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Thread: Which is better? Traditional or modern medicine ?

  1. #1 Which is better? Traditional or modern medicine ? 
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    Which is better ? Modern or traditional medicine is better and faster to cure sickness without side effects ? Example , sea cucumber used to cure wound and such more . Or other traditional medicine which can be take from plants and natural things.


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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    What do you mean by "traditional medicine?

    Maybe a quote from Tim Minchin's Storm would help:
    Alternative Medicine”, I continue
    “Has either not been proved to work,
    Or been proved not to work.
    You know what they call “alternative medicine”
    That's been proved to work?
    Medicine.


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  4. #3  
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    Modern medicine is a lot better than most traditional cures are.
    Just take a look at what people were dying of less than 100 years ago to understand the difference.

    New England Journal of Medicine
    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1113569


    This one is a little easier to read.
    Historical Changes in Causes of Death » Sociological Images
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    If traditional medicines worked better, then why wouldn't we be using those medicines now instead of the modern ones?
    I agree with dan hunter. Modern medicines are superior.
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  6. #5  
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    Or other traditional medicine which can be take from plants and natural things.
    Think about what traditional means.

    It might mean that plants have been discovered to have certain effects. Comfrey is called 'knitbone' traditionally and it does, in fact, promote healing of broken bones.

    You might think therefore that 'lungwort' has been demonstrated to have a beneficial effect on lung disease. Not a bit of it! It's called lungwort because the leaves look like lungs (if you stand on your head and squint a bit).

    Same thing goes for all those traditional impotence remedies. They look like , perhaps we should say vaguely resemble, the desired effect. And all those unrelated plants called 'resurrection' herb/plant/remedy. They're just plants that desiccate to survive in dry or other unfavourable conditions and respond when watered or fertilised. They are not miracle cures for debility or wrinkled skin.

    There are far, far more of the "looks like something" traditional plants and animals than those with demonstrated health benefits.

    And what on earth do tiger bones or bear paws or bear bile have to do with human health? Not a thing. It's superstition. Forgivable, understandable even, back before we had comprehensive medical knowledge. There's no excuse nowadays.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vehanwien View Post
    Which is better ? Modern or traditional medicine is better and faster to cure sickness without side effects ? Example , sea cucumber used to cure wound and such more . Or other traditional medicine which can be take from plants and natural things.
    A lot of modern medicines used are derived from plants and the chemicals found in them - aspirin is derived from willow bark for example. Other plants such as lemon balm are being researched and have shown efficacy for a wide variety of possible uses so it would be wrong to assume that modern medicine is not about plants and natural things. The problem with using them yourself ie just drinking lemon balm tea is the amounts you would need for it to be therapeutic - you would probably drown in it first.

    As for side effects both types can have them - in some instances in modern medicine the side effects are worse than the symptoms of the disease - it depends what medicine you are taking and what illness you have.
    "And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh" Nietzsche.
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    I have been involved with one form of western medicine or another for over 25 years- Military- trauma, pathology, nursing, microbiology, parasitology, ICU, Surgical, and so on. Pretty much the standard fare of any GP (with Dental). I just completed my Traditional Chinese Medicine training in NY, but have returned to BKK. So, I have a very keen appraisal for western and eastern medicine.

    I frequently stood alone in my recent school crowd when people would say such things as "Don't you believe..." it works or such nonsense. I would respond "Why do I need to believe anything? I was not looking to join anything." And so I completed my studies as a skeptic. However, in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), they hold that healing a patient before they are sick is the highest medicine. Not exactly sleight of hand. They believe in proactive medicine, alignment, diet, massage, qigong/daoyin exercises, etc. As preventive medicine it is quite useful. And yes, the underlying theory of 5 Elements does have things in nature with certain colors or attributes being used for healing parts of the body with like qualities and attributes. My mental jury is still out on that one but the Herbal portion of TCM is still a very powerful tool, and as internal medicine, it is nearly comparable with western medicine.

