Basically, we need to understand what the difficulties are of getting non conventional therapies of any sort approved by the FDA in the United States. Below I have given some explanations why I believe this is the case.
The entire medical establishment alongside government agencies believe that only pharmaceutical drugs can cure a disease. Any form of alternative cure or therapy is as a result treated with disdain. Therefore, it is difficult for Holistic medical practitioners to overcome these prejudicial hurdles in order to prove their effectiveness as a healing method.
Drug companies, which fund many of the studies for new drugs, have little or no interest in pursuing alternative treatments and cures. Since they are generally are inexpensive and cannot be PATENTED. Drug companies are in the business of making money with a drug that can be patented. You can not patent anything that exists in nature. You cannot for instance patent carrot or wheatgrass juice. There is no money to be made from spending millions of dollars on research to show that vitamin C helps to fight cancer, since anyone can buy the substance at the local drugstore.
The main criticism that the medical establishment has of holistic medical treatments is a lack of traditional scientific testing and documentation. One reason for the absence of mainstream research on alternative treatments is that the funding institutions that provide the money for cancer research for instance do not support research into alternative cancer therapies.
This situation creates a double bind for Holistic medical therapies: they are criticized for not having adequate research to document their effectiveness, yet funding is not made available for such studies.
The conventional medicine experimental approach calls for checking one substance at a time, and this approach leads to a search for a "magic bullet" that would be the cure for a particular disease. However, the very nature of this traditional research methodology ignores the multidimensional nature of the disease. What is needed is new ways to evaluate the effectiveness of Holistic medicines.
Diseases such as cancer and high blood pressure are multidimensional by nature. It is nearly impossible to study the effects of diet, therapeutic agents, and other influences in the conventional research framework. Investigating several variables calls for dozens of experiments and would require impossible amounts of research funding.
Another reason why there is lack of research into Holistic medical therapies for example is that many of those therapies are offered as part of an integrated program. For example, the National Cancer Institute's laetrile (Vitamin B-17) study produced negative results. However, proponents of laetrile point out that the NCI study ignored diet, nutritional supplements, water and other substances that are synergistically involved in producing laetrile's beneficial effects.
It is almost impossible to design a double-blind study to find out whether combinations of those different elements: colon cleanse, kidney cleanse, liver/gallbladder cleanse, dietary supplements, exercise, meditation, exercise, massage, acupuncture, oxygen therapy, juicing, love, support, etc, really cures cancer because double-blind studies are designed only to determine whether one or few therapies work. The lack of concise science in the approach of holistic medicines and the multidimensional characteristics of the diseases and the therapies at work makes it difficult to be clear which therapies are effective.
In a world where logic reigns supreme it is difficult to explain a therapy or treatment that has no logical explanation. For example antibiotics are designed to kill bacteria both good and bad in the body. Garlic kills bad bacteria but allows good bacteria to flourish! How do you explain that. Many alternative therapies cannot be easily explained with logic, they however do have intuitive appeal.
The one size fits all approach of conventional medicine is designed to provide a solution to a particular symptom regardless of the underlying causes. Holistic medicines however, are often individually suited for every single patient. The many patients you have, that's how many therapies you are going to get. What caused the symptoms of one person may be entirely different to what caused it for another. Just like the cancer diet. You have as many individual diets as you have individuals. They can not be evaluated as one single therapy.
Holistic therapies take a WHOLISTIC APPROACH. It takes the workings of the mind, body, and spirit together. We still do not have a science to evaluate this. In other words, most natural programs for curing cancer can not be proven effective by the same means as conventional therapies. Breaking programs in separate pieces and evaluating every single piece individually rarely yields positive results.
Normally, it takes the FDA about 10 years and cost up to $250 million for a new cancer drug takes to be approved. Many drugs are well researched and marketed in other countries, but remain unapproved by the FDA in the U.S. This sadly is also true for a number of the alternative natural therapies.
Bolaji Alli is the founder and CEO of Holistic Miracles, an international organisation committed to empowering the physical well being of humanity. He has spent the last twenty years researching into various areas of alternative healing methods such as herbalism, nutrition, acupuncture etc. He is also a distributor for Nature Sunshine products.