Alternative and Complementary Therapies, Do Your Homework


Health Editor’s Note: Dermatology is the branch of medicine that deals with the skin, nails, and hair.  This medical specialty deals with both illnesses/diseases and with cosmetic issues. Complementary, alternative, or fringe medicine are all practices that claim to heal without using conventional, scientific-based methods.  Basically, alternative therapies are not generally accepted as part of the science-based healthcare system, but contrary to beliefs, billions of dollars are spent by the U.S. government to test alternative medicine. 

Complementary and alternative (CAM) medicine is a broad field which addresses the body health systems, modes of treatment, and practices that are, according to their users, associated with positive health outcomes.  Alternative medicine includes a variety of practices, therapies, and products that are possibly biologically helpful, but have not been well tested with studies, etc. 

Why does the medical world seem dubious of alternative practices?  Alternative therapies are not the same as traditional medicine although alternative therapies can be used in traditional practice.  It is easy to see how alternative medicine has grown in popularity and is used in some countries more than others.  What was previously branded as quackery (a term deserved if the alternative practice does harm, or nothing, or keeps a person from seeking treatments that will help) is now being looked at as either additional treatments to conventional treatments or as best practices for some illnesses/diseases that do not respond to traditional medical practice, therapy, or drugs.

Of course, traditional and alternative medical practices can be used conjointly, if they do not conflict with each other.  For instance, some drugs will react with herbals and cause unwanted side effects, such as prolonged bleeding or cause the original drug to be ineffective.  This is why you should always let your primary care person know of any herbals or supplements that you might have added to your health regime. 

It is immoral, unethical, and illegal to market alternative therapies as cures for cancer.  To create a false sense that a non-plausible cancer treatment should be used, instead of proven, although highly unpleasant, methods which have proven successful depending on the stage and grade of the cancer when discovered, is criminal and will more often than not, become a death sentence for the cancer victim. Always investigate who will profit.  It is not unusual to find that a “doctor” has invented a product and is extolling the virtues of it.  Check to see what kind of “doctor” this is and what he or she has to gain.

When faced with a decision to use less invasive (although with no scientific hope of cure) methods of a cancer cure, it would be understandable to choose a “treatment” that will not be as invasive as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, etc. The false hopes of using, laetrile Essiac, herbal and dietary supplements, Entelev, shark cartilage, electrical devices, healers, etc. and there are so many more out there, instead of facing the side effects from current cancer-fighting protocols, has the potential to cause death without a real fight against the aggressor. Nothing should be offered as a “cure” for cancer unless it has been definitively proven to be a potential cure. Cancer “cures” outside the oncology realm are “get rich” schemes for those who invent/advertise them.

Before you decide to use an alternative method for illnesses/diseases be sure to investigate and evaluate all of your options.  Your doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner, etc. will be able to help you explore your options. Be proactive in creating a health team that will work for you. The medical world is not opposed to alternative treatments that will truly help you. Choose wisely.

Remember that genuine alternative methods have met criteria and are safe and effective, experimental alternative methods have a foundation to work and are being investigated, and all “questionable” alternatives lack scientific rationale and are unproven. Do not take the easy/less unpleasant way out at the cost of your health/life……Carol  

Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Dermatology

Healthcare consumers are increasingly turning to complementary and alternative medicine, posing important challenges to dermatologists.

By Michael Broder, PhD

Reviewed by Roger S. Ho, MD, MS, MPH, FAAD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY

The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) such as herbal remedies and food supplements is increasingly common in the field of dermatology and appears to reflect a broad trend in medicine.1 Interest in CAM is sometimes driven by people seeking alternative ways to treat dermatologic conditions. “I find that many patients seek—or are at least curious about—alternative and complementary medicines,” said Peter A. Lio, MD, clinical assistant professor of dermatology and pediatrics at Northwestern University. “They seem to go this direction when diseases are not curable, our explanations are unsatisfying, or our treatments are felt to be unsafe or only symptomatic,” Dr. Lio added.

Understanding the motivations for CAM use and its prevalence in different populations may help dermatologists and other physicians navigate a changing landscape. According to the National Health Interview Survey, approximately 38% of adults in the United States used some form of CAM in 2007.1

Take Note

Use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is on the rise in dermatology and appears to be part of a broader trend in medicine.

Some 8 million people with skin disease used CAM during a recent 5-year period, with some of the most common supplements being fish oil, glucosamine, glucosamine chondroitin, and omega-3 fatty acids.

People using CAM typically seek to treat chronic conditions rather than acute conditions, and herbal remedies are the type of CAM treatment used most commonly.

