Many people are skeptical of alternative medicine, myself included, but there are people all over the world who believe there is a cure for the most incurable diseases. Even though I practice modern medicine, I am on a mission to uncover the mysticism behind unconventional healers.
I have traveled the world to the actual places where these treatments are being done, I have spoken with experts, I have seen patients being treated and I have gone into the wild to find the source of these “medicines.” You won’t believe what I have found…
Here are five treatments that you will be surprised to learn are being used by alternative healers as medicine:
1. Bee sting therapy
Most of us think of a bee sting as something that can cause horrible allergic reactions and pain, but some doctors view it as a treatment for multiple illnesses, such as autoimmune diseases, and nervous system diseases, arthritis and migraines. The science is called Apitherapy, where a bee is taken with tweezers, agitated and then placed on the skin so that the bee will sting and the venom will work its magic. The American Medical Association does not officially sanction it because of the risk of allergic reactions. But, you will find doctors in the US who specialize in using this treatment, and they will always pre-medicate a person first so they don’t go into anaphylactic shock.
2. Snake powder
Descendants of ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures, now natives in Guatemala, hunt rattlesnakes because they believe the powder they can extract is good for the immune system and can cure cancer, AIDS and diabetes. The dose is one spoonful of snake powder three times a day until the cancer or illness is gone. When a rattlesnake is caught in the wild, special “snake powder producers” will cut off the skin, head and rattle, scrape out the intestines, and then roast it over low heat for three days. Afterwards, the dehydrated snake gets pulverized with a grinder and then passed through a strainer until a fine powder is formed. The powder is then bottled and can be bought at the local pharmacy without a prescription.
3. Leech therapy
Leeches have been used since the Middle Ages for medical purposes such as blood purification and even hemorrhoids. Today they are most commonly used by plastic surgeons to assist patients in their recovery from reconstructive surgery when there is a back-up of blood in the tissue. However, there are new “leech therapists” who are using leeches as a treatment for high blood pressure, depression and weight loss. These therapists believe the leech injects a substance that increases serotonin, increases the metabolism, and boosts the immune system. I spoke to one man who supposedly lost 20 pounds after three months of leech therapy.
4. Consuming the placenta after childbirth
Placentophagy is the consumption of the placenta after childbirth, and it has gained tremendous popularity as modern women search for natural ways to treat postpartum depression. The placenta is most often dehydrated, grinded and put into pill form to be taken orally. Some midwives will also place a small piece of it under the tongue to stop intense bleeding after childbirth or add it to smoothies to help the immediate postpartum period, to give the mother more energy and to help with the bleeding.
Although controversial, some medical doctors agree that eating the placenta can be beneficial, as it's loaded with hormones and nutrients. But, if the placenta is not working after a short time, doctors recommend seeking proven medications. If you decide to try this, make sure the hospital or birthing center is equipped to create a sterile environment for the placenta.
5. Shark cartilage treatment
I recently traveled to the southern part of Guatemala where the people believe the use of shark cartilage in supplements can help heal the body, specifically from cancer, as well as other joint ailments. One reason it's so popular is based in theory that sharks do not get cancer. From a medical perspective, the shark cartilage deprives the mass or cancer from the nutrients it needs to grow. It is a controversial practice because the sharks are being over-fished for their fins and cartilage and then discarded. However, the locals in Guatemala use all of it for food and medicine, and the alternative doctors I spoke with have had a 90% success rate in treating cancer. That is not something to be ignored. Currently, the American Cancer Society is investigating its effectiveness.
All of these treatments have anecdotal and success stories, but it's clear that more research still needs to be done. Please do not try any of these on your own before consulting your doctor.