have been concerned about some of the ideas that have been thrown around after one of his more recent presentations have been discussed on support groups.

    People are getting the impression that Lyme spirochetes cannot be killed by fire or high temperatures and that they will get infected by eating any meat or eggs or milk. I have not seen any scientific evidence that this is the case, and while I am not exactly pro-meat, I am not completely anti-meat or vegan either, and want confirmation of this and other statements Dr. Klinghardt has made which I have no evidence to support.

    Because as it stands, it is scaring some people. They are now believing they can never be cured of Lyme if it cannot be destroyed by fire and think it is everywhere. I think this has to stop - there's no proof this is the case and it can hamper people's path to healing if they mistakenly give up due to this information.

    It can be hard to sort through what is reasonable and what is not at times. But I encourage people to ask themselves "Is this true?" and "How can I find out if this is true or not?" whenever they read something which either sounds horrific or amazingly good. Those two conditions are healthy times to be a bit skeptical and do your own research.

    It's particularly useful, too, when someone reads another person posting, "I heard Dr. Klinghardt said 'this'," and it later turns out Dr. Klinghardt did not say whatever it was and misunderstood and misinterpreted information was passed along.

    One thing I'd like to request that you do in the future is when you advocate a particular herbal product that you offer the name of the product and any citations on herb studies you know about that support the use of those herbs for the condition mentioned. Part of the aim of this site is to offer evidence-based reports and reviews where possible.

    Also note that promoting a product by Healthy Directions, Inc without saying what it is and why there is some evidence it works for the conditions mentioned while leaving an 800 phone number may look like a veiled attempt to sell a product to my readers - and my readers are pretty savvy to look for such attempts (even if that were not your intention). So just a heads-up there.

    Thank you for the link for finding a naturopathic doctor - I am sure a number of patients will find it useful. And thank you for the compliment.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello Camp Other
    Thank you in turn for your comments and suggestions. It never occurred to me that mentioning Healthy Directions would be regarded as a veiled sales attempt, so let me clear that one up right now. Please know that I appreciate your mentioning it, editing is very important instruction and I will take note for the future.

    I did not name the products for a reason: I am not a Lyme doc (or lyme-specializing herbalist)and to name each product assumes that detailed specialist's knowledge. I am recommending these products as an enthusiastic patient who had great results from these products. Herx's were mild yet progress in only six months has been dramatic, at least for me. Every person is different and that is the nature of anecdotes, so I offer that only as one testimonial for my own self.

    I am not affilliated with the company nor do I make a dime from them, know anybody personally who works for them, etc. Thank you again for your conscientious concern.

    The Bar 1 product is targeted to Bartonella, and that much I can offer with assurance. Interested persons can call and consult Susan McCamish, ND who formulates the products.

    As for citing studies, absolutely. The problem in this situation is that to analyze a formula containing 6-12 different herbs and citing the studies for each of them, it would turn into an article and not merely a comment to a post. I have absolutely no problem with the request and agree with you FYI.

    The www.healthy.net site is the best lay-friendly source for detailed information about herbs and their studies. Go to the Herbal Medicine center and read the essays by world-ranking herbal authority David Hoffmann. See also Elizabeth Williamson's book "Potter's Herbal Cyclopedia", this is one of the most outstanding sources. She is an ethnopharmacist (herbal pharmacist) with numerous degrees after her name, mentions herb constituents and studies, as well as lay-friendly herbal use. Those interested in a book which will compare the efficacy of an herb to a mainstream medication (very full disclosure)and herbal regimens, might be interested to see the Pocket Guide to Herbal Medicine by Karin Kraft, MD and Christopher Hobbs, LAc. Kraft spearheads the Commission E in Germany, the equivalent of the FDA and is very knowledgeable about herbs (unlike our own misguided and ill-meaning FDA here in the USA). Christopher Hobbs's knowledge simply cannot be topped, I can almost be certain that Kraft---in her capacity as Commission E spearhead----consulted Christopher in co-authoring this book. Christopher's books go into scientific depth, whereas his website is short and sweet: www.christopherhobbs.com

    As for Dr Klinghardt's protocol, I don't quite understand why dairy/meat being no-no's would scare people off but the objection is still understood. With that said, it was his herbal formulas I came across on his website which impressed me:

    http://www.klinghardtacademy.com/Protocols/The-Use-of-Pharmax-Nutriceuticals-in-the-Treatment-of-Chronic-Lyme-Disease.html

    http://www.klinghardtacademy.com/images/stories/Lyme_Disease/Lyme_protocol_Jan06.pdf

    http://www.klinghardtacademy.com/images/stories/lyme/Herbs_used_in_treating_Lyme.pdf


