At first it was nothing much. A cramp or two, a passing queasiness, and “Frank” passed it off as gas. But it kept coming back, getting steadily worse, until putting any pressure on his midsection was nearly unbearable. That was when he started going to the doctors…
Eleven specialists, 4 CT and PT scans, and a small home pharmacy later, Frank was still in pain. He’d gotten 11 terrifying diagnoses ranging from lung cancer to spinal stenosis, with drugs for each one, and none of the prescriptions had any effect. “If I’d been a junkie, I’d have been in heaven,” he says now.
Finally, he came to the realization: I could just keep believing these horrific diagnoses, go home, and write my will – or I could throw away these useless meds, research my problems myself, seek my inner wisdom, and make my own decisions.
His GI specialist did a colonoscopy and said he found “some Helicobacter pylori.” H. Pylori lives in most people’s guts, where it does no harm unless it multiplies past a manageable level. “When that happens,” Frank said, “the standard treatment is threefold: two heavy-duty antibiotics and an acid reducer, two times a day for seven days. I said, ‘This will kill anything inside me,’ and chose a gentler way.”
“The guidance was clear that the way for me was herbal,” he said. After a great deal of research, he learned that a number of herbs were especially suited to calming symptoms like his. He put them together and began using them – and within a week, the symptoms subsided. They remained minor for the next 18 months.
It was just after his sister was diagnosed with lung cancer that Frank’s symptoms returned, full-blown. “I looked at my life and saw the cause of the problem,” he said. “I resumed the herbs, and found that they didn’t work at the level they previously did.”
He did more research and found a recent in-vitro and in-vivo trial showed that curcumin, extracted from turmeric, arrests H. pylori growth. The trial showed effectiveness against at least 65 different strains of the gastric microbe, irrespective of the genetic make-up of the strain. In-vivo effects shown in H. pylori infected mice suggest “immense” therapeutic potential as curcumin is highly effective in eradication, as well as being restorative to H. pylori-induced gastric damage ( De R e al. Antimicrobial activity of curcumin against Helicobacter pylori isolates from India and during infections in mice. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 2009; 53(4): 1592-7).
He also learned that cranberries help– but that you can’t eat enough of them in a day to make a difference. “So I went to the health food store and bought turmeric and cranberry capsules,” he recalls, “and began double and triple-dosing myself: where 500 mg of turmeric was the recommended dose, I took 1500, and so forth. And now, the pain is almost completely gone.”
Today, Frank is working with an internist (M.D.) who also practices Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture and herbalism, and has been inspired to study herbalism himself.
This is just about the best success story of “going with your gut” – in several senses! – that we’ve ever heard. After hearing the dire diagnoses, Frank opted to do his own research, seek his inner wisdom, and choose the practitioners who could genuinely help him.
We’re not recommending that you fire your mainstream M.D. – far from it! Mainstream medicine does have its benefits and uses, especially in high-risk emergency situations.
However, especially with long-term illnesses, when the diagnosis is unclear or the treatment is dire, we suggest that you use the precautionary principle and explore the gentler alternative paths first. Even if they appear to be ineffective, they often offer therapeutic value over and above reducing the immediate symptoms, while their side effects are far less drastic (and may be nothing at all!). And at best, they may resolve the root cause of the problem entirely, as Frank’s treatment did.
We’ll discuss mainstream pharmaceuticals in another post…for now, however, we encourage you not to hesitate in questioning your doctor and seeking out your own solutions. This is your body and your life; you have a right to correct answers and appropriate treatment!