Participants: Don Miller, Agatha Thrash
Series Code: HYTH
Program Code: HYTH000160
00:01 Hello, I'm Agatha Thrash a staff physician
00:03 from Uchee Pines Institute in Alabama.
00:06 And we've been noticing that a lot of people are turning
00:10 to alternative medicine in recent years.
00:14 Now these alternative medicines cost the people
00:18 in the United States more than 10 billion dollars every year,
00:22 so it's a big business.
00:24 And it is also a very interesting phenomenon.
00:28 And we'd like to discuss some of these issues in the next
00:31 little while with you, so we hope you will join us.
00:55 Welcome to "Help Yourself to Health"
00:56 with Dr. Agatha Thrash of Uchee Pines Institute
01:00 and now, here's your host Dr. Thrash
01:05 A large part of what people spend their money for
01:08 when they're buying alternative medicine is that of
01:12 herbs and supplements.
01:14 Now, we might think of herbs as being
01:17 those things from plants,
01:18 and supplements as those things that are extracted from
01:22 foods such as vitamins and minerals and that kind of thing.
01:26 Now with the herbs, there are a variety of types of herbs
01:31 and a variety of ways to prepare them.
01:33 Some of those are simple and some of them are very complex.
01:36 But in the home, for the most part, people use two methods...
01:41 Either that of steeping, or that of boiling.
01:44 And I have with me today, Melissa Thrash, who is
01:47 my granddaughter and she's going to talk with you about
01:51 teas... what do you have there?
01:53 I've got tea here.
01:54 The way you'd make a tea would be to boil 1 cup of water,
01:58 and pour the hot water into some kind of glass
02:02 and add 1 teaspoon of a leaf, or 1/2 teaspoon of a powder
02:07 to the glass... stir it in
02:11 and cover the glass and allow it to steep for about
02:15 15 to 20 minutes, or 30 minutes, depending on the herb.
02:19 What do you use to cover it with usually?
02:23 A saucer maybe, a little saucer ... Oh, okay.
02:26 Could cover it with the saucer.
02:28 There are some mugs that come with a little cap that
02:33 will go on them but this makes a very nice cover... Sure!
02:37 You can just put the spoon right here on it and...
02:40 no muss... no fuss. Right.
02:43 The standard dosage for tea would be 1 cup 4 times a day,
02:48 but for a child, the dosage would be different.
02:51 The dosage for a child would be...
02:58 the age divided by the age, plus 12.
03:03 So say for a child of 4 years old,
03:08 it would be 4 + 12 = 16
03:14 4 into 4 would be 1 4 into 16 would be 4
03:18 So a child 4 years old, would receive a dosage of
03:20 1/4 the times that an adult would receive.
03:24 Okay, now I'm going to tell you about a decoction.
03:27 Roots, stems, berries and barks are used for decoctions
03:31 because they're harder to extract.
03:34 You'd want to take the roots, stems, berries or barks
03:39 and take a heaping tablespoon full of it into a quart full
03:46 of water and gently simmer it for 5 to 25 minutes depending
03:50 on the herb and then you can strain it... if it has
03:54 big pieces in it and you can cool it and drink it then,
03:57 or store it in the refrigerator for later use.
04:00 Very good... do people get real benefit from these...
04:04 Have you seen that to happen? Oh yes.
04:07 Have you ever taken an herbal tea yourself? I have.
04:10 What about a decoction? Have you ever taken goldenseal?
04:14 Goldenseal... I have. It's not very good-tasting,
04:16 but it really works.
04:18 Very effective... but it is very, very bitter.
04:21 I think it's probably one of the most bitter substances
04:24 that I've ever taken.
04:25 I don't usually have a problem taking bitter things,
04:28 but it can make you shutter.
04:30 But when you're very sick, you're very willing to take it
04:32 because if you've had it,
04:34 you know that it can be very beneficial for you.
04:37 Now, there are a wide variety of herbs that can be used
04:42 either as teas mainly, or as decoctions, or they can be
04:46 extracted with glycerin, or with vinegar, or with alcohol
04:51 But, in the home, most of the time, we simply extract
04:56 the active ingredient with water.
