MOST of us see a bottle of an herbal medicine in the drugstore or along the sidewalk and wonder whether it could help get rid of cold or treat back pain. We also ask ourselves: Are they safe? Do these treatments work? Or are these just a waste of money?
These stuff are called alternative medicine. These are any form of medicine that is outside the mainstream of western medicine or conventional medicine as practiced a majority of doctors today.
An "out-of-the-mainstream" treatment is considered complementary if you use it along with conventional medicine, while a treatment is considered alternative if you use it instead of conventional medicine.
Real Doctors Offer Alternative
Alternative medicine has gone mainstream in Davao City through couple Dr. Diana Diaz-Calimbas and Michael Calimbas, both full-fledged medical doctors who opted to explore wellness instead of medication.
After passing her physician licensure exam in 1990, Dr. Diaz-Calimbas set up the Center for Alternative Medicine along Ponciano Reyes Street in 1994 where she became popular with patients seeking alternative cure to cancer.
She offers the whole treatment process and does not merely spring up a single concoction as cure-all.
They have has since diversified to “Autologous Adipose-derived Stem Cell Therapy and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatments” at iStem Davao located along Sobrecarey Street near Lapu-Lapu Street.
In a press release about iStem, Dr. Diaz-Calimbas was quoted as saying, "We have always been consistent with our advocacy to provide the body with the most natural healing process as possible. This is probably what sets iStem apart from all other stem cell clinics in the country today."
iStem is the first stem cell center in Davao. It opened in March last year.
Dok Vince T. Lambac of Dok Alternatibo Corporation (Dacorp) said the only key to make one well from any sickness or disease is natural healing, natural farming and natural livelihood plus faith in God.
"It does not need expensive medicines. Herbal medicines cure," he said in the vernacular.
Dacorp believes in the formula of: clean surroundings, total detoxification and lifestyle change.
Based on their website, Dacorp was established to engage into manufacturing and distribution of herbal products, food supplements and cosmetics products.
It also deals with the business of importing and exporting of manufactured products.
To date, Lambac said the corporation has established almost 80 branches all over the country and has served thousands of clients.
"Why do we need to spend much? Herbal can cure us. Conventional medicines would cost us more than P100,000, while alternative medicine only costs P10,000-P25,000," he said.
Herbalism ("Herbology" or "Herbal Medicine") is use of plants for medicinal purposes, and the study of such use. Plants have been the basis for medical treatments through much of human history, and such traditional medicine is still widely practiced today.
Lambac said the cheapest and easiest means of treatment for diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and cancer is taking herbal medicine. Sugar cane for diabetes, chili for hypertension, and anything that is chemical-free for cancer.
"In just seven days, OK na ka. Ayaw sa’g tuo, suwayi (In just seven days, you’ll be fine. Try it)," he said.
Why do people try alternative medicines?
Lambac said people do it for a variety of reasons -- conventional has not helped patients solve their medical problem; they believe that products derived from nature are healthier and safer than prescription drugs; they like the holistic approach taken by alternative medicine doctors.
A holistic approach, he said, involves paying attention to all of a client's needs to help her/him regain and maintain her health.
"These include not just physical but also emotional, social, and spiritual needs," he said.
He said conventional medicines and procedures supplies negative effect into the patient's body.
Thus, Lambac said while the conventional doctors use x-ray, Dacorp doctors apply physical analysis like checking the mouth and tongue of an individual.
Other machines used in examining a patient’s body like CT-scan and biopsy are highly discouraged in their belief and practices.
Lambac said alternative treatment only use substances that are found in nature, such as herbs, vitamins, and minerals.
Remembering Doc Flavier
Traditional medicine has been practiced since ancient times in every culture throughout the world and has been an integral part of human evolution and development.
In fact, the Department of Health (DOH), through its former Secretary Juan M. Flavier, launched the Traditional Medicine Program, which aims to promote an effective and safe use of traditional medicine in 1992.
President Fidel V. Ramos appreciated the importance of the traditional medicine program and signed into law Republic Act 8423 (R.A. 8423), otherwise known as the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act (TAMA) of 1997.
Since then the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) through its "Traditional Health Program" has endorsed 10 medicinal plants to be used as herbal medicine in Philippines due to its health benefits.
The 10 Medicinal Plants in the Philippines endorsed by DOH are:
A) Akapulko (Cassia alata) to treat tinea infections, insect bites, ringworms, eczema, scabies and itchiness;
B) Ampalaya (Momordica charantia) for diabetes (diabetes mellitus), hemofrhoids, coughs, burns and scalds, and being studied for anti-cancer properties;
C) Bawang (Allium sativum) to treat infection with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-hypertensive properties.
D) Bayabas (Psidium guajava) used as antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, antioxidant hepatoprotective, anti-allergy, antimicrobial, anti-plasmodial, anti-cough, antidiabetic, and antigenotoxic in folkloric medicine;
E) Lagundi (Vitex negundo) to treat cough, colds and fever as well as a relief for asthma & pharyngitis, rheumatism, dyspepsia, boils, and diarrhea;
F) Niyog-niyogan (Quisqualis indica L.), a vine known as "Chinese honey suckle”, used to eliminate intestinal parasites;
G) Sambong (Blumea balsamifera) used to treat kidney stones, wounds and cuts, rheumatism, anti-diarrhea, anti spasms, colds and coughs and hypertension;
H) Tsaang gubat (Ehretia microphylla Lam) to treat skin allergies including eczema, scabies and itchiness wounds in child birth;
I) Ulasimang Bato | Pansit-Pansitan (Peperomia pellucida) in treating arthritis and gout; and
J) Yerba Buena (Clinopodium douglasii) to relive body aches and pain due to rheumatism and gout.
However, alternative medicines and treatment, too, have downsides.
According to http://www.womenshealth.gov/, some alternative medicine products, although derived from plants, can cause health problems.
Nevertheless, questions as to whether these alternative and traditional products are safe or not, effective or not, everything just boils down into the famous line “health is wealth.”
Indeed, each of us are in charge of our body and health.
These illnesses and diseases are only avoided by not indulging too much or too little into something and that's basically done by committing to a healthier lifestyle. (ANC with SAE)