Complementary Medicines

complementary medicineAre you lost in the bewildering complementary medicine maze?

Frequently we come across patients whose cancer medicines are not working. More often than not, upon deeper investigation, we’ll discover that their combinations of supplements causing multiple interactions, are likely to blame. (Scroll page for our animation)

Intentions for self-help then turn to self-harm. In these cases, if the oncologist is not informed of the dietary and supplementary regimes he/she may then consider his treatments have failed and will increase dosage or search for stronger drugs.

With decades of training in botanical oncology we’ve seen that some complementary medicines can be very effective but these must always be in collaboration with the oncology team – to avoid harmful interactions.

MYTHS: Most cancer patients presenting to us have been influenced by nutritional myths that actually caused them harm. For example – alkaline water, molasses & bicarbonate of soda, excessive raw greens, juices, alkalising powders & extreme diets.

The following video exposes the myths of alkaline water & alkaline foods in relation to cancer.

Clarifying the term complementary medicine.

My work in supportive care cancer medicine includes…

  • complementary medicines
  • complementary therapies
  • complementary care protocols – practical care – e.g. using face mask and handy wipes when in public while on chemotherapy –  or having an anti-slip bath mat or plastic chair in shower if unsteady at times after treatments

Few practitioners differentiate between the three categories but with my decades of experience I believe it is necessary. Thus the services I offer patients extends beyond supplements, herbs &, dietary regimes – it’s a bigger picture.

Herb – drug, food -drug and other interactions: Our animation addresses in simple format the complex topics patients should know before they put anything other than food or prescribed medicines in their mouth. As The pictures above indicate, this is the field of pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, pharmacognosy, and now that most of our patients will be referred to genomic diagnostic tests, pharmacogenomics. We recommend you read our website thoroughly with regard to these four terms as well is googling them. If your naturopath or integrative GP is not experienced in the four – run as fast as you can.

My complementary services:

  • Complementary medicines – supplements, herbal & botanical remedies, nutritional medicine and more
  • Complementary therapies – acupuncture, Reiki, massage, aromatherapy, music therapy and more
  • Complementary care – strategies for navigating the cancer maze, strategies to reduce neuropathy, strategies to reduce pain during chemotherapy, keeping an accurate medical record book to reduce misdiagnosis and enhance accurate diagnosis, strategies for living well during treatment, strategies for keeping your spirit and your humanity alive during treatments and many more.

Now let’s first discuss complementary medicines:

The Good News: The skilled use of ‘targeted’ complementary medicines in conjunction with orthodox medical treatment can greatly enhance your recovery from cancer.

Many studies indicate complementary medicines can reduce side effects, enhance efficacy of conventional treatments, improve your sense of well-being & improve your emotional state.

Sounds like you’d be wise to employ complementary medicines to support your recovery from cancer

However – It’s Not so Simple – In fact it’s very Specialised!

Fragmented, Uncoordinated, (non-collaborative ) use of complementary medicines can cause problems that range from…
1. worthless
2. hinder or undo your orthodox medical treatment
3. worst case scenario; cause you great harm or hasten death – (See Supplements can cause Cancer)

Targeted complementary medicines are potentially powerful if certain ‘criteria’ are met…

  • Success requires considerable expertise.
  • Success requires skilled management – short & long term.
  • Success requires collaboration between the complementary practitioner & oncology team.
  • Success requires constant monitoring via appropriate medical tests, bloods, genomics, scans & more – to ensure the complementary medicines stay properly targeted. (it’s not enough to ‘believe’ or ‘intuit’ that a certain supplement is assisting your cancer recovery – you need scientific proof) (we have seen 1000s of examples of when a patient’s intuition has been very wrong.

Grace Gawler Simple path complex pathAnd the truth is…

Many supplements, herbs, including (TCM) Traditional Chinese Medicine & others used by cancer patients are of low quality. Contaminants and adulterants are found in many supplements & TCM.
See Australian Study

While excellent products exist – these are in the top 5% of the range. They will not be cheap! Quality products are NEVER cheap but you must know how to discern between good & bad. Beware of product made in countries like China or India where regulations are lax.

If you are seeing a naturopath or integrative GP these questions are critical:
  • Does your naturopath/integrated doctor communicate with your oncology team
  • Is there full disclosure and open communication between you, the naturopath, and all the other practitioners involved in your healing?
  • Do they have expertise in the field of herb drug interactions, supplement drug interactions, and other interactions listed above and below?
  • If they are advising you on food or supplements to help your cancer recovery, they should have skill in these fields – Pharmacognosy, Pharmacodynamics, Pharmacokinetics – Ask them – Few will know these fields – Beware

Your complementary practitioner must understand & be skilled in…

  • Herb/Drug Interactions
  • Supplement drug interactions
  • Diet/Drug Interactions
  • Cleanse or ‘De-Tox/Drug Interactions
  • Consequences and complications from excessive raw green juices and drug interactions
  • Dangers of over juicing
  • Toxicity from over supplementation
 Good News: Our institute team has the experience, knowledge and skill to answer all the above questions in the affirmative!
Please get in touch to discuss your health restoration plan

The following discussion may help you make informed decisions at a time when Dr Google is most misleading. 

emotoinal mind logic mind

Rational Thinking = Making Informed Decisions:

The purpose of this page is to help you make informed decisions about the use of complementary medicines to assist your health restoration.

In Cancer Recovery Critical thinking is a Survival Skill!

In 4 decades working with cancer patients, we are increasingly seeing the negative impact when patients make emotionally (or ideologically) based decisions

Definition for Complementary Medicine:
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word ‘complementary’ as, “that which completes or makes perfect, or that which when added completes a whole.”

In other words, although modern medical science struggles to help patients get better, complementary medicine helps patients to feel better and, perhaps, by feeling better, the act of healing itself may be complemented.

Recent German research found that more than 70% of people with cancer supplement their regular hospital treatment with complementary medicine. More worryingly, many do so without advising their doctor. This is important because interactions of the complementary medicines and their regular drugs could make cancer treatment ineffective, or worse still, cause toxic side-effects that could lead to death.

(Also see our page Supplements can cause Cancer)