10 Reasons why you shouldn’t use natural remedies


Katie Tietje (nom de quack Modern Alternative Mama) continues to grace us with her own charming brand of scientific illiteracy. Because, really, who doesn’t consider someone with no scientific knowledge and no medical training to be an excellent source of medical advice?

Recently she offered 10 reason for using natural remedies. Paradoxically they are actually reasons why you SHOULDN’T use natural remedies.

To wit:

1. Natural remedies don’t work.

I’m a skeptic. The definition of a skeptic is not someone who is skeptical in the colloquial sense. A skeptic is someone who demands proof. If natural remedies actually worked, there would be studies that show that they actually work, but there aren’t any. And it’s not because no one has looked.

According to Mielczarek and Engler in Measuring Mythology: Startling Concepts in NCCAM grants:

[pullquote align=”right” color=”#565592″]Since herbs are natural, they must be safe. Kind of like heroin, cocaine and tobacco.[/pullquote]

Using data from the NIH website,we studied all NCCAM funding awards from 2000 to the present. We found no discoveries in alternative medicine that justify the existence of the center; Congress has mandated into the health care bill the tax burden of paying for myths and commercial interests.

Billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on testing botanicals, yoga, magnets, and distance healing as interventions for serious medical problems such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and cancer…

Did Americans really need to spend millions of dollars to learn that“distance healing” cannot cure brain cancer or HIV/AIDS; shark cartilage does not affect the survival rates of cancer patients; vitamin E and selenium do not mitigate prostate cancer; magnets are not useful for fibromyalgia or carpal tunnel syndrome; and clinical trials using coffee enemas combined with heavy vitamin supplementation for patients with pancreatic or prostate cancer are unsafe?

2. They’re not safe.

Tietje operates on the delightful misapprehension that because herbs are natural, they must be safe. Kind of like heroin, cocaine and tobacco.

3. You get what you pay for.

According to Tietje:

Here’s another cool thing — herbs are very affordable. They’re often $1/oz. or less (and an ounce of dry plant material is a lot). Even prepared remedies are often $20 – $30 for a small bottle, which usually will last for months to years. Herbal remedies can be stored longer than most OTC medicines, and can be taken by multiple family members…

Amazingly, they cost no more than food because that’s all they are.

4. Altie-shills like Tietje make them easy to buy.

This is not an advantage for anyone except altie-shills like Katie who profit from selling ground up leaves to gullible people.

5. You can pretend that they are customized just for you.

That’s not especially compelling when they don’t work in any formulation, regardless of whether the formulation was customized for you.

6. A sure sign of quackery is a treatment advertised to cure many different unrelated types of pathology.

Katie says:

Ginger can be used for colds, flu, inflammation/pain, upset stomachs, cancer, and more! Lavender can be used for burns, promoting relaxation, headaches, and more. Herbs are so versatile that it’s possible to have only a few common ones around and still be able to treat many different things.

And if you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I’d like to sell you.

7. Anyone who believes that curing cancer is a do it yourself project is a fool or worse.

According to Katie:

I love knowing that if someone isn’t feeling well, I have what I need in the kitchen to whip up something to make them feel better in minutes. That’s just awesome.

No, that’s just moronic.

8. It makes no difference that you control the ingredients when none of the ingredients are efficacious.

9. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

Such as:

I know — when you’re brand new to natural remedies, it can seem really intimidating. But I promise, they are easy. Most only require a few ingredients, and come together in just a few minutes. Even the ones that take longer really only need time to sit — not active time from you.

But Katie saved the best reason for last.

10. Katie can profit from your gullibility!


In about a month, Natural Remedies For Kids is coming. It’s a beautiful, full-color guide to making and using your own natural remedies (and despite the title, they’re for the whole family). It’s also my first traditionally published book. 🙂

See, I once was totally intimidated, too. I wished I had an experienced mama to come alongside me and show me how to get started. That’s why, after 6+ years of experience with using and preparing natural remedies, I wrote this book!

You’ll learn all about the basic preparation methods — teas, decoctions, infusions, tinctures, salves, lotions, and more. Plus, which herbs to start with in your natural medicine cabinet.

My advice? When contemplating buying and using natural remedies, keep in mind that famous ancient saying:

A fool and his money are soon parted.

Those are truly words to live by.