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Should You Entrust Your Health To Alternative Medicine?

Update Date: Mar 02, 2017 08:10 AM EST

Alternative medicine includes homeopathy, vitamins and supplements and other therapeutic modalities. Health experts have different opinions regarding its efficacy and dangers.

Homeopathy creator Samuel Hahnemann is reported having trouble proving that his creation is anything more than placebo. Alternative medicine advocates claim that the less of an active ingredient remains in the pill, the more effective it is. However, experts say that once a 13 degree C is reached on the homeopathic scale, there is no longer any active ingredient left.

Alternative medicine is a lucrative business worth $34 billion. Recently, a homeopathic teething product was reported to have harmed hundreds of children in the United States. Eight babies died after taking the product. The product is now pulled from the market.

Dr. Paul A. Offit exposes the ineffective and even deadly effects of alternative medicine in his book "Do You Believe In Magic?" According to the doctor, the unregulated industry is not any under legal obligations to prove its claims and risks.

Offit is an advocate of science-based therapies. He said that there is no such thing as alternative medicine. "There's only medicine that works and medicine that doesn't," he added.

In 2015, Adriane Fugh-Berman, associate professor in Georgetown's Department of Pharmacology and Physiology said that some alternative medicine like homeopathic remedies contain controlled substances, glandular extracts, heavy metals and snake venom. When these ingredients are brought to federal regulation, they would be considered dangerous.

There has been a suspicion of corporate and political interests that affects healthcare and medicines. However, experts believe that it should not be an excuse to promote alternative medicine or products with no scientific backing and take advantage of regulatory loopholes.

MinnPost reports that alternative medicine companies often claim that they are just small companies who want to bring natural and inexpensive medicines to the people. However, they are also a multibillion dollar industry and some are partially owned by giant pharmaceutical companies.

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