Alternative medicine has its own benefits

I was terribly disturbed by the report (More harm than good; Aug 15) which gave the impression that nearly all complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) are harmful.

This will potentially deprive patients of an avenue to seek better outcomes for their health conditions.

The report mentions studies that were carried out, but as we know studies can be biased, depending on who funds them. It is nice to give a textbook answer but what is more important is to find out whether CAM benefited the patient, and if so, in what way.

The news report cites studies on arthritis and how patients had suffered from delayed treatment because they had first sought CAM.

However, I have also seen patients recover solely from diet change and herbs.

I agree that herbs may interact with medications. This is why patients should seek qualified CAM professionals for advice, who are also trained in herb-drug interactions.

In contrast, most medical doctors are not trained professionally in herbs and diet.

I am not trying to defend CAM. All kinds of medicines, whether is conventional or natural has value and we should not drive a wedge between the two groups.

Sebastian Liew