Subject: Re: Double Blind studies in Herbology (was Re Ginko...)
From: Paul Anacker <anacker.juno.com>
Date: Thu, 09 Jan 1997 02:50:30 -0800
Brian Brunner wrote:
> Bob Tyndall wrote:
> > pauladk.pop.interaccess.com (DustBunny) wrote:
> > >I'm not one that really believes in herbs (mostly because I prefer controlled double blind scientific studies, that's the mathematician in me) but would like to find out some info.
> > Here is some information for you. IMHO, double blind studies may be fine for drugs, but herbal remedies have been around for thousands of years. What more proof would you need? [That "proof" is a bit shaky. -Henriette]
> DOUBLE-BLIND STUDIES!
> Politics and medicine both sell hope, both are vulnerable to image-peddaling and smoke-and-snake-oil salesmen. Double-blind studies are a help to the end-users (us) in seeding out the fact from the smoke.
If I might add my two cents worth. Double-blind studies are only as good as the ethics and precision of the people conducting them and the source of funding. For example, a new book, "Sexual Pharmacology," discusses the conflicting reports regarding progesterone for women suffering PMS. However, there is no distinction drawn between natural progesterone and synthetic progesterones (mainly progestin and progestogen). Also, there does not seem to be any evaluation of the hormone level of the subjects prior to the study. It might well be that a women with an adequate hormone level and balance would be adversely affected by even natural progesterone. You can't tell if the underlying assumptions and protocol are given.
Yes, there is fraud (or ignorance) in medicinal herbology, but there is also the same in allopathic medicine. One big distinction - it is very rare for someone to die from over use of herbs (none of the Poison Control Centers have ever reported such an occurrence of which I've heard), whereas the number of deaths from over-medication of "FDA approved" drugs is growing every year.