So-called alternative medicine (SCAM) is widely used in Arabia. One of the commonly used methods is camel urine alone or mixed with camel milk. Camel urine is a liquid by-product of camel metabolism. Urine from camels has been used as prophetic medicine for centuries, being a part of ancient Bedouin practices. Camel urine comes out as a concentrated, viscous syrup because the kidneys and intestines of a camel are very efficient at reabsorbing water.
Camel urine is consumed and used for treating numerous ailments. Some employ it as a treatment for hair loss, for instance. The camel urine from a virgin camel is priced at twenty dollars per liter, with herders saying that it has curative powers.
A recent paper offers more information:
Camel is one of the important livestock species which plays a major role in the pastoral mode of life by fulfilling basic demands of livelihood. Traditionally, camel urine has been used in the treatment of human diseases. With regard to the health benefits of drinking the urine of camels, it has been proven by modern scientific researches. Camel urine has an unusual and unique biochemical composition that contributes to medicinal values. The chemical composition of camel urine showed the presence of purine bases, hypoxanthine, sodium, potassium, creatinine, urea, uric acid, and phosphates. The nano-particles in the camel’s urine can be used to fight cancer. Camel urine has antimicrobial activity against pathogenic bacteria. Its chemical and organic constituents have also inhibitory properties against fungal growth, human platelets, and parasitic diseases mainly fasciollosis in calves. The healthy status of the liver can be restored through ingestion of diet and minerals in camel urine. Camel urine is used by the camel owners and Bedouins as medicine in different ways. The Bedouin in the Arab desert used to mix camel urine with milk. Recently; the WHO has warned against drinking camel urine due to the modern attempt to limit Outbreaks of Respiratory Syndrome (MRS) in the Middle East. There is no scientific dosage for camel urine to be applied as medicine for different diseases and the ways of camel urine formulation and utilization for the care of patients varies from country to country. Therefore, the purposes of the present review describe the biochemical composition of camel urine will be scientifically extracted and formulated as a therapy rather than drinking raw urine and people’s health impact.
Researchers from the Medical Oncology Department, Comprehensive Cancer Center, King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia wanted to determine whether camel urine shows promise in the treatment of cancer. The aim of their study was to observe cancer patients who insisted on using camel urine and to devise some clinically relevant recommendations.
The authors observed 20 cancer patients (15 male, 5 female) from September 2020 to January 2022 who insisted on using camel urine. They documented the demographics of each patient, the method of administering camel urine, the reasons for refusing conventional treatment, the period of follow-up, and the outcome and side effects.
All the patients had radiological investigations before and after finishing treatment with camel urine. All patients used a combination of camel urine and milk, and treatment ranged from a few days up to 6 months. The average amount of urine/milk consumed was 60 ml/day. No clinical benefit was observed and two patients developed brucellosis. Eleven patients changed their minds and eventually accepted conventional antineoplastic treatments but 7 were too weak to receive further treatment and died from their disease.
The authors concluded that camel urine had no clinical benefits in cancer patients, and may even have caused zoonotic infection. The promotion of camel urine as a traditional medicine should be stopped because there is no scientific evidence to support it.
I fear that, yet again, ‘ancient wisdom’ turns out to be just ‘old bullshit’.
Acupuncture is a panacea, we are often told.
But is it true?
Of course not!
This study was aimed at evaluating the effect of acupuncture on myelosuppression and quality of life in women with breast cancer during treatment with anthracyclines (ANT).
Women with an indication for ANT chemotherapy were randomized into two groups:
- the acupuncture group (AG) was submitted to an acupuncture intervention, starting before the first chemotherapy infusion, and continuing throughout the treatment;
- the control group (CG) received no acupuncture.
A quality of life questionnaire (FACT-G) and peripheral blood levels of the participants were evaluated before and at the end of treatment.