In a recent study, Landis and colleagues analyzed data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) to assess CAM use in dermatology and compare it to use in other specialties in the United States from 2006 to 2010.1 The NAMCS is conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. They found that approximately 8,150,000 people with skin disease used CAM in this study period, with some of the most common supplements being fish oil, glucosamine, glucosamine chondroitin, and omega-3 fatty acids.1

For skin disease and all other specialties, 56% of the people using CAM were women. People 50–79 years old used CAM more than those in other age groups. By race, white people were found to have used CAM 3 times as often as black people and Asians or Pacific Islanders. The overwhelming majority of those using CAM had access to healthcare via private insurance or Medicare.1

Among all the medical specialties assessed, the percentage of visits with use of CAM documented was highest for cardiology, both in terms of overall visits in that specialty (7.6%) and visits for skin disease in that specialty (12%). Internal medicine was the second highest in overall visits at 3.9%. In dermatology visits, CAM was documented in 1.2% of all visits and 1.3% of visits specifically for skin disease. Other specialties that reported high rates of CAM use during visits related to skin disease included oncology (6.3%) and ophthalmology (3.7%).1 Among CAM users with dermatologic conditions, dermatitis of unspecified cause was the most common diagnosis (9.1%), leading other diagnoses including actinic keratosis (8.0%) and unspecified disorders of the skin and subcutaneous tissues (4.6%).1

Among the top CAMs used in dermatology are a homeopathic remedy available by prescription and used to treat symptoms of contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, and psoriasis;1 a probiotic that includes Lactobacillus acidophilus and L. bulgaricus strains and shows promise for the symptomatic treatment of atopic dermatitis;1 a compound containing bilberry extract and lutein that may help ameliorate keratinocyte damage from exposure to ultraviolet A light;1 and an oil-based dietary supplement that contains omega-3 fatty acids and has been evaluated in clinical trials for the treatment of atopic dermatitis.1

Other recent studies have investigated patterns of CAM use for dermatologic conditions. Sivamani and colleagues, for example, compared use of CAM for skin complaints among people seeking care at dermatology clinics and among those visiting primary care clinics.2 They found that skin-related CAM use was similar in both settings.2 They also found that people who use CAM are typically seeking to treat chronic conditions rather than acute conditions, and that herbal remedies were the type of CAM treatment used most commonly.2

In a review of randomized controlled trials, Vieira and colleagues found evidence to support the use of some CAM interventions to treat atopic dermatitis. Promising strategies included acupuncture and acupressure, stress reduction techniques, mineral baths, herbal treatments, some botanical oils, oral evening primrose oil, vitamin D supplements, and topical vitamin B12.3

It is important for clinicians to respect the wishes of people in their care who request CAM while steering them toward medications that have been adequately studied. “The dermatologist faces a dilemma because it is difficult, if not impossible, for the clinician in a traditional medical practice also to be an expert in alternative medicine,” said Dr. Lio. “The category is enormous and contains entire systems of medicine, such as traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, naturopathy, homeopathy, and more.” Part of the solution may be to communicate appropriately with people in care. “We’re really listening, and we’re earnestly trying to help, and that is good medicine no matter which tradition one might follow,” Dr. Lio observed.


  1. Landis ET, Davis SA, Feldman SR, et al. Complementary and alternative medicine use in dermatology in the United States. J Altern Complement Med. 2014;5:392-398. doi: 10.1089/acm.2013.0327. Epub 2014 Feb 11.
  2. Sivamani RK, Morley JE, Rehal B, et al. Comparative prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine use among outpatients in dermatology and primary care clinics. JAMA Dermatol. 2014;150(12):1363-1365. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.2274.
  3. Vieira BL, Lim NR, Lohman ME, et al. Complementary and alternative medicine for atopic dermatitis: an evidence-based review. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2016;17:557-581. doi:10.1007/s40257-016-0209-1.


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  1. I’m proud of how informed and intelligent the commenters are on this article! Now if we could just get people to stop agreeing to take chemo and radiation, that would make it impossible for these glorified drug pushers to continue to administer poisons masquerading as medicines to people.

    And what passes for ‘science’ today is probably the most biased garbage ever! Evidence Based Medicine is a hoax. They actually tell people that poison is medicine! It is a crime against humanity…

  2. CANCER CURE ***positivistically proven***:
    3 tsp of bicarbonate (ecological that is aluminum free)
    3 tsp of dark bread syrup
    1 cup of water
    –> Drink every 4h, for at least one week at maximum two weeks. Wait about a month. Repeat until your doctor has diagnosed you cured.

    How? First, cancer is a fungus – a mushroom – and has 5 stages, the fifth being death, and one should absolutely not hesitate complementing with this alternative. For you eat bread and sugar, don’t you? Mushrooms like moist, sour low/negative PH spaces, like under trees where the sun does not shine. Sugar is what nourishes cancer and as sugar has high/positive PH it means that when you eat it the body forces to compensate for the heightened PH and thus create a negative PH breeding ground.