    Indeed, a good portion of modern pharmacology is built upon the direct experiences, over thousands of years, of their materia medica, and synthesis of many Chinese herbs. So, some of the core components of traditional medicine, in this regard, have useful applications and insofar as acupuncture goes, there are many areas where the WHO confirms either more studies are needed, or acupuncture has proven utility as a treatment for a, b, c, etc. In fact, as a palliative tool, I have personally seen acupuncture work for many people. Subjective, I know, but medicine is only subjective and objective.

    In conclusion, I think the best answer to the OP is that an honest, practical, and informed approach to patient care is best achieved when all available tools are considered. If the patient is "first," there should be no real estate to defend; just provide the best advice to the patient.
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  9. #8  
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    In China, more than 3,200 herbs and 300 mineral and animal extracts are used in more than 400 different formulas. Herbal formulas may contain 4 to 12 different ingredients, to be taken in the form of teas, powders, pills, tinctures, or syrups.
    Chinese herbal remedies are usually made up of a number of herbs and mineral and animal extracts. Typically, 1 or 2 herbs are included that are said to have the greatest effect on the problem being treated. Other ingredients in the formula are supposed to treat minor aspects of the problem, direct the formula to specific parts of the body, and help the other herbs work better.
    With the increase in popularity of herbal medicine, many Chinese herbs are now sold individually and in formulas. In the United States, Chinese herbs and herbal formulas may be purchased in health food stores, some pharmacies, and from herbal medicine practitioners.
    Before choosing a mixture of herbs for a patient, the traditional Chinese practitioner will typically ask about symptoms and examine the patient, often focusing on the skin, hair, tongue, eyes, pulse, and voice, in order to detect imbalances in the body.

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...tumAclV1ikj4nA

    This is still being used today so is it considered "modern" if so?


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    Traditional Chinese Medicine is not considered modern. "Modern' medicine is science-based medicine, for which at least studies on effectiveness and safety have been done or are being done. The medications have strict requirements regarding composition and are tested to be sure they meet these requirements.

    Traditional medicine is based on nonscientific belief about the nature of health and disease (whether that belief be in yin-yang, the humors, or spiritual causes). The remedies are based on historical practice and are not subject to effectiveness or safety testing. Nor are they tested to be sure they meet some common composition, so it is difficult to be sure the medicine is the same from batch to batch.

    FWIW,
    Clarissa
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    One of the most powerful "modern medical" ideas is that of evidence-based medicine. This can and should encompass traditional medicine techniques: let's test them, analyze statistically their impact on large groups, and determine their efficacies. Pharmaceuticals have undergone these practices, and until other members of the materia medica of various traditions have also been rigorously studied the pharmaceuticals have an edge: they are currently the bulk of evidence-based medicine. Let's broaden the approach to include a wide palette of potentially useful materials and, in each case, get some solid answers.
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    Pharmaceuticals have undergone these practices, and until other members of the materia medica of various traditions have also been rigorously studied the pharmaceuticals have an edge: they are currently the bulk of evidence-based medicine. Let's broaden the approach to include a wide palette of potentially useful materials and, in each case, get some solid answers.
    But let's use a bit of common sense - or to be technical, use some Bayesian priors* - to determine which particular plants and animal products can be abandoned for the time being until we get around to "testing" them. I'd suggest that bear bile, pangolin scales, rhinoceros horn and tiger bones can be discarded and disregarded from the outset with no risk of losing any worthwhile medicinal benefits and with great gains to the ethical status of the larger human family.

    Lungwort and resurrection plant (all dozen or more of them) and several other traditional medicine plants can be downgraded to when-we-get-around-to-it status with no great loss to the pharmacopeia and with measurable benefit to the ecology of some small regions.

    *Prior probability - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    Quote Originally Posted by anticorncob28 View Post
    If traditional medicines worked better, then why wouldn't we be using those medicines now instead of the modern ones?
    I agree with dan hunter. Modern medicines are superior.
    Well, we still use aspirin and opioids, which have been around for ages and discovered by different groups independently. The only difference I can see in the definition is the attempt to prove experimentally what works, and perhaps tweaking the molecular structure of compounds in a lab.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Or other traditional medicine which can be take from plants and natural things.

    Same thing goes for all those traditional impotence remedies. They look like , perhaps we should say vaguely resemble, the desired effect.

    There are far, far more of the "looks like something" traditional plants and animals than those with demonstrated health benefits.

