Alternative healt vs. alternative medicine: big difference

Complimentary Medicine, or Alternative Medicine sure sounds good. It sounds like progressive, real health-care reform. "Alt Med" seems like an ideal marriage of the best of the old and the new, the scientific and the holistic, the technological and the natural, the doctor and the patient.

But for those of us who favor wellness self-reliance, it is a far cry from Alternative HEALTH. Alternative Health is different, first in the obvious way: the word medicine is not there. That means the medical and pharmaceutical professions are cut out. And since they don't want that, this is why they are willing to accept some of the "natural" stuff as long as they maintain control the writing of prescriptions and the filling of prescriptions.

But they will not support you when you go off on your own, to your own garden or to your local health food store or to your own library or Internet research.

If you've ever met a plumber or electrician or appliance repairman or auto mechanic who said, "Here: let me show YOU how to do this" then you have been singularly fortunate. Rare as this experience may be, it is infinitely rarer for a health professional to teach you exactly how to dispense with their services. An underlying assumption implicit in fee-for-service medical care is that you CAN'T do what the doctor does, dummy, and you are a fool for thinking you can.

I disagree.

Decades ago I once was stranded out-of-state with all my car's radiator fluid bleeding out around me, staining the parking lot nicely green. It was Sunday, I could not find a mechanic who would come to the car, and I had no money for a tow or, for that matter, for an overnight stay to wait for the job to be eventually attended to. So I pleaded with, and ultimately convinced a gas station attendant to loan me a few tools and drop a hint about how to replace coolant hoses. Might sound like small potatoes to you, but I was a 19 year old egghead and up until then had never worked under a car in my life. The prospect actually frightened me.

But I learned that desperation and elbow grease will loosen even the frayed plumbing of a big old Ford. I replaced the hose. (The large-diameter one, at the very bottom. What a mess.) I filled the radiator; I returned the tools; I drove away.

By golly, it worked.

Not long ago I discovered that you can call some appliance factories and, for a fee, they will walk you thorough the repair over the phone. Outback Australian children have been taught by radio for decades. I am convinced that doctors could do this with us, by radio for free or by phone for a fee. I've been saying for years how much I'd like to see neighbor hood health instruction co-ops

Car self-repair, appliance self-repair and health self-repair require a common attitude: "This is learnable, this is doable, and I can learn to do it."

Then consider the financial aspects of all this: what if we were determined to pretty much do without doctors? Alt Med Assumption: Certainly we can't. Alt Health assumption: Maybe we can. The difference? The health homesteader takes back control. No longer a patient, the health homesteader gains knowledge, experience and self-reliance, in that order.

Now don't go off saying that this is silly, breathlessly citing crisis care as requiring physicians. It is granted that there are times when we absolutely do indeed require a professional. But we can act to greatly reduce the frequency of those times, far beyond what we've been told.

The word "Doctor" is derived form the Latin word for "teacher." If your physician is a good health coach, great. If he is not, then you absolutely need to doctor (teach) yourself.

Here is a quick way to evaluate your doctor's alternative HEALTH potential. Ask her if she agrees with this statement:

"There is a natural substitute for nearly every drug. I do not want to use nutrition and vitamin supplements along with drugs. I want to use them INSTEAD of drugs."

If your doctor is intolerant of such a position, or simply not up to speed, you can help fill the void with the following information.

POWERFUL WEAPONS AGAINST DISEASE VITAMIN C in sufficient quantity can substitute for antibiotics, antivirals, antitoxics, antipyretics (fever-reducers) antihistamines, and corticosteroids such as Prednisone.

NIACIN substitutes for various tranquilizers, sleeping pills, antidepressants and antipsychotic medications.

The team of Vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, stress reduction, vegetarian diet and minerals such as magnesium beat any a cardiovascular drug on the market.
Congestive Heart Failure
High Blood Pressure:
Dr. Abram Hoffer's comments on cardiovascular disease:

READERS ASK: "Any advice on how blood clots (thrombophlebitis) can be treated without Coumadin?"

Yes., the second half of the article.

INTRAVENOUS VITAMIN C REFUSED "My doctor refuses to provide my elderly father with a vitamin C IV to help both control cancer and relieve his pain. Is this legal?"

Please bear in mind that I am not a physician, and am not sufficiently familiar with every state's doctors' licensure laws to give a precise answer. I would think that, in the absence of a clear medical cure, that witholding vitamin IV therapy would be more serious a legal issue than trying it.


"Concerning niacin saturation: In a previous issue, I noticed you didn't warn about possible liver damage with extended-release or sustained-release niacin. Was that just an oversight, or do you have a different opinion on that?"

My personal view is that while sustained release niacin is safer than often perceived to be, I suspect that people can take too much of it without getting the prompt saturation indicator of the "flush." I therefore prefer and recommend manual, regular doses, not sustained release. I also recommend regular liver function tests to be on the safe side. In my own experience, I am yet to see a problem. Additional niacin dosage information at

Abram Hoffer, M.D., says:

"About Megadose Niacin:

"The factoid niacin causes liver damage is analyzed thoroughly by William Parsons Jr, who shows that niacin will often increase liver function tests but that these increases do not arise from liver pathology. (Parsons WB Jr: Cholesterol Control Without Diet: The Niacin Solution. Lilac Press, Scotsdale, Arizona 1998. Reviewed in Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Volume 14, 1999, 3rd quarter.)