    Cancer is killed by oxygen, which can be found in bicarbonate and often is used in baking when fermenting the bread. Dark bread syrup is what makes the cancer fungus open up like our pores open up when we are sweating, and this allows the bicarbonate to “sneak in” together with the sugar. If the set of cures are successful the fungus will release from where it is attached and at least in some cases, like belly or intestinal cancer, the fungus will come out with the feces. If so, you will find a yellow lump smelling full of chemicals – bicarbonate!

    • Positivism is the scientific method of the natural sciences meaning that each time a test is conducted it will confirm – positive – the previous test. This cure above has saved 4 humans by the woman given to me, and so many more by those she got the cure from – ZERO DOLLAR.

      Another COMPLIMENTARY treatment everyone with or without cancer should eat (or inject if breast cancer) is CBD. CBD was discovered by the scientist who has this site – – and who has the most experience on it.

      A microbiologist thanked in a Nobel Prize (biology) speech as being the main inspiration is Phil McNaughton at (then) Edinburgh University (contact them and ask for his article). In it you will find a third method for curing cancer as supposed to merely treating it. There is no question if cell toxins work, they kill you DNA cells – the cornerstone of life – of course it kills cancer, it kills every living things DNA.

      QUACKERY (a term deserved if the alternative practice does harm, or nothing, or keeps a person from seeking treatments that will help) is the definition of BIG PHARMA. The first and biggest obligation of a company is to make profit. Treating is then existentially necessary while curing is something less wanted and in the case of Phil McNaughton it was existentially threatening.

      Quakery is the definition of capitalism in relation to claims of healing, caring and treating.

      …and now you know why Humphrey Bogart was a Communist. 😉

  3. Hello All,
    Here is what I wanted you to take away from this article….mostly my comment before the article. 1) If alternative medicine. etc. keeps you from a real treatment that can cure you… is not a good thing. 2) If you take herbs/supplements, etc. and do not let your doctor know, whatever you are taking can be rendered useless or can create a situation of health emergency if they react with/to what your doctor has prescribed. 3)You can waste a lot of money and time on “remedies” that will not work. 4) Not all people (doctors included) who sell products worthy of quackery should be given your dollar. Carol

  4. Simply Astounding that VT would allow this article to go to print. Mrs. Duff’s purported MSN, BA, and RN amounts to, in my opinion, a whole lot of wasted time and money and are equivalent to brainwashing.

    “The false hopes of using, laetrile Essiac, herbal and dietary supplements, . . . instead of facing the side effects from current cancer-fighting protocols, has the potential to cause death without a real fight against the aggressor.” Oh really Mrs. Duff. You are apparently on the American Cancer Societies’ payroll.

    “An apple a day” – eat the whole thing including the seeds to get some Laetrile or Vitamin B-17.
    Essiac tea, a gift from our native Brethren in the Queen’s Land of Canada – a time tested cure for cancer.
    Hemp seed oil – the correct ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 for the human body. Works wonders on infections too.

    When the cancer industry announces a 2% or 5% success rate, what they are really announcing in a 98% or 95% kill rate. Get it? Got it? Good.

    After reading this article/garbage and perusing my brain, I am surprised you didn’t diss (as in devil) on the Omega Essential Fatty Acids or take this opportunity to bash on cannabis. I do thank you however, Mrs. Duff, for compelling me to chime in here at VT. I’ve been holding back, but the above article ‘takes the cake’.

    Please VT, could you hire an outside health consultancy, naturopath, or Chiropractic Doctor to review Mrs. Duff’s work before going to print. Thank you.

    “American Cancer Society: The World’s Wealthiest “Nonprofit” Institution By Samuel S. Epstein, M.D. The American Cancer Society is fixated on damage control – diagnosis and treatment – and basic molecular biology, with indifference or even hostility to cancer prevention. This myopic mindset is compounded by interlocking conflicts of interest with the cancer drug, mammography, and other industries. The “nonprofit” status of the Society is in sharp conflict with its high overhead and expenses, excessive reserves of assets and contributions to political parties. All attempts to reform the Society over the past two decades have failed; a national economic boycott of the Society is long overdue.”
    Published in: International Journal of Health Services Vol. 29, No. 3, 1999.

  6. From the Townsend Letter
    November 2009
    Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD
    interview by Andrew W. Saul
    “Some years ago, as I sat at lunch with Dr. Abram Hoffer, I took some vitamin pills. Dr. Hoffer leaned over towards me and said, “You know, you’re going to live a lot longer if you take those.” As I looked at him, he added, “I guarantee it. If you don’t, come back and tell me.”

    “So said the founding father of orthomolecular medicine.

