Originally posted by FabianFnas
I agree that non-traditional treatment can be harmful, I haven't denied that. This site, http://whatstheharm.net/scientificstudies.html, shows just that, I don't deny that.
I say that you should always try real doctors first, always!
But then we have the placebo effect. We should never deny that. We've discussed this before, I don't like to repeat m ...[text shortened]... re tinnitus, untreatable. Do you think Ginco Biloba can help him? For real or by placebo?
I would argue that hundreds of years ago real doctors didn't really deserve to be called doctors by anything close to our standards.
One of the major reasons why medicine has advance as it has in basically just the last 100 years is that they have started to truly look at things scientifically and methodically. Yes, there have been grave mistakes and misunderstandings of our own bodies, but we can only choose to use the best knowledge that we have today rather than reject it just because it could be proven wrong in the future.
Doctors can't fix everything of course. Doctors can't fix cancer or AIDS, but stopping treatment by doctors to go to a homeopath for the placebo effect is idiocy. Complimenting the standard medical practice with herbal medicines is definitely an option, however this should be done in concert with your doctor and not as a replacement.
Part of the problem with a lot of herbal remedies is that they have side effects that their manufacturers have NO requirement to publish. Also, due to the fact that the are perceived as being neutral, people don't tend to tell their real doctors that they are taking them.
For example, ginkgo biloba prevents blood clotting and hence should not be taken for a time before surgery. If your friend takes ginkgo biloba regularly and then requires surgery he would be putting himself at risk if he doesn't know this and doesn't stop taking it a good amount of time before his surgery.
I'm not saying that your friend taking ginkgo biloba is inherently irresponsible. Of all the alternative remedies, I think herbal remedies do have potential since, as opposed to homeopathy, they actually can have a real effect. I just think we need to be aware that these effects haven't been fully tested and there is no standard on dosage.
The problem is when you think of these things as a replacement. In your friend's case I would say he should still talk to doctors who should be able to prescribe medication to manage pain, etc..at least and make sure they know that he is also taking or considering ginkgo biloba.
Another question I have is that if you know it's a placebo, does it still have the placebo effect?