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Complementary and Alternative Therapies - views from contributors to 'The Conversation'

Complementary and Alternative Therapies - views from contributors to 'The Conversation'

The Conversation, an independent source of news and views, sourced from the academic and research community and delivered direct to the public, has just published a range of articles about complementary and alternative therapies.

Click on the links below the article titles for a range of views on different aspects of this always topical subject.

Here’s why we should research alternative therapies

Herbal medicines – toxic side effects and drug interactions

Alternative medicine research must be publicly funded

Can we scientifically test herbal medicines?

Yes: Quality research of herbal medicines is possible

No: We can’t have reliable evidence for herbal therapies

Some previous related posts:

Dr Jeff Sharman's blog on Nutritional Supplements

Cllcanada's post on a good website to learn more about herbal remedies

Prof Terry Hamblin on Alternative therapies for CLL


Remember that if you are taking any supplement in an attempt to improve your health, your liver and kidneys will need to process and eliminate what you are taking. You owe it to yourself to keep these organs in good health so that you can continue to enjoy life and, if treatment for your CLL becomes necessary, your body can deal with the toxic chemicals involved.

As Chris (Cllcanada) said elsewhere regarding trying herbal and natural remedies:

Please remember this... Talk to your doctor first.

What you read about botanicals is based on people with healthy immune systems in nearly all cases, if there are clinical trials, which often there aren't.

We CLLers are not in that healthy group... so PLEASE talk to your doctor before trying so called herbal and natural remedies...

A friend a number of years ago with CLL tried Black Cohosh for symptoms of menopause and it nearly killed her.

Just because your friend's cousin's auntie had great results with some herb, doesn't mean you will!"


4 Replies

Thanks Neil

This should indirectly answer a number of questions especially for the newly diagnosed.


Great picture


I always liked Dr. Hamblin's quip...

The real problem with alternative medicine is that once any treatment is shown beyond doubt to be effective, it ceases to be 'alternative' and becomes just like any other part of medical knowledge. That means that 'alternative medicine' must consist entirely of unproven treatments.



I think research is important...

Dr. Neil Kay of the Mayo Clinic recently responded to this question:

How feasible do you think natural/homeopathic options are for prevention/cure (of CLL)?

"The tendency is to dismiss these options because

they are routinely never tested in clinical trials.

However in my opinion we should be paying

attention to any anecdotal reports because there

are many documented instances where patients

are taking certain alternative therapies and get

better. Some of it seems hard to believe, but if these

compounds are available for safe testing and you

can validate these through appropriate clinical trials,

it seems to me that it is something we should be

thinking about."


Which is why we should record for later scientific investigation folklore remedies in the world's many cultures and also do our best to conserve the world's biodiversity. Just because we can't presently see a use for anything doesn't make it worthless.

Regarding homeopathy, I do have trouble understanding how water can form a memory of an 'active' ingredient that has been diluted out of existence and not other substances with which it has been in contact. In both the UK and Australia, there's been recent controversy over using government funding and private health insurance to support homeopathic remedies. That said, there's no doubt that placebos work better than some prescribed medicines!


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