    It was nearly 60 years ago when Abram Hoffer and his colleagues began curing schizophrenia with niacin. While some physicians are still waiting, those who have used niacin with patients and families know the immense practical value of what Dr. Hoffer discovered. Abram Hoffer’s life has not merely changed the face of psychiatry. He has changed the course of medicine for all time. His 30 books, 600 scientific papers, and thousands of cured patients have yet to convince orthodox medicine. Dr. Hoffer has said that it takes about two generations before a truly new medical idea is accepted. Perhaps in the case of megavitamin therapy, maybe it is three generations. Great ideas in medicine, or anywhere else, are never self-evident. At least not until a brilliant mind like Dr. Hoffer’s sees more than others have seen, and has the courage to speak out in the teeth of some often surprisingly bitter professional adversity…”

  7. Control groups for testing are missing location and soil types for plants, and birth dates and location of the patients. Run that data. Or share it.
    If a certain plant is used to treat an ailment, and it works 40% of the time, it is most likely going to work 80% of the time if those factors are included in the diagnosis. If time matters, and amino acids correlate with time by function, then it is a case of missing data. The problem with using alternative methods is incomplete data, combined with institutionalized legal problems created by a lack of inclusion due to religious dogma.
    Simple test, run the birthdates of stomach issues and ulcers. It all has to be personalized.

  8. Anyone who believes the so called “cancer scientists” of the totally corrupt FDA or NCI or NIH have sought to objectively and scientifically study alternative cancer treatments, without bias and even criminal fraud, is sadly mistaken. The first place to begin is to read the book “The Cancer Syndrome”, 1980 and its two sequels “The Cancer Industry”, 1989 and “The Cancer Industry”, 1996 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D. each with about 500 pages and 500 references. All these books are now out of print but if you search you can find them. Moss, originally from New York, has a Ph.D. in Classics from Stanford University in California. He thought he found his dream job as Assistant Director of Public Affairs at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NY in the 1970’s. Suddenly he lost that job because he refused to lie to the public about positive research results on Laetrile by a top scientist there. This disgraceful gross scientific misconduct by his totally corrupt employer MSKCC even made headlines in the NYTimes. In the subsequent nearly 40 years Moss has become a world authority on all forms of cancer treatment, “mistreatment” would be a more appropriate description. Every single effort by these criminals to “test” any alternative cancer treatment is fraught with fraud as documented in his great books. The totally corrupt American Cancer Society has obstructed even study of every non toxic cancer treatment. ..

    • The totally corrupt American Cancer Society has obstructed even study of every non toxic cancer treatment. I have been studying the failed war on cancer for over 20 years. My wife nearly died, not from breast cancer, but “treatment” mistreatment would be a more appropriate description. Winfield J. Abbe, Ph.D., Physics
      All approved cancer treatments are life threatening. Therefore when a patient is under orthodox cancer treatment dies, they could have died from the treatment or the cancer or both; usually from treatment but falsely reported as from cancer. The only way to prove the cause of death is to perform a thorough autopsy at a top pathology laboratory which is never done to protect the criminal doctors and pharmaceutical companies from legal claims. About one person dies every minute either from cancer or treatment or both. If you multiply it out this is over a half million victims a year! Obviously this is not success but dismal failure. Despite squandering between about $100 billion and $ 1 trillion on the failed war on cancer since 1971 your doctor can’t or won’t even tell you what cancer is, let alone how to cure and prevent it in the human body. Obviously something is very wrong in Dodge isn’t it? It has been known even long before 1971 that high dose Vitamin C kills cancer cells without harming normal cells! Otto Warburg, M.D., Ph.D., the greatest biochemist of the 20th century proved the prime cause of cancer before his death in 1970.

    • Read these articles for more proof of fraud in our totally corrupt medical scam in America today:

      “The American Cancer Society (ACS), “More Interested In Accumulating Wealth Than Saving Lives,” Warns Samuel S. Epstein, M.D.”
      The Origin of the 42-Year Stonewall of Vitamin C
      Robert Landwehr1
      Frederick R. Klenner, M.D. (1907-1984) cured all viral diseases including polio before 1949 with high dose Vitamin C!
      Dead Doctors Don’t Lie by Joel Wallach, N.D, DVM

    • If you read the above seminal books by Moss, you will discover a fraudster with an MD degree at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, with the name of William Summerlin. Do you know what this “medical doctor” did to fool others about cancer “research”? He painted spots on the backs of lab test animals! This episode even has a name: “The Summerlin Painted Mouse Affair”! He was given a slap on the wrist and permitted to keep his undeserved medical license. He could have been your doctor somewhere in the USA! The cancer industry is a gross fraudulent criminal corrupt expletive deleted cesspool. None of the fancy tests these criminals demand of new “treatments” were ever performed for the failed non treatments of surgery, radiation and chemicals approved by them! The war on cancer is the biggest medical scam of our time and the biggest medical failure of our time. Just another dismal disgrace for the totally corrupt government of the United States today and yesterday.

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