04:58 Either by using the boiling water and the tea steeped
05:01 for a half an hour, or boiling gently...
05:05 It isn't a vigorous boil as a usual thing and then
05:09 that is usually for a half an hour.
05:12 There are a lot of other things in alternative medicine
05:17 and I have asked my colleague, Dr. Winn Horsley,
05:20 to join me that we can talk about some of the issues
05:24 that are involved now in alternative medicine...
05:28 By the way, are you entirely satisfied with this matter of
05:33 "alternative medicine" when it is referring to you?
05:38 No... I'm actually...
05:41 Are you a holistic doctor?
05:45 That term I would prefer...
05:48 The problem with "alternative" is that it sounds like a
05:53 devious... a second choice, like it's not really the ideal thing.
06:00 When one goes through looking at the reasonableness of how one
06:04 treats people... hunting for what we could call
06:07 "rational therapy"
06:09 ...REALLY, if we look closely, one could say that
06:15 a lot of what is done by doctors,
06:17 with use of the chemicals,
06:19 should really be a last ditch alternative... that that
06:22 should be considered alternative.
06:24 Nowadays, fortunately, there are quite a few doctors
06:27 that are paying close attention to what are the more
06:29 natural approaches...
06:30 Yes, like in hypertension.
06:34 A lot of times, a doctor will tell the patient a lot of
06:37 mainline things which they might call "alternative" but
06:43 we call mainline.
06:44 The natural, rational treatment of high blood pressure
06:48 and only as a LAST ditch measure,
06:51 would they go to the drugs.
06:54 What do you have against drugs?
06:56 That's a big question.
07:00 And one really should start out by saying that
07:04 doctors... any well-trained and thoughtful doctor is
07:08 very concerned about the use of these chemicals
07:12 that are taken into the body...
07:13 ...Chemicals that are foreign to the body.
07:15 And, the medical profession as a whole,
07:17 has for many years, seen some of the bad effects
07:23 that can happen.
07:25 In the practice of medicine, while looking first of all
07:30 at the regulating agencies, the FDA,
07:33 has a requirement of lots of scrutinizing of every
07:39 new drug that comes on the market...
07:41 trials that must be done.
07:43 And then pretty much every doctor uses one or more
07:50 standard books on drugs such as what's called the "PDR"
07:54 ..."Physician's Desk Reference"
07:55 And a large percentage of what's written there
07:58 is problems of side effects and so on.
08:03 The trouble is this though...
08:04 The side effects that should concern us most
08:08 are not those immediate side effects that bother people
08:12 right away... You mean like a headache or
08:14 nausea, fainting... Precisely, those kind of things
08:17 they're of course written up in the PDR...
08:22 But what should concern us most is the longer term,
08:26 in fact, the many years until the damage will show up.
08:29 Now, of course, doctors also realize this can be a problem
08:32 But I want to point out that it's not at all easy
08:36 to find out what these effects are.
08:38 It's not that doctors don't want to find them out...
08:41 I've just got here, a paper, just handed to me recently,
08:47 where 2 months ago, they had a study that involved
08:53 Harvard University in which they looked at serious adverse
08:58 effects of new drugs that are coming out.
09:01 And what they pointed out was that 20% of all new drugs
09:08 were found to have adverse, serious or even life-threatening
09:12 effects that were unknown or undisclosed
09:14 at the time the drug was approved by the FDA.
09:18 An interesting... That's very frightening.
09:21 One other point here is that these bad effects...
09:27 It says half of these serious, adverse effects were detected
09:32 within 7 years after the drug was first introduced.
09:36 So the REAL testing of a lot of these long-term,
09:39 dangerous effects is on the patients who are getting them
09:42 during the period of time after the drug is marketed...
09:45 But remember, only HALF of those were discovered within
09:48 within the first 7 years...
09:49 In other words, it took YEARS AFTER 7 years elapsed
09:52 to show up the last half of what effects they found
09:55 in the study.
