He then follows up with the point: "If you are one of the six million Brits who use 'alternative medicine' - now a £1.5 billion-a-year industry - you cannot sneer at the Jesus Diet dupes. There is no more scientific evidence for the alternative treatments that now fill a corner of every chemist in Britain than for the Jesus Diet." Later, he quotes Richard Dawkins, one of Britain's most eminent scientists, who explains why, by definition, alternative medicine doesn't work: "If a particular alternative treatment can be shown before a panel of qualified doctors to work, then it isn't called 'alternative' any more. It's just medicine. 'Alternative' is another word for 'ineffective.'"
Amen--with one caveat. I think he was a bit too strident and dogmatic in his dismissal of all alternative medicine. I'm guessing some of alternative medicine (but no more than a small amount of it) will ultimately be validated by science. For instance, I have little doubt that green tea will probably be found to have some mild chemopreventative benefit when it comes to cancer. What will NOT be validated by science is quackery like that of Hulda Clark, a "naturopath" who claims to have the "cure for all cancers" and the "cure for AIDS." What is this "cure"? "Dr." Clark claims that all cancer is caused by an intestinal fluke and that she has developed a device (called a "Zapper") that will kill this fluke and thus "cure" cancer. Here is what she said in her book "The Cure for All Cancers":
"All cancers are alike. They are all caused by a parasite. A single parasite! It is the human intestinal fluke. And if you kill this parasite, the cancer stops immediately. The tissue becomes normal again. In order to get cancer, you must have this parasite...
"This parasite typically lives in the intestine where it might do little harm, causing only colitis, Crohn's disease or irritable bowel syndrome, or perhaps nothing at all. But if it invades a different organ, like the uterus, kidneys or liver, it does a great deal of harm. If it establishes itself in the liver, it causes cancer! It only establishes itself in the liver of some people. These people have propyl alcohol in their body. All cancer patients (100%) have both propyl alcohol and the intestinal fluke in their livers. The solvent propyl alcohol is responsible for letting the fluke establish itself in the liver. In order to get cancer, you must have both the parasite and propyl alcohol in your body."
Clark's other claims (documented in QuackWatch--you don't think I'd actually pay money for her book, do you?--I'm still trying to find a second-hand copy that I can get):
- The adult liver fluke -- which she misspells as Faciolopsis buskii -- "stays stuck to our intestine, (or liver, causing cancer, or uterus, causing endometriosis, or thymus, causing AIDS, or kidney, causing Hodgkin's disease)." Or the pancreas, causing diabetes; the brain, causing Alzheimer's disease; the prostate (causing prostatitis; or the skin if you have Kaposi's sarcoma.
- As soon as there are adults in the liver. . . . a growth factor, called ortho-phospho-tyrosine appears. Growth factors make cells divide. Now YOUR cells will begin to divide too! Now you have cancer. . . . Having propyl alcohol in your body allows the fluke to develop outside of the intestine.
- When the fluke and all its stages have been killed, the ortho-phospho-tyrosine is gone! Your cancer is gone.
- Clearly, you must do 3 things: (1) Kill the parasite and all its stages; (2) stop letting propyl alcohol into your body; and (3) flush out the metals and common toxins from your body so you can get well.
- It is not unusual for someone to have a dozen (or more) of the parasites I have samples of. You can assume that you, too, have a dozen different parasites.
- Three herbs, used together, can rid you of over 100 types of parasites: black walnut hulls, wormwood, and common cloves. But the amino acids ornithine and arginine improve this recipe.
- Use of these five products will kill the cancer-causing fluke in the first five days and the remaining parasites in another two weeks.
- It takes 5 days to be cured of cancer regardless of the type you have. Surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy can be canceled because, after Clark's recipe cures the cancer, it cannot come back.
- All metal (fillings, crowns, bridges, etc.) should be removed from the mouth, and all teeth with root canals should be extracted, because their presence damages the immune system.
- To prevent recurrence, stay on a maintenance program of killing parasites and give yourself a high-dose program at least twice a year. Also treat all family members and household pets.
- The method is 100% effective in stopping cancer regardless of the type of cancer or how terminal it may be. It follows that this method must work for you, too, if you are able to carry out the instructions.
- No matter what kind of cancer you have (or HIV or pains or weakness), a complete program of lifting the burdens on your immune system will miraculously clear it up.
I admit that Hulda Clark is a no-brainer example of quackery masquerading as "alternative medicine," and that discussing her in my first post is akin to the proverbial shooting fish in a barrel. (If some of the alt-med advocates on misc.health.alternative ever find my blog, no doubt they'll deluge me with nasty comments and even threats of lawsuits for having the temerity to call Hulda Clark what she is.) However, otherwise intelligent people still fall for her quackery because they are desperate to believe anything that might give them hope. In future posts on this topic, I'll look at examples of alternative medicine where it isn't so easy to distinguish potentially legitimate treatments from quackery. I'll also be talking about how people can distinguish the scams from alternative medicine that might have value and how a treatment for a disease (any treatment, whether "conventional" or "alternative") should be approached and evaluated for efficacy and risk. In my book, one's approach to evaluating the therapeutic value a treatment should be the same, regardless of whether it is considered "alternative" or not. This is usually not a simple matter.