Media Trashes Alternative Treatments in Spite of Facts

As of 2006, United States citizens spent $27 billion annually on alternative and complementary treatments. According to a New York Times survey, 48% of adults in the United States used at least one alternative or complementary treatment in 2004 — and that percentage has probably climbed in the intervening years. And most insurance companies now reimburse alternative practitioners.  But despite the popularity of alternative medicine, the press persists in trying to persuade readers to avoid alternatives at all costs.

Take, for example, the article cited above that appeared this week on entitled, "Alternative Herbs and Medicines Grow in Popularity." The article begins by acknowledging that alternatives have become increasingly mainstream, musing that the public seems to distrust drug companies. (I wonder why.) But quickly, it changes tone, using the familiar scare tactics: "Dietary supplements do not have to pass any safety tests before being sold. Some contain lead and arsenic, and some obstruct other medicines from working, like birth control pills," it warns. The article then complains that within the past 15 years, the Feds spent $2.5 billion researching the health effects of alternatives, but "nothing monumental has been discovered, aside from the use of acupuncture and ginger for chemotherapy-associated nausea."

Although it does admit about halfway down that few supplements cause any health problems, it reiterates the warning about lead content and then mentions the scary "tainted" possibility. Finally, it admits that pharmaceuticals like Vioxx can have problems, too, but says that, "The difference is that at least these medicines have rules, guidelines and watchdog groups that follow their usage." In other words, go to the doctor and get a prescription. Oh, and die!

Unfortunately, no author took credit for this article, and it’s no wonder. Who would want to take credit for such a marvel of distortion? Because the facts make clear these things:

   1. Prescription drugs are now the fourth leading cause of death in the US, just behind cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

   2. Over two million people experience drug-related disabilities or serious drug reactions each year.

   3. Deaths by pharmaceutical poisoning rose 62.5% between 1999 and 2004. (Ahh! But at least those drugs are untainted by lead!)

   4. A recent Consumers Union study found that medical errors kill nearly 98,000 people in the United States each year and cost $17 billion to $29 billion a year. That figure hasn’t improved in the past 10 years and shows no evidence of future improvement.

   5. Most of those errors come from giving or prescribing the wrong drug, giving patients the wrong dose or giving the drug in the wrong way. Note that the drug needs to be capable of causing death in the first place, even if by improper prescription.

   6. While prescription drugs kill about 140,000 Americans a year, herbs and nutraceuticals kill fewer than 100 (with most of those attributions being highly questionable).

Obviously, in spite of the "rules, guidelines and watchdog groups" that regulate and oversee prescription drug — pharmaceuticals are among the most dangerous substances on the planet. While drugs sometimes can heal or ease symptoms, they often do no better than alternatives, and very, very often, they do far worse. There is a reason so many people turn to alternatives, and in spite of what articles like the one in RedOrbit imply, that reason is NOT that people are stupid.

And as for the "nothing monumental" having been discovered about the healing power of alternatives, the author seems to not read the health news. Review my blog entries for the past six months and you’ll see articles citing studies showing that green tea extract blocks AIDS, probiotics prevent and heal heart disease, green pea protein lowers blood pressure and intervenes against kidney disease, a homeopathic approach to peanut allergies seems to work a cure, the enzyme nattokinase reduces Alzheimer’s risk, magnets work better than antidepressants, and so on. These studies were reported in the major health media, which, I realize, is not necessarily testimony to their accuracy. But at least they match the standards established by the medical community.

But it isn’t only the folks at RedOrbit trying to debunk natural care. Such articles pop up constantly like pimples on a teenager. One notable article a few years ago appeared in the New York Times and then was widely distributed. It complained that U.S. residents "do not appear to care that there is little, if any, evidence that many complementary therapies work"; and that "alternative therapy practitioners do not have a fraction of the training mainstream doctors do." But if those NYT authors had bothered to consider the fact that the training those mainstream doctors received results in 98,000 deadly errors annually, to say nothing about the disability and suffering caused by their millions of non-fatal errors annually; if they had recognized that there’s little if any evidence that plenty of mainstream treatments work (flu vaccines, hormone replacement therapy, and angioplasties for example), they might not have made the statement.

Of course not every alternative therapy works, not every herb affects a cure, and a few people here and there have allergic reactions to herbs; but the track record sure is a lot cleaner for alternative medicine than it is for the mainstream. Plus, the record speaks for itself: a plethora of studies show that natural substances and approaches often beat out mainstream medicine in effectiveness, safety, patient satisfaction, and cost.

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Jon Barron

Jon Barron is a researcher, author, lecturer and founder of Baseline of Health Foundation. He has wrapped his mind around every natural therapy known to man and brought it together in a whole body package--delivering a whole body “system” program, a high-end line of nutraceutical products, and cutting-edge functional foods and drinks for consumers to enjoy.

