Some people have gotten the idea that only pharma drugs will help people recover from chronic illness because “serious” conditions require “serious” drugs with strong side effects. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The supplement red yeast rice contains the molecule lovastatin (Monacolin K), which is the same molecule as the statin drug lovastatin. It’s pretty much a prescription drug even though you don’t need a prescription to get your hands on it. There are other natural sources of prescription or pharma drugs:
- Opiates natural occur in kratom, the poppy plant Papaver Somniferum, and the leaves of the coca plant. People have been making recreational drugs from some of these plants for a long time.
- Colchicine was originally sourced from plants, although that practice has fallen out of use. The pharma version is regularly used to treat pericarditis.
- Artemisinin, a Nobel prize winning drug used for malaria, originally came from artemisia annua. It might be useful for chronic illness.
The most proven treatment right now is HBOT, or hyperbaric oxygen. Both pressure and oxygen are naturally occurring, though HBOT chambers tend to create both in somewhat artificial ways instead of the “natural” way.
Survey data highlights 5 other treatments that seem to help people recover:
- Fasting for more than 2 days.
- Black seed oil from Nigella Sativa.
- Statins, which you can get from red yeast rice.
- Ivermectin, which is made by a bacteria.
- Hydroxychloroquine, which is a synthetic chemical with properties arguably superior to the natural version (quinine).
While conventional medicine (e.g. corticosteroids, gabapentin, psych drugs) was popular among chronic illness patients, it had a poor showing when it came to helping people get their lives back. You can see that natural treatments make up 3-5 treatments out of the top 6, depending on how you classify ivermectin and HBOT.
Extended fasting and black seed oil are definitely natural treatments that come from outside mainstream allopathic medicine.
Unfortunately, higher riskier dosages are needed to achieve better results. The following post explains the data:
The data is strongly indicating that the drugs that help the root cause in one person will worsen the root cause in some other patients. This is true for both natural treatments and pharma treatments.
It’s well known that natural products like grapefruit (e.g. juice) will interact with medications.
In an ideal world, pharmacists would have access to more knowledge regarding drug interactions between pharma drugs and natural products. However, because there isn’t much tracking of adverse events related to natural health products, we tend to have less knowledge about their pharmacokinetics and drug interactions. Using higher dosages, as discussed in the previous section, definitely increases the dangers of potential drug interactions.
I don’t (currently) know where to get good information about drug interactions related to products like black seed oil. The scientific literature does suggest that black seed oil would interact with:
- Anesthesia, e.g. the kind used for surgery. Black Seed Oil and Perioperative Serotonin Syndrome: A Case Report - PubMed
- Phenytoin. See Potential herb-drug interaction risk of thymoquinone and phenytoin - PubMed
- Cyclosporine. See Impact of thymoquinone on cyclosporine A pharmacokinetics and toxicity in rodents - PubMed
Hopefully this situation will get better in the future. Unfortunately, this is one area where natural products lag behind pharmaceutical products.
You can help the current situation a little bit by contributing your data to the ongoing survey; the survey will be a systematic effort to track treatment outcomes, both good and bad. I haven’t seen data on the risks of natural anticoag drugs in chronic illness patients.
Definitely do not ignore natural treatments. While they are not popular in mainstream allopathic medicine, the results have so far been superior. Alternative treatments - both natural and pharma-based - are responsible for most of the recoveries that are happening (excluding the people who simply got better over time).
Also, do not ignore the risks! Some/many natural treatments are just as risky as pharmaceutical-based approaches.