    Best wishes and thanks for such conscientious and motivated work! That is only a good sign of your sincerity and it is appreciated. Sincerely, Drina

    ReplyDelete
  4. Drina,

    Just a quick comment here, and I'll respond to the rest of what you've written here later:

    I don't know whether or not this will amuse you - but the comment you just posted above automatically went into Blogger's spam trap. This is not something I put filters or settings on - Blogger's own default detection scheme of what is spam or not spam decided to filter it out.

    Now comes the fun of figuring out what exactly it was that you wrote which triggered it!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment shoots you in your foot, Camp Other. It's too bad really because obviously, you are doing good work with your writing. Best wishes and I wish you well with your endeavors, Drina

    ReplyDelete
  6. Drina,

    I don't understand what comment you're speaking of, and why you think it shoots me in my foot. Care to explain?

    I can only guess it's about mentioning that your above comment was in the spam trap and you think that I am making light of your post. I am not.

    I am telling you the truth: your comment was in the spam trap.

    And then I posted your comment. Had I had a concern about the content myself and thought it was nothing but spam, I would not have posted it and written somewhere about what kind of comments I consider to be spam.

    I'm sorry that you think it's necessary to stop our discussion here since I was happy to continue it. I wish you well with your endeavors, too.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Okay my friend, I accept your apology and your explanation. Thank you for that, I will use this as a lesson to myself for future note. How is that? (yes it did come across to me in the way you suggested I might have thought. But hey, writing can come across differently than the spoken word, true? That is always the tricky part in computer-based interpersonal communications, huh. Such has been my experience. Water under the bridge, and thank you).

    Let's continue. I am interested in this. Thank you for what you are doing. Kuddos for such researched and meticulous work.

    ReplyDelete
  8. No worries, these things happen. Thank you for coming back to talk some more.

    You've left some information here for me to read up on. I'm aware of the Deustch Kommission E monographs and have read some of them before... I'll need to look at the rest of the links you've posted and see what I think of them - there's a possibility I have seen some of them before, but a revisit is good.

    Dr. Klinghardt... the issue I had was that someone wrote on a support group that they were afraid Borrelia bacteria could not be killed because they said Dr. Klinghardt said it was in milk and eggs and wasn't killed... and the poster mentioned that even fire couldn't kill the bacteria. This concerned me, because it sounded alarmist and there is scientific evidence of the heat shock temperature of Borrelia bacteria. It isn't invincible - you can kill it. The trouble is, the temperature is high enough that if you tried to get a human that hot for long enough, it would do cellular damage in organs and the brain. It's a tricky thing.

    It's really late here as I'm posting, so I have to call it a night and read your links soon to prepare a further response.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hello Friend! Nice to continue this thread, and thank you for weighing in with your honest concerns!

    Regarding Dr Klinghardt, remember that professional opinions can vary in any subject, that is often the case in my experience. So as regards heat therapy:

    Even if it was true that the bacteria doesn't respond to heat, that does not mean that there aren't other ways to kill it. You'd be surprised at how effective some herbs (the right ones, and in the right combinations) can be at raising immune cell activity within the body, which in turn aids the die-off of the bugs.

    The cool thing I learned in the herbalism apprenticeship was that while mainstream antibiotics scramble the DNA of the bacterium, the herbs do not. That is why the antibiotics cause the bugs to mutate and get stronger. But the herbs kill the bugs without doing that, and may be the way of the future as medicine will inevetiably reach a point when antibiotic prescriptions will have to be severely curtailed, as bugs adapt and mutate more and more over time.

    Again it takes the right herbs, and the right combinations thereof, to be effective.

    I have to repeat that as herbalist I do not specialize in lyme and despite being a patient myself, am not as well versed in this area as I am in others. So let me talk generically here:

    Some herbs will melt down the cell wall of bacteria. Others will cause them to slide off the surfaces to which they are clinging (as happens with a strong cranberry juice dosage used for bladder infections. It literally washes the E Coli clinging to the bladder's walls away, thus ridding the body of infection). Other herbs support the body's own production of T Cells which are like the traffic policemen of the immune system, "telling" other cells in the immune system what they must do to combat an infection. Yet others will facilitate the body's own production of cytokines (chemical messengers directing immune cellular activity, such as happens with elderberry extract) and thicken the cell walls so as to be less penetrable to viruses. There are anti-viral herbs (Which would seem to me to be indicated in lyme, despite it being a bacterial infection, since the bacteria are hiding out in the body's muscles).