Combining his knowledge and research with modern science, he continues to pioneer the alternative health industry and help consumers world-wide with his free health information and natural health newsletter. You can also download a free copy of his cutting-edge health book, “Lessons From The Miracle Doctors” by visiting his website.

Jon Barron’s high-end line of health supplements for natural colon cleansing, immune system support, digestive health, and anti aging nutrition can be found at

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  1. bluebell says

    I read in my local paper about zicam warnings and withdrawing some of the products. Article lists it as a homeopathic remedy. I do not believe that it is a homeopathic remedy. The article also trashes alternative medicine and homeopathic remedies in general

  2. jentilpet says

    read new comments from Catherine Jennifer sacco..Jentilpet,sent it to be read by everyone.did not reply to anyone,there are those who write things,or better still,have an uneducated idea of logical,scientific proof,books written in the 70’s for instance,if you’ve never read them t”till now,or are too uoung..are just starting out in this more deep area! ,but the U,S will not explore w/ European doctors! Farrah Fawctt wanted us to know this!In Europe,they’re “way ahead”& that is bec- they are dedicated,unlike the U.S!!Greed is the dose of the day here,I can love my contry but Will Not Condone the truth,sure we need medicine,but not under the guise of side effects…that is not medicine!Pick one,but you must have the others too? Face it,the FDA,AMA are sooo Greedy,they’d never allow any natural medicine to really experiment,not Europe…Germany? yes& Switzerland,this is because there’s NO Motivational reasons there!Financial? yes..America has taken advantage of the “freedoms’ they’ve been given & taken advantage of,lessening the amt of medicine!This is why Saint Johns Wort,works for “depression” THERE,& not here!What do THEY know that U.S. doesn’t care to know…to cure OUR depression?Just think,there’d be nobody left to BE depressed,so goodby to Poisons like Prozac,all others that make one gain weight,blowing up, what happened to me…5days & that’s it,I stopped..”AMORYN for depression has been here for over 5yrs! Seledyn for anxiety…Altern’s…I will get them if it’s the last thing,and it will be the FIRST thing I do!!

  3. Jacqui Percious says

    I think that alternative treatments, if they are not just some kind of a scam and there are plenty of those out there, are excellent.
    My question would be though, why not go to a plant based diet and eliminate many of our major diseases such as obesity, heart problems, many cancers etc. etc. etc.
    There is irrefutable evidence pointing to the fact that the American diet is virtually deadly. Convincing anyone of this is another story. We are the fattest and unhealthyist nation on the planet. This does not have to be but will continue to be the case because of the lobbies of the Dairy Industry, the Meat Industry, the Junk Food Industry etc.
    Thank you and I hope to hear from you.
    Jacqui P

  4. jam427 says

    It is a very simple step, no Pharma made drug ever cured any thing, the fact is our bodies are designed to do so and will continue to do so when a balance of nutrients are being absorbed. Pollution and the irresponsible way we treat our water and how we handle our food supply is a major cause for our illnesses, there are some alternative cures for many illnesses, but are not beig used becasuse of the monies involved, using expensive and harmful approaches that even these Drs. who advise of these treatments would not let their own family undergo such treatments. Our bodies are a well balanced system and we have to do everything possible to keep it that way, with natural balancers as it was desingend to be, like Scurvy is a lack of vitamin C and Berie Berie of the heart is a lack of B complex etc etc. I am asking that manufacturers of vitamins and minerals use the best ingridients in the best absorbable form. We have to be wiser, it seems that most Drs. do not treat us as patients anymore but as customers, it is a shame. My Grandfather was a Dr. and he lived under the oath from the great father of medicine until his last day on earth, people be aware of G R E E D in this nation.

