This is Part 2 of the alternative medicine herbal remedies interview with Dr James Geiger, MD. To find out more about Dr Geiger, visit his website at JamesGeigerMD.com.
James Geiger, MD is a Board Certified Anesthesiologist with more than 25 years experience. He is also a certified Clinical Aromatherapist and Massage therapist, as well as the author of a unique new book for both doctors and patients alike called, The Sweet Smell of Success: Health and Wealth Secrets. Finally, he is the Chief Wellness Officer of oilMD.com. We have asked Dr Geiger to share with us his views of alternative medicine herbal remedies.
Basil Basics: Despite the large volumes of documented evidence to the contrary, some medical doctors remain skeptical about the concept of food as medicine. What can patients tell their doctors to convince them they should consider using the basic applications of foods like basil for alternative medicine herbal remedies?
Dr Geiger: An anesthesiologist friend of mine “caught” MRSA in the hospital and nearly died. For those who don’t know the term, it is better known as a deadly flesh-eating disease. While he was in the intensive care unit (ICU), I gave him essential oils to use in massage therapy and mangosteen juice with vitamins and minerals, plus some relevant medical reference papers.
This is not the first time I’ve had to make a choice about suggesting integrating natural remedies to physicians. I did the same thing for my father – a retired heart surgeon – when he had significant complications of heart surgery requiring extended rehabilitation.
Skepticism is a tough thing for anybody to overcome, most especially doctors. The only cure for that sort of disbelief is real, documented evidence.
Basil like other herbal plants and natural foods have healing properties that have not been determined to be unsafe for integration with medical prescriptions drugs. Although, under some circumstances it is recommended that herbs and supplements be stopped a week to ten days prior to surgery and anesthesia; also, antioxidants should be avoided when undergoing certain types of chemotherapy. Perhaps natural remedies should not be judged with the same scientific methodology used for the clinical analysis of prescription medications. As far as efficacy is concerned, employing the logic that herbs are “at least as likely as not to help” is probably enough analysis to suggest health benefits.
Here is a brief review, for example, of the current evidence on the influence of essential oils and juice therapy on the process of wound healing for cases such as my doctor friend’s MRSA:
This excellent paper in the Journal of Wound Care reports on a literature review of evidence on the influence of essential oils on wound healing and their potential application in clinical practice. The paper focuses mainly on tea tree, lavender, chamomile, thyme, and ocimum (basil) oils (Woollard 2007).
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major nosocomial pathogen which causes severe morbidity and mortality worldwide. Garcinia mangostana was identified as the most potent Thai medicinal plant investigated for its activity against MRSA. The antibacterial activity was traced to the prenylated xanthone, a-mangostin (Chomnawang 2009).
Here are two quality papers which, instead of making excuses for the lack of human studies in the current state of wellness research, reveal two preliminary studies suggesting it could be possible to provide solid evidence of efficacy – the capacity to produce an effect – and safety in order to justify their integrative approach for wound care and many other areas in need of improved health.
1. The influence of essential oils on the process of wound healing: a review of the current evidence. Woollard AC, Tatham KC, Barker S. J Wound Care. 2007 Jun;16(6):255-7.
2. Antibacterial activity of Thai medicinal plants against methicillin-resistant,Staphylococcus aureus. Chomnawang MT, Surassmo S, Wongsariya K, Bunyapraphatsara N. Fitoterapia. 2009 Mar;80(2):102-4.