    For example, there was an amusing remedy in Spain consisting of eating lizards' tails for (ehem) making "it" come to life again.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Moulton View Post
    One of the most powerful "modern medical" ideas is that of evidence-based medicine. This can and should encompass traditional medicine techniques: let's test them, analyze statistically their impact on large groups, and determine their efficacies. Pharmaceuticals have undergone these practices, and until other members of the materia medica of various traditions have also been rigorously studied the pharmaceuticals have an edge: they are currently the bulk of evidence-based medicine. Let's broaden the approach to include a wide palette of potentially useful materials and, in each case, get some solid answers.
    I think one of the difficulties of modern medicine is that doctors assume the medicine will do all the healing and so some of them lose the compassionate touch - like a prescribe and go attitude. One of the reasons people like alternative medicines is that they get to spend a long time in the consultation and the perception is the 'healer' really cares about their well being. My GP has 6 minutes per person and so do most of them in NHS practices and most people come out feeling they havent been listened to properly and its very frustrating - especially when they are trying to describe the largely indescribable.

    Having said that I also think (in this country at least) the effect of diet on health is ignored and often dismissed completely and more bizarrely regarded as alternative, hippy type approach. Most of our hospitals dont serve good, nutrient rich food any more and patients suffer as a consequence.
    Last edited by LuciDreaming; March 18th, 2014 at 05:22 PM. Reason: spelling correction
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    This might just be a huge reach, but I'd guess the medicine based on actual evidence is better.
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    This article on using honey to fight anti-biotic resistant bacteria is very interesting. I have used honey on a small weird patch of skin (about 4mm diameter) on my upper arm that just didnt seem to want to heal. Germolene would do the trick for a while but it always returned. It was like a tiny blister - the skin would come away but there was no blood and it would then start to form a thin crust which would also come away and it carried on like that for months. I gave some Manuka honey a go just because none of the topical creams I had used would arrest it permanently. It hasnt returned yet for 3 months which is the longest period without it so far.
    "And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh" Nietzsche.
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  18. #17  
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    Manuka honey seems to be a really useful external treatment.

    I presume someday someone's going to find out what's different about it and synthesize the chemical and standardise doses for pharmaceutical use. Until then the honey will do.
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    I was brought up on homeopathic medicine. Mom used herbs from the old country for most ailments. My parents did take me to the doctor......when they could catch me.

    I think both work but, there is a need for Modern Medicine in many instances.

    However, chicken soup....still does the trick! *chuckle*
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    I was brought up on homeopathic medicine. Mom used herbs from the old country for most ailments.
    Nuh, uh. Don't confuse homeopathy with herbal medicine.

    Lots of herbal medicine has some efficacy, even though most of it's not been tested and verified.

    Homeopathy is made up mystical nonsense. Nothing traditional about it. It was made up out of whole cloth in the 18th century. Hahnemann was absolutely right to object to bloodletting and similar "medical" practices of the time, but homeopathy is rubbish.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Manuka honey seems to be a really useful external treatment.

    I presume someday someone's going to find out what's different about it and synthesize the chemical and standardise doses for pharmaceutical use. Until then the honey will do.

    A possible combination of osmotic effects and chemical compounds such as MGO and peroxides.
    Member dan hunter and I have provided more information about it in this thread (cf. posts #9 and #38).
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    I was brought up on homeopathic medicine. Mom used herbs from the old country for most ailments.
    Nuh, uh. Don't confuse homeopathy with herbal medicine.

    Lots of herbal medicine has some efficacy, even though most of it's not been tested and verified.

    Homeopathy is made up mystical nonsense. Nothing traditional about it. It was made up out of whole cloth in the 18th century. Hahnemann was absolutely right to object to bloodletting and similar "medical" practices of the time, but homeopathy is rubbish.
    My terminology may be incorrect.

    When I was growing up and got sick.....we didn't to to the doctor.

    My mother made poultices and teas to drink and body wraps for treatment.

    AND THEY WORKED.

    So Adelady, I am still alive through all my childhood diseases based on my mother teas, poultices etc.

    They work.


    When the time came that we needed a doctor, my parents did not hesitate to take me...IF THEY COULD CATCH ME.
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    Yep. That's all herbalism/ folk medicine stuff.

