(In my last of four posts about the effectiveness of natural health care, I offer two videos.)
1. Video #1: Numen: The Healing Power of Plants by Terrence Youk and Ann Armbrech (2009).
Numen is as much about the environmental health crisis as about plant-based medicine. It stresses that herbal medicine, the primary form of medical treatment for most of human history, remains the primary form of medical intervention for most of the world’s inhabitants. The western medical model that developed in the industrialized world is a fluke. It also has major drawbacks as well as advantages. Rates of chronic illness – such as diabetes, arthritis, and autoimmune and neurodegenerative disease – a far higher in developed countries. Even as our deaths from trauma and infectious disease decline sharply.
According to the film, it’s not western medicine per se causing an increase in these chronic illnesses. The main cause is heavy exposure to a score of industrially produced chemicals. A 2005 study by the Center for Disease Control reveals that Americans carry an average of 148 toxic chemicals in their bloodstream. Even more alarming, these toxins concentrate in breast milk which, ironically, has become the most toxic baby food available.
The scientific explanation Numen offers for the effectiveness of plant-based medicine seems quite reasonable. Human beings, who share 60% of the same DNA as a banana, co-evolved with advanced plant species over millions of years.
The video can’t be embedded owing for copyright reasons. However it can be seen for free at Dr Mercola’s website
Video #2: The Cancer Report Health Wyze (2011)
The Cancer Report is really a slide show set to music (I recommend turning your volume down). It also explores the link between a dramatic increase in environmental toxins and the current cancer epidemic. Prior to the 20th century, cancer was considered a medical oddity. Much of the film traces the role of oil and chemical baron John D Rockefeller in funding medical schools in the US and Canada – provided they agreed to discard traditional holistic methods in favor of drug-based (chemical-based) treatment.
I found the section on Dr Otto Warburg, who won the 1931 Nobel Prize for Medicine, particularly enlightening. Warburg identified how and why cancer cells develop – specifically as a result of cells being deprived of oxygen. According to the video, most “alternative” cancer therapies are based on Warburg’s work, in that they try to increase cell oxygenation. In chemotherapy, in contrast, patients are given powerful poisons that often kill them rather than the cancer. Moreover chemotherapy never cures the cancer, but merely sends it into remission.
The last half of The Cancer Report catalogs the most effective alternative cancer therapies, providing a detailed description of how they were developed, how they work, and their relative success rate.
The data presented about the poor survival rates related to chemotherapy and radiation therapy are both accurate and concerning. Five years ago, a close friend opted for a grueling course of chemotherapy that offered zero chance of remission and a 33% chance of extending her life for six months. In her shoes, I definitely would have opted for one of the alternative treatments outlined in the film.
Caveat: There are a number of claims made in the video that can’t be substantiated – for example that mammograms cause breast cancer. It’s true that any radiation exposure increases cancer risk and that mammograms don’t reduce breast cancer deaths (see How Mammograms Don’t Save Lives). The fact remains medical science still has no way of linking a specific cancer to a specific environmental exposure.