A total of 26 women were randomized into 2 groups: AG (10) and CG (16). Of these, 26.9% had a dense dose indication according to the service’s protocol for the administration of granulocyte-stimulating factor (G-CSF) from the first cycle, not participating in the analysis. The need for secondary prophylaxis with G-CSF occurred in 72.7% in the control group versus 12% in the acupuncture group. Regarding quality of life (QoL), it was observed that the groups did not initially differ from each other. At the end of the treatment, there was a significant difference in the AG for the physical (GP) (p-value=0.011), social/family (GS) (p-value=0.018), and functional (GF) (p-value=0.010) domains, regarding the initial and final FACT-G showed a difference between the groups, where the GA average at the end rose from 80.68 to 90.12 (p-value = 0.004) and in the CG the average dropped from 81.95 to 70.59 (p-value=0.003).
The authors concluded that acupuncture was efficient in the secondary prophylaxis of myelosuppression during chemotherapy and the quality of life of women during treatment has increased.
My interpretation of these results is quite different from that of the authors.
Please let me explain.
The improvement of the quality of life can easily be explained via a placebo effect; acupuncture itself has not necessarily any part in it. But what about the effect on the bone marrow? Might it too be due to a placebo response, or the additional attention? Probably not.
Does that mean that this study proves a definite positive effect of acupuncture?
Because firstly the study was far too small for allowing such a far-reaching conclusion, and secondly one would need independent confirmation before accepting such a far-reaching conclusion.
The concept of ultra-processed food (UPF) was initially developed and the term coined by the Brazilian nutrition researcher Carlos Monteiro, with his team at the Center for Epidemiological Research in Nutrition and Health (NUPENS) at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. They argue that “the issue is not food, nor nutrients, so much as processing,” and “from the point of view of human health, at present, the most salient division of food and drinks is in terms of their type, degree, and purpose of processing.”
Examples of UPF include:
- Carbonated soft drinks,
- Sweet, fatty or salty packaged snacks,
- Candies (confectionery),
- Mass-produced packaged breads and buns,
- Cookies (biscuits),
- Cakes and cake mixes,
- Margarine and other spreads,
- Sweetened breakfast cereals,
- Sweetened fruit yoghurt and energy drinks,
- Powdered and packaged instant soups, noodles, and desserts,
- Pre-prepared meat, cheese, pasta and pizza dishes,
- Poultry and fish nuggets and sticks,
- Sausages, burgers, hot dogs, and other reconstituted meat products,
Ultra-processed food is bad for our health! This message is clear and has been voiced so many times – not least by proponents of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) – that most people should now understand it.
But how bad?
And what diseases does UPF promote?
How strong is the evidence?
I did a quick Medline search and was overwhelmed by the amount of research on this subject. In 2022 alone, there were more than 2000 publications! Here are the conclusions from just a few recent studies on the subject:
- Higher intake of UPFs was associated with higher incidence of Crohn’s disease, but not ulcerative colitis. In individuals with a pre-existing diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease, consumption of UPFs was significantly higher compared to controls, and was associated with an increased need for IBD-related surgery. Further studies are needed to address the impact of UPF intake on disease pathogenesis, and outcomes.
- In this prospective cohort study, higher consumption of UPF was associated with higher risk of dementia, while substituting unpr2ocessed or minimally processed foods for UPF was associated lower risk of dementia.
- In almost all countries and age groups, increases in the dietary share of ultraprocessed foods were associated with increases in energy density and free sugars and decreases in fiber, suggesting that ultraprocessed food consumption is a potential determinant of obesity in children and adolescents.
- Higher ultraprocessed foods consumption was independently associated with a higher risk of incident chronic kidney disease in a general population.
- These data suggest that a consistent intake of ultra-processed foods over time is needed to impact nutritional status and body composition of children and adolescents.
- This meta-analysis suggests that high consumption of UPF, sugar-sweetened beverages, artificially sweetened beverages, processed meat, and processed red meat might increase all-cause mortality, while breakfast cereals might decrease it.
