I heard belatedly that a childhood friend of mine had undergone a serious heart operation involving multiple by-passes. My understanding was that it was a life-or-death situation but fortunately he survived. I was rather dismayed (and surprised) that he had let himself get so bent out of shape, considering he was a doctor.
Nonetheless I was sure he would not want to go there again and so I rang him.
Here's what happened. It is a true story.
I rang my friend and told him I knew of a substance, a natural food, a fruit, which was highly regarded by Dr. James Duke, a world renowned ethnobotanist who spent 30 years with the USDA, had written 29 books and maintained the world's most complete database of biological activities of foods and herbs and who had catalogued a fruit that was an absolute blessing for people with heart problems.
Indeed Dr Duke had isolated 3 compounds in this fruit that were anti-atherosclerotic and prevented deposition of plaque in the arteries; one compound that was anti-arrhythmic and prevented irregular heart beat; 4 compounds that were anti-hypertensive and lowered blood pressure; 4 compounds that were hypo-cholesterolemic and lowered cholesterol levels and another 5 compounds that were vasodilators - that is, they dilated the blood vessels and allowed the blood to flow freely. And I told my friend that the name of this fruit was mangosteen and that he should check it out!
I thought he would jump at this and say, "Andrew, get me some of that stuff!"
But he didn't jump at it, nor did he get any of that "stuff". All he did was ask me if there had been any clinical trials.
Now that was a valid question, especially for a doctor who was trained in the scientific approach to medicine and I had to answer him, no.
I explained that the fruit had been used for hundreds of years, possibly thousands, in South-east Asia for medicinal purposes and that it had been used in China ever since the Ming Dynasty for its anti-inflammatory properties, but the fruit had only been recently introduced into the West and as yet there were no clinical tests. All tests so far were in vitro, that is, they'd been performed in laboratories on lab animals and/or cultures. They were valid tests, but not clinical and not double blind.
My friend thanked me and said he wanted something clinically tested. He said he wanted to be sure!
I told him, yeah, I could understand that, but this particular fruit had centuries of folklore behind it and it had stood the test of time. My friend patiently explained, "Andrew, that's just stories. We don't know if we can trust them."
So absolute was my friend's trust in the system that had trained him that he had closed the door on anything that fell outside that system.
And he was not alone. Doctors in general take a dim view of folk medicine and an even dimmer view of the folklore behind it because it is more often than not passed on by word of mouth and by people who are not medically trained, and sometimes not even literate.
Now I have a huge problem with that - not with the verbal transmission, nor with the lack of medical training of the transmitters, but with our doctors' refusal to countenance anything that does not fall within their, I'm afraid, rather narrow parameters of "correct medicine".
I hasten to add that their distrust of folklore is not malicious; doctors are simply saying that the stories that have been passed down for centuries are subjective, and therefore liable to error. For example a peasant might have reported that the mangosteen cured his fever, but that would not be enough for a doctor. The doctor would need to know the full circumstances because it is quite possible that the fever subsided on its own. And so our doctors are, perhaps justifiably, somewhat skeptical of folklore.
But they are wrong!
They are wrong to dismiss folklore out of hand because of perceived shortcomings. Folklore that has been passed down through the centuries constitutes a valid body of knowledge and evidence that should not be discounted, and doctors who do so are displaying a very definite blind spot because they base their own practice of medicine on very similar subjective reports. In other words, in their very own surgeries, doctors listen to first hand, subjective accounts of their patients' problems all day long. And, based to a large degree on these first hand, subjective accounts of symptoms, the doctors will make a diagnosis and prescribe a potentially deadly drug.
The argument I am propounding is that the folklore, the first hand experiences behind the mangosteen fruit (and other wholefood supplements) is not to be ignored.
To be sure, inaccuracies will creep into the folklore, especially over time, but when you have years and years, and centuries and centuries of reports, all pointing in the same direction then that constitutes valid proof that the food/supplement in question does do what they say it does.
It is what they call statistical proof and it is no different to "proof" in clinical trials and double blind tests which never produce 100% positive results. Clinical and double blind tests are considered "proof" when a statistically significant number of people respond favorably.
There is never going to be 100% proof either with the clinical tests, or with folklore and to expect 100% proof with folklore and to tolerate less with clinical tests is, I submit, a clear case of the old double standard alive and well in the halls of academe!
I propose that the medical establishment open the doors of academe and allow in a breath of fresh air. I propose that folklore should be given the rightful place it deserves as part of our heritage and as part of an ongoing medical tradition that is still with us today and still has much to offer.
I propose further that medical folklore is valid evidence and it should be taken into account in the interests of giving patients the very best chance and the widest range of possibilities for effecting a cure. And unless doctors do that they are not acting in the best interests of their patients.
IN CONCLUSION Doctors have every right to pursue a narrow field of endeavor (drugs and surgery) if they so wish. But it is not so simple. The stark, naked basic fact is that the only medical help most people get is their general practitioner and the specialists he or she may recommend. I argue that this severely limits the healing options open to most people and doctors are remiss in their duties in not offering a wider range of healing options.
Article Source: http://www.abcarticledirectory.com
Andrew Toth is the author of Mangosteen - The Unfair Advantage. The book, at over 300 pages, is the most comprehensive book on this revolutionary new supplement. But it is not just about the mangosteen. The book is about Well-Being and contains new material to help you maintain health and keep illness at bay. You can access the book HERE
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