Thursday, November 11, 2010

cecily's natural home remedies ii

I sit on the fence about natural therapies. Last year I went to a naturopath and while I thought she was odd and said some really strange stuff, some of the things she recommended made a lot of sense... and I felt a lot better. (Except for the bovine colostrum thing - that was weird and I felt nauseous the whole time, but I kept on taking it because those capsules cost me a lot of money)

Here is my dilemma with alternative and natural therapy. Some of it makes sense and does seem to help, yet at the same time there is negligible evidence to prove it is really doing anything. Not that lack of scientific evidence means it's all a load of hogwash - Dr John Ioannidis has sifted through a lot of medical research and found some pretty big holes. Holes so big I don't think I can trust medical research results ever again.

So who should I believe: the naturopaths who swear by their alternative treatments that helped so-and-so so much, or the doctors with their cautionary warnings and evidence based practice? Or perhaps take them both with a grain of salt, pick and choose what fits with my nursing knowledge and go with what works for me? (How very post modern)

If you've been my facebook friend for a while, you'll know I diagnosed myself with gout a few months ago. After the initial sudden onset of great pain in my great toe joint, it settled down and has not been too troubling (thus the self diagnosis, and if it gets worse I promise to go and have some tests and get a proper diagnosis). I suspect I've had it for years, but I thought it was a bunion developing - mild pain, slight swelling of the joint. At this stage my toe joint gives me intermittent pain, a dull ache interspersed with a stronger throb or stab most days, sometimes worse than others, particularly after I walk.

Here's where the natural therapies come into play. I bought a bottle of turmeric capsules to see if they helped with period pain. I know - totally crazy. I threw up all night. So then I had this expensive bottle of tablets and nothing to use them for. But did you know, turmeric is, among other things, an anti-inflammatory? Gout is a variation of arthritis. Arthritis is helped by anti-inflammatories and (you can see where this is going I'm sure) I wondered if turmeric might help with my gout.

I took one a day for a month, at which point the bottle was empty. The only time I had joint pain was after lengthy walks, but it didn't last too long. I decided to become my own medical research experiment. I would not buy any more turmeric tablets and leave my toe joint to do its thing for a while. If the pain increased, I would take that as a sign the turmeric did indeed work. If not, I'd save my money and know turmeric is not what it is cracked up to be.

The first day or two there was no change in my pain levels and I thought the decrease in pain must have just been a result of a remission of sorts. But then the ache came creeping back, each day a little bit longer and stronger until tonight, I was in quite some pain. It's nearly a week since I stopped taking the turmeric, so I'm going to wait and see a bit longer, but I think I might be onto something here. Turmeric could be an effective treatment for gout.

That's if I have gout! I forgot about that minor question.

Anyway, I'm still on the fence when it comes to natural therapies, but this one seems to work so I'm going to go with it for now!

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At 10:35 pm, November 11, 2010, Anonymous 2paw said...

Yes, I heard on RN about how the companies manipulate the results to get what they want. Very sneakily. I like your experiment though. Turmeric, I never knew that.


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