- The consumption of ultraprocessed foods represents a significant cause of premature death in Brazil.
- Available evidence suggests that UPFs may increase cancer risk via their obesogenic properties as well as through exposure to potentially carcinogenic compounds such as certain food additives and neoformed processing contaminants.
- The high consumption of UPF, almost more than 10% of the diet proportion, could increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in adult individuals.
Don’t get me wrong: this is not a systematic review of the subject. I am merely trying to give a rough impression of the research that is emerging. A few thoughts seem nonetheless appropriate.
- The research on this subject is intense.
- Even though most studies disclose associations and not causal links, there is in my view no question that UPF aggravates many diseases.
- The findings of the current research are highly consistent and point to harm done to most organs.
- Even though this is a subject on which advocates of SCAM are exceedingly keen, none of the research I saw was conducted by SCAM researchers.
- The view of many SCAM proponents that conventional medicine does not care about nutrition is clearly not correct.
- Considering how unhealthy UPF is, there seems to be a lack of effective education and action aimed at preventing the harm UPF does to us.
Drip IV is “Australia’s first and leading mobile healthcare company specialising in assisting with nutritional deficiencies”. They claim to provide a mobile IV service that is prescribed and tailored individually to your nutritional needs. Treatment plans and customised infusions are determined by a medical team to suit individual requirements. They deliver vitamins, minerals and amino acids directly to the body via the bloodstream, a method they state allows for optimal bioavailability.
These claims are a little puzzling to me, not least because vitamins, minerals and amino acids tailored individually to the nutritional needs of the vast majority of people would mean administering nothing at all. But I guess that virtually every person who consults the service will get an infusion [and pay dearly for it].
The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) seems to have a similarly dim view on Drip IV. The TGA has just issued 20 infringement notices totalling $159,840 to the company and to one of its executive officers. The reason: unlawful advertising of intravenous infusion products to Australian consumers on a company website and social media. Ten notices totalling $133,200 were issued to the company and ten notices totalling $26,640 were issued to an executive officer. The TGA considers the intravenous infusion products to be therapeutic goods because of the claims made about them, and the advertising to be unlawful because the advertisements allegedly:
- contained prohibited representations, such as claims regarding cancer.
- contained restricted representations such as that the products would alleviate fatigue caused by COVID-19, assist in the treatment of Graves’ Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease, and support the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis. No TGA approval had been given to make such claims.
- referred to ingredients that are prescription only, such as glutathione. Prescription medicines cannot be advertised directly to the public in Australia.
- contained a statement or picture suggesting or implying the products were ‘TGA Approved’. Advertising of therapeutic goods cannot include a government endorsement.
- contained a statement or picture expressing that the goods were ‘miraculous’.
Vitamin infusions have become very popular around the globe. There are now thousands of clinics offering this service, and many of them advertise aggressively with claims that are questionable. Here is just one example from the UK:
Modern life is hectic. If you are looking to boost your wellbeing, increase your energy levels, lift your mood and hydrate your body, Vitamin IV Infusions are ideal. Favoured by celebrities such as Madonna, Simon Cowell and Rihanna, Vitamin IV Infusions are an easy, effective way of delivering vitamins, minerals and amino acids directly into your bloodstream via an IV (intravenous) drip. Vitamins are essential for normal growth and staying healthy – but our bodies can’t produce all of the nutrients we need to function and thrive. That’s why more than one in three people take daily vitamin supplements – often without realising that only 15% of the active nutrients consumed orally actually find their way into their bloodstream. With Vitamin IV Infusions, the nutrients enter your bloodstream directly and immediately, and are delivered straight to your cells. We offer four different Vitamin IV Infusions, so you can choose the best combination for your personal needs, while boosting your general health, energy and wellbeing.
My advice to consumers is a little different and considerably less costly:
- to ensure you get enough vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, eat a balanced diet;
- to boost your well-being, sit down and calculate the savings you made by NOT using such a service;
- to increase your energy levels, take a nap;
- to lift your mood, recount the money you saved and think of what nice things you might buy with it;
- to hydrate your body drink a glass of water.