09:57 ...And that doesn't mean that that's the end of
09:58 the bad effects... there are probably lots of others.
10:00 I have heard of women who were taking contraceptive pills
10:05 having an increased risk of migraines even 20 years
10:09 after they had stopped taking the drug.
10:12 And that's one small example.
10:14 I had another one in mind... maybe it was the same one
10:18 Methylsergide? Oh yes...
10:21 In that one, they found, after people were taking it
10:26 to PREVENT headaches, but it would have taken a number
10:30 of years for this to show up...
10:31 But scarring behind the main organs of the abdomen
10:37 ...way deep in... Deep... retroperitoneal is
10:41 the term that used...
10:42 This scarring and tightening bands of scar tissue
10:45 began to enclose the tubes that go from the kidneys
10:50 down to the bladder.
10:52 Doctors began to notice that there was some
10:55 occurrence of patients that became anuric...
10:57 No urine was being produced.
10:59 And, of course, a person will die
11:00 within a short time when that happens.
11:02 Well... I'm just imagining to myself...
11:05 How did they ever track it down to the drug that was involved?
11:08 They finally were able to find that THIS was the drug
11:12 that was victimizing these people.
11:13 It is difficult because since the lag time is so long
11:19 And what about antidepressants?
11:22 Have you had any experience or have you been reading some
11:24 things on that?
11:25 Well, we could say something about some of the
11:29 major tranquillizers that are used.
11:33 The main type of... major tranquillizers in here
11:41 Thorazine and other drugs of its class...
11:45 What they do in a fair number of patients...
11:49 We're not talking about a rare side effect
11:50 ...is that they cause changes in the central nervous system
11:55 that will lead to strange movements,
11:58 involuntary movements... where people grimace and
12:01 contort their lips and tongue and so on.
12:04 It's given the term "tardive dyskinesia"
12:08 Sometimes those effects will stop when the person
12:13 stops using the drug... but, by no means all the time.
12:16 There's quite a few people left with permanent problems
12:20 that way... Amazing.
12:21 Dr. Horsley, I saw a woman, one time, in another country
12:25 who had taken a rather strong medication,
12:28 and her life had been ruined by it.
12:31 She literally could not sit still...
12:35 She made these so called "athetoid movements"
12:38 and was constantly in movement of some kind
12:42 And she would bend over and even get on the floor
12:45 and wrap herself around her chair
12:49 She was constantly in a strain with that
12:53 and it really ruined her life.
12:55 It's something that I think many of us have seen
12:59 I've seen, particularly these grimaces that are SO disfiguring
13:03 and totally involuntary.
13:06 And, of course, the thing that is so difficult there
13:10 is that it's a long way away from finding the real problem.
13:17 What else can you tell us about this whole subject and issues
13:21 that are involved in medications?
13:24 Well, perhaps one could summarize it this way...
13:30 That the most scary side effects of drugs are those that are NOT
13:36 written in the PDR.
13:38 Now, they have found some, like those that pretty much
13:42 every competent doctor knows about... tardive dyskinesia,
13:45 and these major neurologic drugs that are used.
13:50 But there, the connection wasn't so hard to see...
13:54 It was harder probably in the other one we were talking about,
13:58 But, we can think of other ones where it would be
14:01 much more difficult to see.
14:03 Would it be all right to name one other? Yes it would.
14:06 Diethylstilbestrol... Oh yes!
14:10 I remember first hearing about this in a medical lecture,
14:14 and being so stunned by what was going on.
14:19 A pregnant woman who was given this drug...
14:23 since it is a female hormone,
14:27 perhaps it was thought this wouldn't be such a
14:29 drastic thing to use.
14:30 Doctors are very careful and try to avoid the use of
14:33 drugs during pregnancy.
14:34 Well, it was used and with no apparent problem...
14:39 until many years later... it must have been at least 15,
14:43 if not 20 years later, that they began to notice
14:46 an increase... In fact, my impression was that it was
14:49 basically a cancer that had not been seen before this
14:53 NOT in the woman that took the drug but in the baby girl,
14:58 the fetus that she had been carrying at the time
15:00 that she took this.