    Not the diluted-beyond-all-reason-and-banged-on-a-bible homeopathy solutions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mat5592 View Post
    This might just be a huge reach, but I'd guess the medicine based on actual evidence is better.
    I certainly agree, although when you think about it, folk medicine was evidence based - they experimented on themselves, and if something seemed to work, they tried it again. They just didn't always know why something worked when it did.

    I remember having an conversation around 1988 or so with my grandmother who was born in 1903. We were watching the news and they were talking about saturated fat vs non saturated fats and heart disease. And she mentioned that in the hills of Kentucky, "everybody knew that." I laughed and said, "What do mean, everybody knew that?" She said "People always said that fat that was liquid at room temperature was better for you than fat that was hard. Chicken fat was better than pork fat which was better than beef fat." Maybe it was coincidence, but I thought it was funny.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DianeG View Post
    I certainly agree, although when you think about it, folk medicine was evidence based - they experimented on themselves, and if something seemed to work, they tried it again. They just didn't always know why something worked when it did.

    I remember having an conversation around 1988 or so with my grandmother who was born in 1903. We were watching the news and they were talking about saturated fat vs non saturated fats and heart disease. And she mentioned that in the hills of Kentucky, "everybody knew that." I laughed and said, "What do mean, everybody knew that?" She said "People always said that fat that was liquid at room temperature was better for you than fat that was hard. Chicken fat was better than pork fat which was better than beef fat." Maybe it was coincidence, but I thought it was funny.
    And yet..... No link found between saturated fat and heart disease - Telegraph
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuciDreaming View Post
    Yeah, I saw that too, but I wouldn't be surprised if they went back and forth on this half a dozen more times. It's been crazy lately in science news as far as dietary stuff goes. I think they've reversed almost everything that has ever been said in one week. Saturated fat is okay! Eggs are great!. Antioxidants cause cancer! Don't eat breakfast! There was the article below that says a diet "low in nutrients" (not just calories) is good because it forces the body to turnover and recycle stuff. I don't blame people for becoming a little cynical about it all.

    Eat more, die young: Why eating a diet very low in nutrients can extend lifespan -- ScienceDaily
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    Quote Originally Posted by DianeG View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by LuciDreaming View Post
    Yeah, I saw that too, but I wouldn't be surprised if they went back and forth on this half a dozen more times. It's been crazy lately in science news as far as dietary stuff goes. I think they've reversed almost everything that has ever been said in one week. Saturated fat is okay! Eggs are great!. Antioxidants cause cancer! Don't eat breakfast! There was the article below that says a diet "low in nutrients" (not just calories) is good because it forces the body to turnover and recycle stuff. I don't blame people for becoming a little cynical about it all.

    What causes these conflicting findings in the field of nutrition?
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

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    Personally I think its because they always focus on one element of diet alone. My personal feelings on sat fats is its not the sat fats alone that causes heart disease but the combination of sat fats and high sugar/carb intake. I have been on a ketogenic diet for 4 years which is 65% animal fats, 20% protein and 15% carbs and my ldl, vdl and triglycerides are textbook. Who knows I may drop dead of a heart attack next week but in the meantime I am extremely healthy on it.
    "And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh" Nietzsche.
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  29. #28  
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuciDreaming View Post
    Personally I think its because they always focus on one element of diet alone. My personal feelings on sat fats is its not the sat fats alone that causes heart disease but the combination of sat fats and high sugar/carb intake. I have been on a ketogenic diet for 4 years which is 65% animal fats, 20% protein and 15% carbs and my ldl, vdl and triglycerides are textbook. Who knows I may drop dead of a heart attack next week but in the meantime I am extremely healthy on it.

    Is it also possible that the focus of the population is different (i.e. different cultures, different age groups, sex, etc.) in the studies?
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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    RDFRS: The myth about

    The myth about ‘Traditional’ Chinese Medicine

    by Edzard Ernst

    not a long article but has links to more info.

    links to the interview mentioned

    Part 1

    An Interview With Dr. Paul Unschuld

    Part 2

    An Interview With Dr. Paul Unschuld, Part Two
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