Perhaps it is time the authorities in all countries had a look at what these clinics are offering and what health claims they are making. Perhaps it is time they act as the TGA just did.
In this study, the impact of a multimodal integrative oncology pre- and intraoperative intervention on pain and anxiety among patients undergoing gynecological oncology surgery was explored.
Study participants were randomized into three groups:
- Group A received preoperative touch/relaxation techniques, followed by intraoperative acupuncture, plus standard care;
- Group B received preoperative touch/relaxation only, plus standard care;
- Group C (the control group) received standard care.
Pain and anxiety were scored before and after surgery using the Measure Yourself Concerns and Wellbeing (MYCAW) and Quality of Recovery (QOR-15) questionnaires, using Part B of the QOR to assess pain, anxiety, and other quality-of-life parameters.
A total of 99 patients participated in the study: 45 in Group A, 25 in Group B, and 29 in Group C. The three groups had similar baseline demographic and surgery-related characteristics. Postoperative QOR-Part B scores were significantly higher in the treatment groups (A and B) when compared with controls (p = .005), including for severe pain (p = .011) and anxiety (p = .007). Between-group improvement for severe pain was observed in Group A compared with controls (p = .011). Within-group improvement for QOR depression subscales was observed in only the intervention groups (p <0.0001). Compared with Group B, Group A had better improvement of MYCAW-reported concerns (p = .025).
The authors concluded that a preoperative touch/relaxation intervention may significantly reduce postoperative anxiety, possibly depression, in patients undergoing gynecological oncology surgery. The addition of intraoperative acupuncture significantly reduced severe pain when compared with controls. Further research is needed to confirm these findings and better understand the impact of intraoperative acupuncture on postoperative pain.
Regular readers of my blog know only too well what I am going to say about this study.
Imagine you have a basket full of apples and your friend has the same plus a basket full of pears. Who do you think has more fruit?
Dumb question, you say?
Just as dumb, it seems, as this study: therapy A and therapy B will always generate better outcomes than therapy B alone. But that does not mean that therapy A per se is effective. Because therapy A generates a placebo effect, it might just be that it has no effect beyond placebo. And that acupuncture can generate placebo effects has been known for a very long time; to verify this we need no RCT.
As I have so often pointed out, the A+B versus B study design never generates a negative finding.
This is, I fear, precisely the reason why this design is so popular in so-called alternative medicine (SCAM)! It enables promoters of SCAM (who are not as dumb as the studies they conduct) to pretend they are scientists testing their therapies in rigorous RCTs.
The most disappointing thing about all this is perhaps that more and more top journals play along with this scheme to mislead the public!
The objective of this cross-sectional survey was to evaluate the beliefs about and attitudes toward cancer prevention of people professing vaccination skepticism or conspiracy theories. Data were collected mainly from a well-known Spanish forum and other platforms, including Reddit (English), 4Chan (English), HispaChan (Spanish), and a Spanish-language website for cancer prevention (mejorsincancer.org) from January to March 2022.
Among 1494 responders, 209 were unvaccinated against covid-19, 112 preferred so-called alternative rather than conventional medicine, and 62 reported flat earth or reptilian beliefs. Cancer beliefs were assessed using the Cancer Awareness Measure (CAM) and Cancer Awareness Measure Mythical Causes Scale (CAM-MYCS), both validated tools.
Awareness of the actual causes of cancer was greater (median CAM score 63.6%) than that of mythical causes (41.7%). The most endorsed mythical causes of cancer were:
- eating food containing additives or sweeteners,
- feeling stressed,
- eating genetically modified food.
