As coronavirus fears mount, some seek alternative healing

As coronavirus fears mount, some seek alternative healing

Acupuncture (photo credit: WIKIMEDIA)
Acupuncture
(photo credit: WIKIMEDIA)
As scientists and medical teams around the world seek to halt the coronavirus pandemic, and hopefully find a vaccine and an efficient treatment, President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela suggested to his citizens that some herbal tea might help against COVID-19, the LA Times reported.  
Maduro is not alone. China and India, both nations with a rich legacy of natural medicine, suggested that those who suffer from the symptoms of COVID-19 might be aided by them. China’s National Health Commission suggested in March that a “soup for clearing and detoxifying the lungs” might help some patients and warned that each case is unique. India suggested that some symptoms might be helped by a single dose of a homeopathic drug.  
The World Health Organization reported on its site that it is not advised to take any herbal remedies to treat COVID-19. In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned alternative healers that they should not boast they have a cure for the virus, only remedies to assist with symptoms.  
While some aspects of some alternative practices such as Chinese acupuncture had been proven as effective in a variety of clinical trials, other practices – such as homeopathic drugs – were examined by scientists and found to lack any scientifically proven benefit. Soups, being a warm and easy to digest food, might be a good choice for anyone who is suffering from illness, being much more of a common sense idea than medicine.  
Scientific reports from China contain no information about medical attempts to heal COVID-19 patients using herbs and acupuncture, but provide a wealth of insights into using ventilators, drugs and medical masks as prescribed in modern Western-style medicine.  
Alternative healing is extremely difficult to examine due to a variety of factors.  
The fact is that people who are sick want to get better and would do a lot for even a chance to heal, which is why everyone enjoys a story about a cancer patient beating the cancer back using traditional means – even if that is a unique, one-in-a-million case.   
In addition, the placebo effect had been tested and found to be incredibly effective, even if the alternative method which produced it is not.  
It is also true that although some things are proven to be beneficial, the reasons might not always be easy to understand. For example, are support groups effective because people share their emotions and release stress, or are they effective because they give patients a social framework that pushes them to take their pills on time and do their follow ups?  
Dr. Stephen Barrett, who operates Quackwatch, a site devoted to offering the public careful information and the debunking of health myths, told the LA Times that “it’s up to the people who make the claim to provide the evidence.”