15:01 A cancer of the genital organs, which of course,
15:04 could be fatal.
15:06 An adenocarcinoma of the vagina which is EXTREMELY rare...
15:12 In fact, I had never seen one until we started seeing them
15:15 as a result of this drug.
15:17 You know, I'm actually surprised that they found
15:20 the connection...
15:22 It's so many years before because this did not show up
15:25 in the young girls until they reached puberty at least.
15:29 And so the mother, or at least her doctors,
15:33 must have had a record remembered,
15:36 or been in her medical records and they were able
15:38 to track it down that this, in fact, was what was
15:40 responsible for causing this problem.
15:42 Now, of course, cancer and death are rather big events
15:50 in order for a person to start hunting and looking
15:53 But what if it had been a more subtle effect.
15:55 Not so much as to cause a severe retardation
16:02 in brain function but some mild retardation...
16:07 Or some other effect on the immune system.
16:09 Or some aberration of the functioning of the brain
16:11 like autism... you mean, something like that..
16:14 THAT KIND OF THING!
16:15 I'm not sure that people would even try to find out
16:19 about the mother taking a drug back during the time
16:22 that she was carrying the child.
16:23 Yes... you wouldn't think to do that.
16:26 You would think that the mother would suffer the problem
16:28 and not to her offspring... Exactly.
16:30 Even the boys born to these mothers who took the
16:34 drug, were more likely to have infertility and other problems.
16:39 So... it is a very serious thing... It really is.
16:43 Well thank you very much.
16:44 I appreciate this discussion of a very difficult topic
16:48 because we are... all of us who have been trained
16:50 as MDs, are so careful about medicines...
16:54 and yet there's hardly a way that we can be careful enough.
16:58 Which brings us to the point of thinking that
17:01 if there is a way to treat a person without using
17:05 a medication, or a way to treat a person without using surgery,
17:09 then, of course, we would certainly want to do that.
17:11 We'd want to look for that remedy that would make it
17:15 so that we could avoid the use of some kind of drug.
17:19 Now I have also with me, Don Miller,
17:22 and Don Miller is going to talk with you about an important
17:25 issue having to do with this whole subject of
17:28 alternative medicine, and I'm looking forward
17:29 to hearing what you say.
17:31 You know, Dr. Thrash, after talking with Dr. Horsley,
17:33 I want to go back and look at my mother's medical records.
17:35 These types of things really start to make you be concerned.
17:39 And, I want to mention just one thing, Dr. Thrash...
17:42 We're finding out now that all these drugs that we're taking
17:46 most of which go through the body quite quickly,
17:48 are now starting to accumulate in the ecosphere.
17:52 And they're going to have a real profound effect.
17:55 Now what's happening with all the drugs...
17:56 We have the diuretic drugs.
17:59 We've got the anti-inflammatory drugs.
18:02 We've got the pain drugs.
18:03 We've got all these drugs...
18:04 being flushed down the toilet and going out into the water
18:07 where the food chain is living for some people
18:11 It's not my food chain but some people are eating
18:13 that food chain and we're going to get some biomagnifications
18:16 because of the flow out into their ecosystem...
18:21 and we're going to see some problems there.
18:23 Now with all that that's been said about drugs and
18:26 medicines, I will say this... that medicines are good.
18:29 If it were not so, it would not be mentioned in
18:32 Proverbs 17:22 that a merry heart does good like a medicine.
18:37 Now there's some real proof there that they've been
18:40 finding out scientifically that a merry heart...
18:42 that's caused by being happy is good like a medicine.
18:46 And going back to the very word "drug,"
18:49 we sit there and say, "Oh drug, that's a bad thing"
18:51 and we're not going to talk about drugs...
18:54 And there's good reason to say that because, basically,
18:56 33% at LEAST of diseases are caused by drugs or
19:01 iatrogenic sources... the drugs, the treatment... whatever.
19:05 And so we have to be careful from the drugs.
19:07 And as a matter of fact, there's more people
19:09 dying of prescription drugs, than there are
19:11 from illegal drugs.
