feedingJan Fran greets the many and varied Australians to talk before they confront a panel of medical experts who will decide if their home remedies will receive a clinical trial.
Will they prove that they are medicine or myth?
With such a complicated task ahead, and the participants, we talked with the journalist about the examination of home remedies and the passion of taxpayers to find a cure …
You've been reporting all over the world, you must have seen some weird things. Did any of these remedies qualify on the strange scale for you?
There are a few that are stuck in my mind. One was the wax to cure cold sores and it has to be your own wax. You have to remove it from the ear and put it in the mouth ulcer. The gentleman had had cold sores for several years and had tried everything and then this was what worked. I do not know how interested I would necessarily be in proving that.
There was a woman who used raw meat to treat the cuts, and I thought, "Okay, that's interesting." Raw meat in an open wound, I'm not sure how it's going to go. "
All these people who have brought this type of home remedies have tried other things and this is something that has worked for them, so I guess, who am I to say that is not the case? It is a completely different story with our experts because they probably have a little more knowledge about what is happening there. For me, I'd like to say: "Very well, I'll take care of what you're saying, but let's see how it goes with the panel of experts."
The conversations are pretty frank, right? He has not been afraid to talk a little about his own experiences (a colon cleansing disaster, etc.) but was there anything he talked about with the taxpayers that made him feel apprehensive?
I am not a very delicate person but there was a woman who used her menstrual blood as a way to calm herself and as a way to treat anxiety. Part of that type involved covering parts of your face and body with menstrual blood. I must say that I got a little touchy about that.
It's funny what you end up talking about. I interviewed Dr. Charlie Teo (one of the medical experts in the program), and the woman who inserted garlic into her vagina to treat oral candidiasis came up. It was very practical, but it ended up being these two guys talking about garlic, vaginas and mucous, which was very rare.
(Laughter) That's what happens with this show. In a way, it unites the personal and the clinical. He feels really, really good in that Venn diagram between the two. You can talk about it scientifically, like you did with Charlie about garlic and you can get a little more of this kind of personal element by talking to some of the men and women in The show and listening to the personal stories behind some of the remedies . I think one of the real strengths of the program is that it is relatable. Surely everyone knows someone who has some kind of natural remedy that they trust.
You are not impartial with a little "Frant" as you call it. What do you think about the possible suppression of complementary medicines by the Australian Medical Board?
Look, I think at the end of the day there are experts who know a lot more about what I do and I will always listen to people who know more than I do about these things. Would you recommend that everyone put the garlic in the vagina or put the wax on the cold sores or use coconut oil to try to cure the dementia? Absolutely not because I'm not an expert on any of these things. Zero people should take my medical advice! I think complementary medicine has a place, but the doctors and medical experts who have done the research must determine to what extent it should be used.
There is that kind of push and pull that does not exist with the panel of judges between wanting to be open to these home remedies, but also keep in mind, will they be safe and effective?
Yes, exactly, exactly, and I think that's where the tension comes in. I think a lot of people are investing in this kind of natural complementary medicines. They want to know if they are working, and they want to know that they are efficient and they want to know that they are doing the right thing, so there is something at stake.
I think all that kind of thing is a balance between the two. I do not judge people who say "I want so many remedies or complementary or natural medicines in my life". But I think it all boils down to the fact that I could be wrong. If you are someone who believes in natural remedies only, I think it is very important that you are open to what science says about it because science may not support your belief.
Does it have to be a prohibitive cost for people to perform these treatments scientifically, professionally tested?
Insurance. Doing something through a clinical trial is not an easy thing to do and, therefore, this is a real opportunity for people to have a remedy that they swear will be evaluated. Doing that is a risk for someone who really believes that something works and then they may discover that they really do not, do not do it or it is a placebo or that just because it worked for them does not mean it will work. for all. They would be a mixture of nerves and emotion in the contestants.
In a way, you think about how many people these remedies could help. The potential of the Chinese herbal mixture to relieve the symptoms of endometriosis, for example. There are 700,000 Australian women who suffer from it, and there is currently no cure for it in Western medicine.
Yes, exactly and this is something I went back to again and again, it is at the end of the day, they are people who try to help other people, really. This is reduced to people who feel they have discovered this information that has helped them so much that they want as many people as possible to know about it.
I have had cold sores in the past and they are horrible things to have. There were definitely times when I would have tried anything someone recommended to relieve symptoms or get rid of canker sores. You can imagine that people who have things like endometriosis, an herbal remedy or a type of complementary remedy might not cure it or make it go away, but they could alleviate some symptoms. If it helps them in any way, surely that is positive.
What struck me about the program is that it's really emotional, is not it? There is a lot of empathy on the part of the judges and it is quite overwhelming for some of the participants when they discover that their remedy works.
Yes, but it's not surprising, right? Because they have invested so much in it, they have invested their own money and I think it is like a true claim. They must have doubted themselves throughout the process and, suddenly, they do not doubt themselves, which I think is also an overwhelming feeling. But you can also go to the other side, where you are so sure that something works just to be told no.
But it's a kind of range of emotions with this show because you have those elements of humor, it's a bit ironic, it's fun, but it's also quite serious and quite personal and quite important.
In the end, it really is about people who just want to feel better and help people improve their lives, and believe they have found something that helps them do it.
Disclaimer: This article contains general information only and does not recommend or endorse any particular treatment. It is not intended to replace advice provided by your own doctor or medical or health professional.
New series Medicine or myth? premieres on Monday, May 20 at 8:30 pm on SBS. Capture all episodes on SBS On Demand after they air on Monday nights.
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