Awareness of the actual and mythical causes of cancer among the unvaccinated, alternative medicine, and conspiracy groups was lower than among their counterparts. A median of 54.5% of the actual causes was accurately identified among each of the unvaccinated, alternative medicine, and conspiracy groups, and a median of 63.6% was identified in each of the three corresponding counterparts (P=0.13, 0.04, and 0.003, respectively). For mythical causes, medians of 25.0%, 16.7%, and 16.7% were accurately identified in the unvaccinated, alternative medicine, and conspiracy groups, respectively; a median of 41.7% was identified in each of the three corresponding counterparts (P<0.001 in adjusted models for all comparisons).
In total, 673 (45.0%) participants agreed with the statement “It seems like everything causes cancer.” No significant differences were observed among the unvaccinated (44.0%), conspiracist (41.9%), or alternative medicine groups (35.7%), compared with their counterparts (45.2%, 45.7%, and 45.8%, respectively).
The authors’ conclusions were as follows: we evaluated the patterns of beliefs about cancer among people who believed in conspiracies, rejected the covid-19 vaccine, or preferred alternative medicine. We observed that the participants who belonged to these groups were more likely to endorse mythical causes of cancer than were their counterparts but were less likely to endorse the actual causes of cancer. Almost half of the participants, whether
conspiracists or not, agreed with the statement “It seems like everything causes cancer,” which highlights the difficulty that society encounters in differentiating actual causes of cancer from mythical causes owing to mass (veridical or not) information. This suggests a direct connection between digital misinformation and consequent potential erroneous health decisions, which may represent a further preventable fraction of cancer. Cultivating oriented medical education and scientific literacy, improving online ranking algorithms, building trust, and using effective health communication and social marketing campaigns may be possible ways to tackle this complex public health threat.
This is yet another study showing that so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) usage is linked to misinformation and conspiratorial thinking in other areas. We have discussed similar findings all too often. They are hardly surprising, in my view. As I have repeatedly been trying to point out:
- SCAM use is based mainly on misinformation
- And, to a large extent, SCAM is little more than a conspiracy theory in disguise.
The best way to prevent harm must therefore be to educate the public responsibly (which, of course, is one of the main aims of this blog.
When I conduct my regular literature searches, I am invariably delighted to find a paper that shows the effectiveness of a so-called alternative medicine (SCAM). Contrary to the impression that I might give to some, I like positive results as much as the next person. So, today you find me pleased to yet again report about one of my favorite SCAMs.
The purpose of this systematic review was to evaluate the effectiveness of manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) in breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL) patients.
In total, 11 RCTs involving 1564 patients could be included, and 10 trials were deemed viable for inclusion in the meta-analysis. Due to the effects of MLD for BCRL, statistically significant improvements were found on the incidence of lymphedema (RR = 0.58, 95% CI [0.37, 0.93], P =.02) and pain intensity (SMD = -0.72, 95% CI [-1.34, -0.09], P = .02). Besides, the meta-analysis carried out implied that the effects that MLD had on volumetric changes of lymphedema and quality of life, were not statistically significant.
The authors concluded that the current evidence based on the RCTs shows that pain of BCRL patients undergoing MLD is significantly improved, while our findings do not support the use of MLD in improving volumetric of lymphedema and quality of life. Note that the effect of MLD for preventing BCRL is worthy of discussion.
Lymph drainage is so well-established in cancer care that most people would probably consider it a conventional treatment. If, however, you read for which conditions its inventor, Emil Vodder, used to promote it, they might change their minds. Vodder saw it as a cure for most illnesses, even those for which there is no plausibility or good evidence.
As far as I can see, lymph drainage works well for reducing lymph edema but, for all other conditions, it is not evidence-based. And this is the reason why I still categorize it as a SCAM.