    You can read more about this on the sites and in the books mentioned above. David Hoffmann's giant reference manual, Medical Herbalism, goes into great depth but headsup, contains a fair amount of technical terminology. Best for practitioners and is about 1000 pages, but is a marvellous reference source for anyone wanting to research more in-depth and learn about the mechanisms by which various herbs do their work.

    Again I offer this as generic info in the hopes that this encourages people and inspires hope.

    This information is not evaluated by the FDA and does not diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Drug and herb interactions may occur, talk to your doctor.

    Your doctor may look up drug-herb interaction studies here: www.herbmed.org

    Better yet is the newly penned book Nutrient, Drug and Herb Interactions by Stargrove/Treasure/McKee, this is marvellous. An MD, ND and world-ranking herbalist specializing in drug-herb interactions have teamed up to write this marvellously indepth book. I attended a drug-herb interaction seminar with Jonathan Treasure and he was able to provide information about mainstream drug metabolism that my local pharmacists could not tell me about. This man is brilliant, no slouch at all, and any doctor would be impressed by the information in this book which also makes every point of being as non-biased as possible, representing several sides of the aisle and addressing many questions the mainstream asks about herbs, nutrients et al. Highly recommended but thick medical terminology required, not for laypeople.

    ReplyDelete
  10. http://www.ei-resource.org/myblog/Realities-of-Antibiotics-for-Lyme-Disease.html

    PS for anybody who is interested, above is a link to a naturopath who treats lyme and writes that while there is a time and place for mainstream antibiotics, he also stresses that to try not to resort to that is key. He has seen people get well with minimal herx reactions and yet fully heal, with naturopathics alone.

    Please keep in minds that professional medical opinions will vary. To represent both sides of the aisle, my LLMD said that the herbs I used for lyme specifically, worked up to a point and then he felt that we needed to "go deeper" with the antibiotics.

    For myself, I had such severe herxs on the antibiotics, and can only echo the naturopath's experience that I too found herxs to be minimal with the herbs yet I made rapid progress, even though I have had the infection (chronically undiagnosed) for more than 30 years! I cannot advise anybody else, but for my own self, I have decided to go back onto the herbs and then if the progress isn't "going deeper" as the doc said, to try the antibiotics again. But not until trying the herbs first. Individual responses may vary, depending on body constitutional types. It is never advised to self-treat, and certainly not to mix the herbs with mainstream antibiotics unless supervised by a doctor. Herx's are not layperson's material and require professional, licensed guidance. Some drugs and herbs may interact, talk with your doctor.

    I want to add that I am disappointed with the lyme info on the Healthy.net site. It is otherwise a marvellous site for naturopathic info. Anybody wanting to check out a long list of diagnoses/issues (enter into the search box), or read about individual herbs and detailed scientific information about them at the Herbal Medicine Center on this site, is well advised to do so. IT is a marvellous site. I am going to write them to ask for more lyme articles, the info they have is generic and I would like to see some of their naturopaths individually writing about it. Based on the lyme controversy the hesitation is of course understood. Boo.The Feds are at it again, attacking human wellbeing instead of supporting it as they morally and legally should. We've got to oust them and replace them with good people. After all, we pay them and let's remind them of that. Plus they took a medical school oath: "First, do no harm". HOld them to it!

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  11. CHeck this out, scroll to the last three posts: http://flash.lymenet.org/scripts/ultimatebb.cgi/topic/8/2586?

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  12. Anonymous,

    Thanks for the references to the two books you mentioned. I will look them up and see what has been said about the authors' credentials and reviews of the books. At first mention, they sound interesting.

    Given that there is no completely proven protocol to treat people with lingering symptoms and that people have had bad reactions to antibiotics and antiprotozoal meds, I think it is understandable to seek out alternative practitioners and learn about herbs to treat one's condition.

    If one is newly diagnosed and that includes positive blood tests, I think if anyone can get the 21 days of oral antibiotics and if found necessary, IV antibiotics - they should try for them if tolerated and if insurance will cover them, because there is evidence they can work to fight Borrelia and the offer of insurance to cover them may not be available if one waits too long after that initial Western Blot result.