  5. jentilpet says

    I just “had” to comment on the word you used for alternative med’s…maybe they’re a SCAM?? You should be saying this about the modern med’s that are killing us each day! That is the way the FDA/AMA waqnts it,perhaps indirectly,they’ll never admit it,but let’s face it..what is the alternative?? Those imfamous sidffects cannot be denied!Does “any” dr. EVER tell you what to watch out for?Unless you read the accompanying data,and each time I found side-effects listed,I never knew about!These many poisons should be the “Alternative[s]” not the documented curative properties “natural med’s have” Seems much backward thinking,the very mentality,of those who never read,are not open to,nor did they ever explore the MERITS of Minerals,and the “source” from whence illness comes from…not just the “masking” of! Greed has kept Synthroid at the top of its list,thus thousands of women have gained weight& depression,because FDA will never allow anything that has proved better,like “Armourthyroid”,my dr. shook his head…against it when I mentioned it as an altern- to SIN-Throid which has made me 30lbs heavier…and I, like most of us who have “any” instincts know our own body[ies]!A dr. of 6yrs was telling me my thyroid was fine over&over,& simce I know it wasn’t from overaeting,nor bad food,as I eat the best foods,not as some do by buying cheap quick food,because of the laziness,many women choose to spend a fortune on “FAST” already made dinners,costing approx.$8 bucks,for one night! Yes,women have become lazy!Either they have cushy jobs,& money means nothing,or their husbands afford them an easy way out,Fast Food at home!This is not my problem! So, I know it is not the quality I eat! It has been said,”It’s fine” re: Thyroid levels is the biggest lie our doctors have been telling us,and Forbid if you challenge them,as I am more knowledgeable than him[dr] & he’s inferior to this! How dare he! I didn’t know the facts re: Amourthyroid” until I got home& founf out it is “Natural” unlike Synthroid” synthetic,funny how he has an answer for everything,but not the ones that explain the real,truth about alterns..instead he said “you know,you have to watch out for “them” too” Watch what? Certainly not 10 side effects,right doc?If he had a practice in a sane place where he’d never get away w/ it,but he’s in E.Pa/ Milford area,unlike where I lived for 40yrs..Suffolk County,Nassau county,the best! Of course Allentown,Pa has better ones but Primary Doctors have it made,factor the passive older seniors who never ask questions& then there’s me,who did!!He knew I was intellegent,& when he was against the wall,he dropped me…I am still going to write about this soon,I tried to take him to court,but the lawyers her are likened to defense atty’s..siding w/ the bad guy,cowards,if it doesn’t bring in millions? However if & when I do sue, it WILL be close,as 101 pgs of imflammatory REMARKS,lies,joking aboit me,when he knew I was an avid reader,an intellect..he was jealous,because he knew “I” knew he was INEPT,as they all are in East Stroudsberg,Pa!!
    “Amoryn” has been around for 6+yrs for depression& Seledyn for anxiety,I will get those!Not Effexor,which last dr.[2004] gave me,& I blew up..he never told me,warned me as to what to expect,one would think he were trying to kill me!Prozac? never, then another dr…a phyc,,Lamictal w/ Lithium,then Gurdon? not touched it yet!Phyciatrists hate natural med’s instead they’re tunnel vision mentality takes us into darkness!I’ve heard my MD actually say…”oh yeah…Synthroid& Lithium does interact!” really,so,what now?stupid w/ a DIP-Loma?The days of dedication are over,now it’s Prestige,& Money,then greed!I suggest this blogisphere try,explore,fight for…Farrah Fawcett’s message,that USA should work closer or just work w/ European doctors,who’s experimental,dedicattion re: cures, are no different than the FDA Approved,by who?Every drug on tv…everynight on TV,is STILL Experimental,perhaps in a different way!!”those poisons” should be the “altern’s”,we are going backwards! Miss Fawcwtts tumors DID INDEED shrink & disappear,what happened next was not because anything FAILED! “Cures” and What They Don’t Want You To Know About” Kevin Trudau…reality my friens! SCAM? what? Drugs today,are the scam!Where have you been?You’ll never feel better if you do not learn,educate yourself!Surround yourself w/ others who are intellegent,not cowards,it’s too late to be cowards! These were FACTS 20yrs ago,but FDA kept it quiet…they’re slowly being pushed ime they wrote for synthroid,they got,still do ..kick-backs from gov Approved,approving death…slow death that is,those drugs do not work! Alternatives do…read, there’s plenty of really good books exposing the government’s GREED!

  6. Anonymous says

    i think alternative medicine is such a good thing. It is saving alot of lives which is a good thing. ITs going to get to a point where insurance is not going to cover alot of this. In the future i hope they will.

  7. Rett says

    Great article. People need to know how they are being dupped by the FDA and big pharma and the food and dairy industries. Also these ads about soy make me want to pull what’s left of my hair out. They are bald faced lies. has important info everyone should read before adding soy based foods to your nutritional eating plans. It’s poison. It compromises thyroid function. It prevents absorbtion of vital nutrients. It changes hormon balances. Soy is some form has been added to foods since before the 1950s. Even Peanut Butter and all brands of mayonaise. Skippy Natural has no soybean oil. I found a recipe for mayonaise that anyone can find at With computers, we can find the truth. It takes dilligence and patience but it can happen. Another site that I find to be invaluable is I wanted Farrah to know about this but I knew getting that info from me was an exercise in futility before cancer took her life. She didn’t know me so why would she? If she had known about this therapy when she was first diagnosed, she would be alive today. I believe that with all my heart. Sugar feeds cancer. Oxygen kills it. I had two doctors, one who looked in my face and said he would always be there for me, send me certified letters giving me 30 days to find another doctor because I was choosing to use alternative, natural, nutritional approaches to my health issues. Before 2001, I avoided doctors like the plague. That would have been fine had I been taking better care of myself. I ate junk and smoked like a freight train. I was under a lot of stress because of an alcoholic husband. Much has changed since then. Neither one of us smokes now and he no longer drinks himself into oblivion. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. We must stop turning our bodies over to doctors who are guided by big pharma and take responsibility for our own health and well being. I am over weight and I have type 2 diabetes. I caused this by bad lifestyle choices. It’s slowly changing and I thank doctors like Jon Barron for educating and putting me on a better path.

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