Our ‘Memorandum Integrative Medicine‘ seems to be causing ripples. A German website that claims to aim at informing consumers objectively posted a rebuttal. Here is my translation (together with comments by myself inserted via reference numbers in brackets and added below):
With drastic words and narrow-mindedness bordering on ideology (1), the Münster Circle, an association of opponents to complementary therapies such as homeopathy (2), takes issue with the treatment concept of integrative medicine in a memorandum (3). By integrative medicine physicians understand the combination of doctor-led medicine and doctor-led complementary medicine to a meaningful total concept with the goal of reducing side effects and to treating patients individually and optimally (4). Integrative medicine focuses primarily on chronic diseases, where conventional acute medicine often reaches its limits (5)In the memorandum of the Münsteraner Kreis, general practitioner Dr. Claudia Novak criticizes integrative medicine as “guru-like self-dramatization” (6) by physicians and therapists, which undermines evidence-based medicine and leads to a deterioration in patient care. She is joined by Prof. Dr. Edzard Ernst, Professor Emeritus of Alternative Medicine, who has changed from Paul to Saul with regard to homeopathy (7) and is leading a veritable media campaign against proponents of treatment procedures that have not been able to prove their evidence in randomized placebo-controlled studies (8). The professor ignores the fact that this involves a large number of drugs that are used as a matter of course in everyday medicine (9) – for example, beta-blockers or other cardiological drugs (10). “Like the devil fears the holy water” (11), the Münsteraner Kreis seems to fear the concept of integrative medicine (12). The vehemence coupled with fear with which they warn against the treatment concept makes one sit up and take notice (13). “As an experienced gynecologist who has successfully worked with biological medicine as an adjunct in his practice for decades, I can only shake my head at such narrow-mindedness”, points out Fred-Holger Ludwig, MD (14). Science does not set limits for itself, but the plurality of methods is immanent (15). “Why doesn’t Prof. Ernst actually give up his professorial title for alternative medicine? That would have to be the logical consequence of its overloud criticism of established treatment concepts from homeopathy to to integrative medicine”, questions Dr. Ludwig (16).
The concept of integrative medicine is about infiltrating alternative procedures into medicine, claim the critics of the concept, without mentioning that many naturopathic procedures have been used for centuries with good results (17) and that healthcare research gives them top marks (18). “Incidentally, the scientists among the representatives of the Münster Circle should know that it is difficult to capture individualized treatment concepts with the standardized procedures of randomized, placebo-controlled studies (19). Anyone who declares the highest level of evidence to be the criterion for approval makes medicine impossible and deprives patients in oncology or with rare diseases, for example, of chances of successful treatment (20). Even there, drugs are used that cannot be based on high evidence, tested in placebo-controlled studies, because the number of cases is too low (21),” notes Dr. Ludwig .
- Ideology? Evidence is not ideology, in my view.
- We are an association of multidisciplinary experts advocating a level playing field with sound evidence in all areas of healthcare.
- The actual memorandum is not linked in this text; does the author not want his readers to form the own opinion?
- In our memorandum, we offer various definitions of integrative medicine (IM), none of which is remotely similar to this one.
- No, IM is usually being promoted in a much wider sense.
- This term does not appear in our memorandum.
- I am not aware that I changed from Paul to Saul with regard to homeopathy; I know that I was led mostly by the evidence.
- I feel flattered but don’t think that my humble work is a ‘media campaign’.
- True, I do not pretend to understand all areas of medicine and tend to be silent in the ones that I lack up-to-date expertise.
- Is he really saying that beta-blockers are not evidence-based?
- The holy water comparison from a homeopath, who arguably makes a living from dishing out ‘holy water’, made me laugh!
- It is most revealing, I think, that he thinks our motivation is fear.
- FHL is the author of the article, and it is thus charmingly naive that he cites himself in this way
- I somehow doubt that he understands what he is expressing here.
- I find this rather a bizarre idea but I’ll think about it.
- Argumentum ad traditionem.
- Those that get ‘top marks’ belong to evidence-based medicine and not to IM.
- Here the author reveals that he does not understand the RCT methodology and even fails to know the trial evidence on homeopathy – RCTs of individualised homeopathy are possible and have been published (e.g. this one).
- If he really believes this, I fear for his patients.
- Pity that he does not provide an example.