Since I began using megadoses of this vitamin in 1952 I have seen a few cases of obstructive-type jaundice which cleared when niacin was stopped, and in one case I had to resume the use of niacin because the patient's schizophrenia recurred. He recovered and the jaundice did not recur. I have seen so few cases of jaundice that there is little evidence that the jaundice arose from the use of the niacin. Jaundice has a natural occurrence rate and from any series of patients a few will get jaundice from other factors. In rare cases too much niacin causes nausea and vomiting, and if this persists because the niacin is not decreased or stopped the dehydration might be a factor. I have seen no cases in the past fifteen years. The main danger from taking niacin is not jaundice, it is that people will live longer. " (more at

INFLAMED STOMACH Dorothy writes:

"About 1or 2 years ago, my mother-in-law had a terribly inflamed stomach. The doctors put a scope down to take a look and said that her stomach was bright red. They did all kinds of tests and tried all kinds of things, but nothing helped. Every time she tried taking just a tiny bite she suffered SEVERE pain.

"I suggested she try oatmeal broth (as suggested in the book BACK TO EDEN by Jethro Kloss, pages 82-83, 549-550). She drank this for a couple of days before trying to eat anything else and worked her way slowly back to eating normally. When she was ready to try to start eating, she would drink this about 10 minutes before eating. I suggested that she start with fruits first. It has worked wonderfully.

"Later she returned to her doctor and told him what had finally'll never guess his reply. He had "heard of that before" and was glad that she was feeling better.

"Amazing that nothing else that the doctor had done or prescribed before (for months) had helped, yet he never once mentioned about the POSSIBILITY of trying oatmeal water."

Glad it helped; it certainly can't hurt to try. Barley water can also be a great gastrointestinal healer, as is pure fresh aloe vera juice, and cabbage juice.

SUGAR ADDICTION C. R. writes: "All my 45-plus years I've fought against sugar, refined carbohydrates, and the fatigue and mood swings they bring about. However, like an alcoholic, I always seem to end up craving, and then getting back with sugar products.

"I read the following post on an Internet newsgroup:"

In order to control your addiction, follow the protocol for alcohol at

My daughter treated a sugar addiction nutritionally exactly as alcoholism is treated, and it works. Many people who have sugar addiction have alcoholics in the family. When alcoholics go off alcohol, they nearly always start eating lots of sugar. Unfortunately, this usually keeps the addiction going."

"I'd love to see a diet and tactics suggested to get off a sugar addiction. I am the son of alcoholics, and addicted to a terrible sugar and refined carbo diet that leaves me exhausted and stressed out. Your assertion that alcoholism can be "cured" really is heresy to my way of thinking, but, hey, maybe you might be right. I sure would like to find a nutritional key that might help me in my ongoing white-knuckled struggle as I hurry past the baked goods and candy."

Probably the most reliable and most powerful help for the sugar junkie is indeed to diligently follow Dr. Roger J. William's nutritional program for alcoholism. Large quantities of the B-complex vitamins are a cornerstone of the treatment. The cheap and easy key is to take the entire B-complex at least six times daily. Chromium, vitamin C, lecithin, the amino acid L-glutamine, and a vegetable-rich, high-fiber, complex carbohydrate diet are also very important.

Detailed dosages are posted at
A case story is posted at

Books by Roger J. Williams include Nutrition and Alcoholism (1951), Alcoholism: The Nutritional Approach (1959), Nutrition Against Disease (1971) and Physician's Handbook of Nutritional Science (1975).

And for some good anti-sugar motivational reading, don't forget Sugar Blues

(1975), by William Dufty (NY: Warner.)

HEMORRHOIDS and Ways to Be Done With Them (or, at the very least, stop the itching and go on to some other
aspect of your life that has got to be much more fulfilling)

How to relieve, or better yet prevent, a sore heiney.

1. First, we can stop killing sharks (among our newest endangered species). "Preparation H" and its clones are made from shark liver oil. Use topical vitamin E instead. Medically speaking, "topical" means "applied directly to the surface." This really works, oh hemorrhoid sufferers. Make sure the anus is clean, and even more important, dry. After a shower or bath, blot the area with a clean, white tissue and wait ten or fifteen minutes. Then, puncture a vitamin E capsule with a push-pin. (You might even like to keep a push-pin in the bottle, as long as it is out of reach of children and brightly colored so you can spot it, too.) Place the opened end of the vitamin E capsule right up against the anus, and squeeze the capsule. Spread the slightly oily vitamin E around and you will be pleased with the prompt results. Repeat twice daily.

2. Eat more fiber. This means softer, easier to pass stools. Just lovely, this chat we're having here, isn't it?

3. Drink more water. You need water for fiber to work. The bowel is your water recycling center, by the way. A human bowel movement usually contains only about 150 ml (that's about half a Dixie cup) of water. The rest, and we're talking quarts, is reclaimed by your body, which is itself made two-thirds of water. Dry stools are an adaptation for land animals, especially birds and reptiles, that conserve water super efficiently. Although we are capable of forming a very solid stool, it is better for your butt if you don't.

4. Eat less meat. Meat contains no fiber. Even lean meat has a lot of fat compared to grains, beans, vegetables and fruit, which are loaded with fiber.

5. Avoid surgery by doing the four steps above. My Dad had several hemorrhoid operations during his lifetime. (He actually watched them perform the surgery, thanks to the wonders of local anesthesia and cleverly placed mirrors. Now there's a ready answer for "What did you do today, dear?") The simple fact that he had the same operation more than once tells us much about the value of operations.

All right, let's take this discussion even lower (if that's possible) and let you in on the proctologist
with a secret: his custom-made wallpaper had a novel, abstract design. Turns out it was a pattern of assorted anal sphincters. This was in the man's professional office, and I am not making it up: my Dad told me. Of course, there is a slim chance that he might be making it up, and let's hope so.

The rest of this newsletter has been pretty much on the level.


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