19:13 So "drug" has gotten a bad name.
19:15 But where does the word "drug" come from?
19:17 Quite simply... it's from the Dutch word "droog"
19:20 which means dried plant.
19:22 I want my drugs coming, as Melissa showed us,
19:26 from the dried plants.
19:28 I was in the St. Louis Zoo some time ago...
19:30 As a matter of fact, with Melissa and my daughter,
19:32 and my granddaughter... it was a quite nice day we spent there...
19:35 And there was one particular part of the zoo we went into
19:38 and there was a big display about the tropical rainforest.
19:42 And there was a statement... if I get it correctly,
19:45 it said something like, "Two-thirds of all medication
19:49 found their origin from the plants growing in the
19:53 tropical rainforest. "
19:54 And, I want to get my drugs at that level, rather than
19:58 the synthesized level that we're getting it in now.
20:02 There are about 275 thousand different plants
20:05 in the world today.
20:06 And, in those things, you've got hundreds, to thousands, to even
20:09 millions of chemical combinations
20:11 And we start messing with those things, we have problems.
20:14 I guess it was back at about 1803, that the first doctor
20:18 sat down and he separated out of a plant... an alkaloid.
20:22 The plant was opium and the alkaloid is something
20:26 that we've used quite a lot since then...
20:29 But they've starting taking the plants and finding the
20:32 alkaloids or the different constituent in there
20:36 that might have an effect upon the body...
20:38 They somehow make that themselves.
20:40 One very common one is the salicylate family.
20:44 We go to the store and we buy a bottle of salicylates
20:47 or aspirin and we take those things and we realize that
20:50 these things have lots of adverse side effects.
20:53 But where did the salicylate come from?
20:56 Well, they would watch the old folks and the Indians and
21:01 people who were the old, you know, the rubes
21:03 out there on the farms...
21:05 That they, for years and years and for centuries would
21:08 use a product, not really a product,
21:11 but basically is a product...
21:12 the inside of the bark of the white willow tree
21:15 and they found that to be a pain reliever.
21:18 They found out that it was the salicylate in there
21:20 and they started using that as a drug.
21:23 I have used the white willow bark,
21:25 and it works just as well for me without all of the
21:28 negative side effects.
21:29 My stepfather was one of those and there are many
21:33 people like this... who was EXTREMELY sensitive to aspirin.
21:37 As a matter of fact, 1 grain could have killed him
21:39 And so, he had to be very, very careful about
21:43 those types of things
21:44 And as Dr. Horsley has already mentioned, and Dr. Thrash
21:47 has been talking about...
21:48 We don't know the effect that these drugs are going to have
21:52 in our body down the line.
21:54 Eli Lilly, basically the beginner of the
21:57 Eli Lilly Drug Company...
21:58 He once said something quite interesting which I agree with
22:01 100%... He said, "If it does not have a side effect,
22:05 it's not a drug. "
22:06 And so, I have not found too many side effects of herbs
22:10 As a matter of fact... oh yes, we've already mentioned
22:12 goldenseal and, Dr. Thrash, it has a side effect...
22:16 it makes my face scrunch up! Oh, that's nasty-tasting stuff!
22:19 But that's not a problem!
22:21 You know, those things aren't BAD side effects.
22:24 Now, Sir William Osler said something else and I think
22:28 this is one of the most important things I try
22:30 to teach the people where I go...
22:32 And basically, he said that it's more important
22:37 to know the patient, than it is to know the disease.
22:41 We spend all of our time looking at a disease
22:44 and we don't spend much time looking at the patient.
22:47 Let's talk with the patient.
22:48 I'll tell people where I'm teaching... wherever it might be
22:51 I say... "The best diagnostic tool that we have is a good
22:55 foundational history. "
22:57 Talk to the person. Spend time with the person.
23:00 Trouble is in today's world, we don't have that much time
23:02 to spend with our patients.
23:04 And so we run them through and give them a prescription
23:06 for a drug which... who knows what effect it will
23:08 have down the line.
23:09 And so, we need to get good herbal books and find out
23:12 what can we do NATURALLY.