To understand FHL better, it is worth knowing that he claims to treat cancer patients with conventional and homeopathic medicine. He states that this approach reduces side effects – without providing evidence, of course.
Altogether, FHL does not dispute a single fact or argument from our memorandum. In fact, I get the impression that he never actually read it. To me, it feels as though he merely read an article ABOUT the document. In any case, his critique is revealing and important, in my view. It demonstrates that there are no good arguments to defend IM.
So, thank you FHL!
Max Gerson is well-known to experts in so-called alternative medicine (SCAM). After all, he invented the famous alternative cancer regimen, the Gerson therapy (previously discussed here, here, and here). Not that this treatment works – in fact, it is not just ineffective but also dangerous – but it has prominent promoters, not least King Charles III. As I say, Gerson is well known for his cancer quackery. What hardly anyone knows is that, before he dabbled in cancer, he invented an entirely different medicine.
Max was born as the 3rd of 9 siblings into a Jewish family on October 18, 1881. They lived in Wongrowitz, a part of Poland that at the time belonged to Germany. Max went to school in his hometown and studied medicine in Breslau (Wrocław, now Poland), Wuerzburg, Berlin, and Freiburg. In 1909, he graduated from the University of Freiburg and began practicing medicine at age 28 in Breslau. During WWI, Gerson worked as a surgeon in a military hospital in Breslau and was awarded the ’Iron Cross’ for his service. In 1916, he married Gretchen Hope; the two had three daughters and stayed together until his death.
In 1918, the Gerson family moved to Bielefeld (Germany), and Max specialized in internal medicine as well as neurology. During this period, Gerson developed an anti-inflammatory drug combination and made contact with a local pharmaceutical firm, ‘ASTA Medica’. On the occasion of the firm’s recent 100th jubilee, a German newspaper reported: “The company did business with the well-known Bielefeld physician and inventor Dr. Max Gerson. At the time, he owned the prescription and trademark for a painkiller called Quadronal. Dr. Gerson became a silent partner.” Remarkably, Gerson who published >50 papers (most in German) seems to have no publication on Quadronal.
In his biography of Gerson, Howard Straus (Max’s grandson), explained that Max Gerson did, in fact, develop not just Quadronal for ASTA but also another drug, Quadronox, which however was not as successful as Quadronal. Crucially, Straus makes it very clear that the drug company defrauded Gerson and “never paid a penny to him or his family, nor honored his early ownership of the shares in the company”.
When I was a young clinician in Germany, Quadronal was still quite popular, and I prescribed it regularly. It had been unquestionably the main success for the multi-million firm, ASTA. Today, it is less in use or even no longer available (I am not sure, perhaps someone can fill me in). Gerson’s second drug, Quadronox, seems to have disappeared a long time ago.
I find this story interesting and potentially relevant to the history of Max Gerson. His time in Bielefeld ended when he fled the Nazis (many of his family were killed during the Holocaust). Eventually, Max, his wife, and their three daughters ended up in New York where Gerson tried to establish his anti-cancer regimen. He became fiercely anti-pharma, and many of his followers even claim that he died by being poisoned by the medico-pharmaceutical establishment which allegedly was afraid that his ‘highly successful’ cancer therapy would put them out of business. It is hard to resist the temptation of suspecting a connection between Gerson’s pharma-phobia and the unfair treatment Max received from ASTA in Bielefeld.
Obviously, my knowledge about all this is incomplete, and I would love to hear from people who know more about it.
 ASTA-Erfolgsgeschichte startet vor 100 Jahren (westfalen-blatt.de)
 Dr. Max Gerson Healing the Hopeless: Amazon.co.uk: Straus, Howard: 9780976018612: Books
Recently, I received an email with this ‘special offer’ for purchasing a book and was impressed – but not in a positive sense:
Dr Farokh’s commendable work at upto 22% off – Healing Cancer. For Limited time period only.
