Stuck In The Middle

Recently I published a post presenting several pieces of evidence about homeopathy and why it doesn’t really work beyond a placebo effect. While no one, as of this writing, has posted any replies, there was quite a debate on Twitter. I met some fantastic new people because of it for whom I have respect.

One person made a very interesting point that still has me thinking. They stated that as an herbalist I have zero credibility with the medical profession. This is quite true. So I have to wonder if it is possible at all for herbalists and aromatherapist (who use oils as applied to the skin, not inhaled) to earn ANY sort of credibility with the medical profession.

I’m not the kind of herbalist who insists on the natural approach 100% of the time. I feel that herbs can be a great adjunct for standard medical treatment when the herbs don’t interfere with the prescription medications.. Pharmaceuticals have an advantage in many cases. They act faster to relieve symptoms. Why wait 2 days to feel better with a cold when you can take NyQuil and be unconscious in 30 minutes?

I’m also an advocate for only using herbs to assist with mild to moderate ailments. Herbs, unless taken to improve appetite or alleviate symptoms, should not ever be used as a sole treatment for major medical issues. I don’t personally know any herbalist who feels they should be a replacement in cases like that. To me, it would be the soul of irresponsibility.

So medical practitioners think I’m a quack. Now that I’m writing skeptical articles about the scientific flaws of of some holistic and alternative practices, I’m probably going to be getting much less popular in that arena as well.

I know…I worry too much about what others think sometimes. But again, the debate I had really made me wonder if I should look at changing my profession. My big problem is, this is what I’m trained for. I know herbs. I know about the phytochemistry of herbs. I know what interacts with what to MAKE it work. I’ve taken A&P so many times that I might as well be pre-med.

The problem is that I don’t want to be a doctor. I love plant chemistry. The idea of being a botanist bores me to tears and I don’t know that I’m smart enough to be a chemist. So I’m stuck in the middle.

***Since I wrote the above piece, I had a long talk with Jeff Wagg, DJ Grothe and several other people. Those discussions helped me to finalize the decision to drop out of school. I know that I’m not going to make a living as an herbalist. My ethics won’t allow me to sell people things that they may not need. Most of the time I’d be sending people to their doctors.

What WAS pointed out to me though is that I have a great opportunity to be a bridge between the herbalists and the skeptics. It’s a way that I could promote understanding between both sides. So maybe being stuck in the middle isn’t such a bad thing after all.***


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