23:14 Now, herbs are getting a lot of bad press and
23:17 rightly so for this reason...
23:19 If you take an herb which is effective,
23:22 with a drug which is effective in its sphere,
23:26 both of those together, gives you a double whammy.
23:28 Let's say someone taking an antidepressant and then they
23:34 also take St. John's Wort...
23:36 Well that's two at one time and that's not good.
23:40 And so, we're hearing in the press, "You shouldn't take
23:42 St. John's Wort because it's bad.
23:44 Well, the problem is taking BOTH of them is bad
23:47 I would say, let's try the St. John's Wort
23:49 And there's many other drugs that
23:51 fall into this category.
23:52 So we need to sort of narrow it down
23:54 and not start building it.
23:55 And I will say even this...
23:56 it's not good to make many, many many herb combinations
24:01 because we don't know how they react.
24:03 Every herb has its own chemicals that are going to intermix
24:06 And so we usually like to sort of draw the line
24:08 at 6 or 7 different herbs in a concoction or a decoction
24:13 and not go into these 70 and 80 different herbal combinations
24:17 because, again, we don't know
24:19 how they're going to react with each other.
24:20 So we need to be wise and we need to take some of that
24:24 "merry heart" that does good like a medicine... Dr. Thrash.
24:27 Yes that does.
24:28 I'm glad you mentioned about herbs...
24:31 It is important that we learn about herbs and not all herbs
24:35 are safe, such as...
24:38 ginseng, lobelia and pennyroyal and some others
24:42 So generally, if you don't know what the properties are,
24:46 of an herb, then it might be well if you studied that
24:49 before you take it.
24:51 Now I've asked Dr. Horsley to talk with you again about
24:55 some other issues that are involved in this matter of
25:00 alternative medicine.
25:02 And so, Dr. Horsley, what other thing do you have
25:05 that you can share with us.
25:07 Well, briefly, perhaps we should just say what alternative...
25:12 In fact, let's use the word "rational" treatment should
25:16 begin with.
25:17 But not with herbs? I don't think so.
25:20 I agree with you.
25:22 We really should begin with
25:24 what is the foundation of good health...
25:27 And I think everyone from their mother has heard...
25:31 ...you know, as one has said many times,
25:34 "Eat your vegetables. " "Eat the right foods. "
25:37 And other components that everyone knows
25:39 have to do with good health.
25:41 Drinking enough water. Getting your exercise.
25:44 Those habits are the first step toward good health.
25:50 It's been summarized in the word "NEWSTART"
25:55 Nutrition, exercise, water, temperance, and so on.
26:00 If we need to do more than that...
26:03 and often people don't realize how just maximizing
26:06 those aspects of good health will relieve many
26:10 of their symptoms... Yes.
26:12 Often people don't realize just what is the best nutrition.
26:17 And so, doing that will OFTEN HELP or even CURE
26:21 the problem.
26:22 If we need to go further, the next step down
26:25 then would be use of herbs.
26:27 And one could also add in some other treatments
26:31 at this next step down such as massage...
26:35 And all sorts of water treatments... water and steam
26:38 and ice... Hydrotherapy as it's called.
26:41 Use of heat with water to apply it is excellent.
26:49 Then, if we want to go a further step below...
26:53 I would say that "extracts" of herbs, or for that matter,
26:57 extracts of foods...
26:59 And I feel even less comfortable about extracting
27:03 trace quantities... than taking something that's the major
27:07 component of food... For instance, vitamins.
27:09 Yes, you can easily get a MAJOR overdose with one little pill.
27:15 And it's very easy to swallow it.
27:17 Thank you very much.
27:19 We certainly see that this is a BIG subject not possible
27:26 for us to cover in one small discussion of it.
27:31 But, let me read something to you
27:33 that I think will be very helpful to you.
27:36 "To secure a strong, well-balanced character,
27:38 both the mental and the physical powers must be exercised
27:42 and developed.
27:43 What study can be more important than that which treats
27:47 of this wonderful organism which God has committed to us
27:51 ...His own equipment. " Thank you.