|So what DO doctors think about our tea and herbal medicine? While we mostly share the tea with individual customers, we are now providing the tea for a growing number of distributors, including medical doctor, who call with questions.
Throughout the years, as our tea friends have consulted with their personal physicans about the tea, most of these health pros are unimpressed with the formula, and shrug a marginal “thumbs-up” approval without much thought or hope for it to make a change. Then are amazed with how it frequently makes an incredible difference!
Alternative Medicine Editor for Prevention, Sara Altshul, says:
When I started covering alternative medicine nearly 20 years ago, I could count on one hand the number of MDs who practiced with herbs and supplements. To do research on the subject, I had to walk on the wild side: I’d wander Chinatown’s backstreets to poke around exotic-smelling herb shops, schlep to flower-powery conferences (complete with drum circles) at far-flung wilderness retreats, trek through Costa Rican rain forests to observe turmeric farming, and wing off to Berlin to meet German-trained docs for whom herbal medicine was a science, not some weird sideline. Back in America during those days, everything that wasn’t mainstream medicine was cast aside as “alternative,” and physicians who practiced alt med were dismissed as a bunch of unhinged hippies by, well, practically everyone in the medical establishment.
Cut to today. I’m talking to Aviva Romm, a Yale-trained MD. I’ve caught her at home in a moment of downtime from her work at the UltraWellness Center in Lenox, MA, where she practices family medicine. Romm is what you might call a “mainstream” doctor. But it’s not mainstream pharmaceuticals you’ll find scribbled on her Rx pad. “I use herbs as my primary treatment option, along with food and mind-body practices,” she says.
Romm is the rare physician who graduated from medical school having already practiced herbal medicine—before Yale she was a full-time herbalist and midwife. But today, conventionally trained docs are getting on board with herbs and supplements, too. The numbers of MDs who recommend them have grown exponentially over the last couple of decades. This is what patients want: 38% of American adults seek alternative forms of medicine—docs trained in herbs, supplements, and other natural interventions—for their health care. And we’re not just talking about the odd vitamin D recommendation. Romm treats everything from constipation to diabetes to autoimmune diseases. “I rarely write prescriptions at all these days,” she says. “And I haven’t once been disappointed in a patient’s results.”
In spite of my own faith in alternative medicine, I’ve frankly been surprised by how, in recent years, even the most Western-inclined docs suddenly seem to be looking to plants for inspiration. Why, with rigorously studied, highly regulated pharmaceuticals at her fingertips, would a clinician decide to suggest an herb? I posed the question to Daniel Neides, medical director of Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute. For Neides, it was one career-changing patient: a 55-year-old professional nanny whose chronic knee and hip arthritis made walking nearly impossible. “She’d tried nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, multiple knee surgeries, water therapy, physical therapy—and nothing worked,” he says. “Finally, I tried her on 4g of fish oil and 1,000 mg of curcumin (a compound in the spice turmeric) a day. Within 2 weeks, she was feeling well enough to get down on the floor and play with the kids; she told me she hadn’t felt this good in 25 years. Frankly, I was amazed.” Now, Neides uses supplements for many of the conditions for which he once prescribed drugs, and he says he often gets the same, if not better, results.
These miracle-patient conversion stories were plentiful among the MDs I spoke to. Others cited frustration with our medical system, which often keeps patients on multiple drugs for years with no cure in sight. “We have a diagnostic system that requires doctors to match a disease to its code number, and for every code there are ‘appropriate’ pharmaceutical treatments,” says Martha Howard, a family practitioner in Chicago. All too often, she says, this system encourages docs to prescribe drugs meant to suppress symptoms, rather than correct their cause. For instance, a doctor might prescribe a common nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory painkiller to block out joint pain when in fact a supplement could reduce the inflammation at the root of the arthritis. “This is often dangerous and sometimes even deadly,” Howard says.
But while herbs and supplements once considered fringe have made it into the realm of the white coats, so much remains murky. For every study showing that echinacea works wonders for a cold there’s another indicating it won’t help much at all. So how does the stethoscope-toting set—those docs who notoriously like to rely on research and statistics for their every decision—deal with that uncertainty? And what, pray tell, are they prescribing? I talked to Romm and more than 50 other doctors to find out.
The result is a mini-guide to alternative medicine, MD-style (get the mini-guide here at 21 Healing Herbs Doctors Trust). Take it to your doctor. At best you’ll walk away with new solutions to try; at the very least you’ll start an important conversation about treating your condition. Even if you don’t get a root cure, you may get at the root cause.
Well, that’s the end of the article — and how well we know that the tea DOES indeed often get to the root! How wonderful. I’m so excited about the information I’ll be sharing in the coming weeks.
Have a great day, and don’t forget that our 4th of July Sale is nearly over!