    I think everyone has to make their own informed decision about what to try next and minimize risk regardless of their choice. I struggle with taking oral antibiotics even if they have been tested thoroughly and are effective - they still can have unpleasant side effects and risks. Herbs will also have their good and bad side, though they usually are more likely to have an effect on the kidneys and liver and not so much on the intestines.

    I'm currently toying with the idea that if immune dysregulation is more of an issue than infection (it is an IF I'm stating here) that some other agents may be better for treating symptoms than antibiotics do.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Speaking of the German Commission E Monographs-------

    From Wiki (and my own personal knowledge)

    "The commission itself was formed in 1978, and no longer exists."

    The AMA endorsed it:

    "Certainly worth studying, the Commission E monographs detail which herbs are approved or disapproved, along with their uses, dosages, contraindications, adverse effects, drug interactions, and pharmacologic actions. The therapeutic, taxonomic, and chemical indexes are helpful, as is the glossary." -- Journal of the American Medical Association, 1999[2]

    But----The 1998 book mentioned 10 but omitted 11 possible fatal reactions to the medicines described

    And:

    Treasure's lengthy review[4] (31K) offers detailed evidence that the book is not a work of science, medicine, or vitalist herbalism. Rather it is a book of German legal-medical regulations, since "In Germany, only those herbs with Commission E Approved status are (or will eventually become) legally available."

    Treasure wrote at:
    http://www.herbological.com/commisione_review.htm

    The failure to include verifiable scientific primary sources necessarily places the entire Commission E Monograph corpus irredeemably outside the most elementary accepted standards of academic requirements for rigorous scientific publications.


    Qualifications and pseudo-qualifications:caveat emptor!

    For historical reasons, herbal medicine in the USA is heterogenous,and lacks a coherent unified presence, which can confuse potential consumers or patients. Acronyms such as MH (medical herbalist), CH (clinical herbalist) or CCH (certified clinical herbalist) are sometimes used but these do not have any generally recognized status, nor do they imply any standard training or clinical experience. In the USA, professional accreditation of educational courses is still being developed for herbal medicine, and at present there is no sure way of knowing what these acronyms mean - unfortunately they include the good, the bad, and the ugly. You have been warned.

    The ND acronym should also be scrutinized, since diploma mills sell ND degrees, and there are "ND" distance learning or part time courses of varying quality which do not resemble the full time training of naturopathic physicians at accredited colleges such as Bastyr University, the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, or the South West College of naturpathic Medicine.

    http://www.herbological.com/whatisherbalmed.html

    The urls I've posted lead to long articles but should be read in their entirity and the citations read also. A worthwhile effort for those trying to understand the intricacies of the herbal industry.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I see that Drina posted this url for people to read---- and I assume that she (?) follows Dr. David Jernigan's concepts?
    http://www.ei-resource.org/myblog/Realities-of-Antibiotics-for-Lyme-Disease.html

    I'd like to post something from LNE listing "The bottom 10: least credible in LymeLand"

    In no special order:

    Scott Forsgren aka betterhealthguy

    Townsend Letter

    The Public Health Alert

    Bryan Rosner

    David Jernigan

    Jim Humble

    Shoemaker

    Cowden

    Klinghardt

    Warren Levin

    Special recognition also goes to LymeNet USA
    End quote

    Dr. Jernigan, his 'history' and beliefs, was looked at by people who didn't believe in his 'ammonia on the brain' theory among other things. He does have a wide following though, which is amazingly strong.

    ReplyDelete
  15. ****Interested persons can call and consult Susan McCamish, ND who formulates the products. ***

    Susan is a Certified Traditional Naturopath (C.T.N.) by the American Naturopathic Certification Board. She is also a Certified Nutritional Consultant (C.N.C.) with The American Association of Nutritional Consultants.

    She is referred to as Susan McCamish, ND above.

    AANC Certification (The American Association of Nutritional Consultants)
    http://www.aanc.net/certification.php
    (Does not confer the letters of ND after the name)

    Certified Traditional Naturopath (C.T.N.)
    http://www.ancb.net/eligibility.html
    It should further be recognized that successful completion of either exam in no way qualifies the individual to use a doctoral designation.
    (Does not confer the letters of ND after the name.)

    Perhaps there was a typo in that sentence?

    ReplyDelete

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