Alternative or complementary medicine is used to describe medical treatments that are used instead of or in support of the modern western therapies to achieve a better outcome.It is also known as integrative medicine.

Radio Nigeria Reporter Anthonia Akanji spoke with the Chief Medical Director, Queens Specialist Hospital, Ibadan when he featured on the station’s health programme FOCUS on the pros and cons of this alternative method of treatment.

Here are some excerpts from the interview.

Q….When we talk about alternative medicine,what is it and what does it entail.

A…. Alternative medicine is an approach to treating diseases using natural products which includes plants ,animals and minerals.In essence ,it means that you give all these products like herbs and we know that the body can heal itself when it has natural supply of all these nutrients.

Q….So when these products are used in the treatment of patients,they get better and don’t need medication again?

A……What happens is that we practice complementary medicine that is combining the western modern medicine with traditional/ herbal medicine,that makes it alternative . Somebody comes in with fulminating infection, alternative medicine will take a longer time but you can quickly arrest the infection whereby you complement with modern western medicine.

Q….What are the processes involved in the use of alternative medicine .

A….. When a patient comes in for instance,we use western medicine to diagnose and know what is actually wrong with the patient.Traditional medicine is dated 60 thousand years ago in Iran.People use their local knowledge, experience to use these herbs to treat .Then they didn’t have much diagnostic means but they were using local experience and they come out with good outcomes .The advent of modern medicine helps with quick diagnosis .Once diagnosed, pharmaceutical drugs helps faster in some cases.Somebody comes with very high temperature ,herbal medicine will not drop the temperature drastically but the pharmaceutical will.Then you can use herbal and complementary medicine to supplement .The body can heal itself when supplied with all the deficiencies in mineral nutrients

Q…..How safe,how popular is this method?

A……The medicine in terms of herbal,remedies and supplements is regularized and approved for use by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control,NAFDAC. All over the world, Over 200 million people are using herbal products and is regulated by the Food Drug Agency in America and Most of these products are standardized by international pharmaceutical companies and they will tell you the daily requirement of these nutrients like ginseng,garcenia.
What we are saying is that the herbals have advantage when it comes to the treatment of cancer it is not destructive like chemotherapy with poor prognosis.Alternative medicine heal the patients while they are taking natural products.A lot of these cancers have been found to be due to deficiencies in some minerals like calcium and magnesium and by the time they take these and other nutrients like lycopene,beta Sistosterol , natural components from plants,vitamin D3,garlina,they are natural in the body.When chemotherapy comes in ,radiotherapy comes in, aggressive surgery comes in,they are invasive.

Q….what qualifies a person who practice alternative medicine.? To be an Homeopathic Doctor, you must have qualified as a medical doctor,you have the knowledge to diagnose and to know which one to use specifically.You have to acquire the knowledge,even now there are courses in the Universities on plants and management of Illness.The herbalists and traditionalist have no medical knowledge.In fact Homeopathy started in the 18th century in Germany by Dr Samuel Heineman who was a doctor and a chemist.

Q…..We are not talking about herbalists o but about people who are specialist first in medicine before acquiring additional knowledge as Homeopaths.

A……Yes,you adopt complementary approach in the medicine practice. Prevention is better than cure.For instance in Nigerian now more than a 100 thousand people die of cancer,one third can be prevented,one third can be treated if discovered early and the final third can have palliative treatment in their final stages but the key word is prevention which is cheaper,safer and better than cure.

Q….Are you saying that non communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes, Hypertension can be cured with alternative medicine?

A….. Yes,they can be cured. Most of these diseases have risk factors like family history,age,sex,and diets. Most of these junk foods are high risk factors for most of these diseases. Also, exercise is very important.If you don’t exercise you will be prone to these diseases. Weight Control,if you are obese you run the risk of these diseases.What causes diseases are deficiencies in the body and once they are supplemented the person gets better. For example a person with prostrate cancer can eat pumpkin seed because it has a lot of Zinc that is good for the body. Use tomatoes because it has a lot of lycopene that is good for the cell membrane, That way you eat healthy and live healthy.

Q…..Words of advice.

A…… Prevention, Prevention is the key word.It is cheaper,Safer and better than cure.Let people embrace a healthy lifestyle ,too much alcohol is not good as it suppresses the immune system.Eat healthy to live healthy.

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