Healing Cancer: A Homoeopathic Approach
As a homeopath one should not deter oneself in dealing with any type of cases, be it cancer. But for executing that an ultimate guidance is needed. Cancer is so much prevalent and challenging medical problem of today that a trustworthy source of accurate information becomes pertinent and this work of Dr. Farokh Master immediately propels at the top of quality books for cancer. Based on Master’s 40 years of experience this book was written for students to understand the basis of oncology and for practitioners for brushing-up of their knowledge in this growing discipline.Author says that to get a grasp on cancer cases we should believe in the potential of the homeopathic treatment, that healing from cancer refers to internal process of becoming whole and feeling harmonious with yourself and your environment. To even start with handling the cases of cancer one should be aware of understanding of cancer, its cause, pathophysiology, different types, conventional treatment and their side effects, integrative medicines, social problems in the treatment, such topics are well casted by Volume 1 of the book.
Peak points of Volume 1-• A full chapter is dealing with Iscador, a relatively old method, very effective but unfortunately underemployed. • Published papers about Homeopathy in the treatment of cancer are presented before the last chapter which is on some of most used allopathic drugs in cancer with a focus on their side-effects. After the coverage of basic information on oncology in Volume 1 comes the Volume 2 which explores topics like understanding cancer from homoeopathic point of view, constitutional remedies, therapeutics of individual cancers, nutrition, general management.
Peak points of Volume 2-• A whole chapter on Cadmium salts and cancer. • 51 “lesser known remedies” are briefly quoted and their usefulness in different situations and types of cancer exposed. • A long chapter deals with the “Indian drugs”, it is important that these remedies are used mostly in tincture or low potencies, as herbal or Ayurvedic remedies or food supplements relieving the patients. • The choice and differentiation between the remedies is then helped by the “Repertory of Cancer”, very well compiled and a highly useful section. “Clinical tips from my practice” given as a sub-chapter. • It ends with recommendations on how to deal with radiation illness and the side-effects of conventional treatment, as well as the treatment of pain and help with palliative care.
For fighting and curing cancer and improving the quality and quantity of life of people, knowledge of Homeopathy, both philosophically and scientifically is needed which this work of art portrays delightfully.
About Book Author:
Dr. Farokh J. Master’s birth into homeopathy was in the year 1976, when he joined Bombay homeopathic medical college, after giving up his studies at the orthodox school of medicine. Dr Master was instrumental in starting homeopathic out-patient dept in many allopathic hospitals viz. Bombay Hospital, KEM Hospital & Ruby Hall, Pune. Besides his work as a senior Homeopath of the HHC, Dr. Farokh Master is teaching homeopathy (advanced level) at the Mumbai Homeopathic Medical College, part of Mumbai university. He is also teaching at other homeopathic colleges in India and abroad. He has given seminars in various countries like Austria, Australia, India, Japan etc. Dr Master has written more than 50 books like -The Homeopathic Dream Dictionary, Cross References of the Mind, Perceiving Rubrics of the Mind, The State of Mind affecting the Foetus, Tumors and Homeopathy, The Bedside Organon of Medicine, The proving of Mocassin Snake, Bungarus, etc. Dr. Master is the originator of many recent new approaches and insights in homoeopathy.
Some people claim that homeopaths are not dangerous and argue that their placebos cannot harm patients. I have long disagreed with this position. As homeopathy is not an effective therapy (it has no effects beyond placebo), its use simply means allowing diseases to remain untreated.
- If we are dealing with a common cold, this might be little more than a costly nuisance.
- If we are dealing with a chronic condition such as arthritis, it means causing unnecessary suffering.
- If we are dealing with life-threatening diseases like cancer, it means shortening the life of patients.
This is the politest way I can put it. There are of course other, less polite terms for ‘shortening a life’! Most of us shy away from using them in the context of homeopathy. In the case of the author of this book, we might make an exception. In my view, he is someone who is deluded to the point where he is ready to kill his patients with homeopathy.
Iscador is not even a homeopathic remedy.