Chinese medicine has been around for thousands of years. Does this mean that it is effective? Well, without a doubt some of the folk remedies work, but many do not. But whether these therapies work or not has absolutely nothing to do with how long they’ve existed. The earth for thousand of years was felt to be flat. Blood letting for hundreds of years was an accepted therapy for just about everything. Warts were believed to be from evil spirits. No, just because your great grandmother put some herb on her skin and it healed her skin cancer, doesn’t mean that herb works.

And that is why evidence based medicine is so important. Someone might advertise how a particular “natural” treatment restores your “inner balance” and “harmonizes’ your energy. Poppycock! Whatever these terms such as “inner energy” and “harmony” mean is at best fuzzy. If the treatment truly works, then an appropriately designed study can prove this and also identify possible side effects, some of which might be worse than the original disease.

In China a very wise physician,  known for his belief in evidence based medicine, recently offered several thousand dollars reward. This was to be given to any practitioner, who could with 80% accuracy predict whether a woman was pregnant merely by feeling her pulse. It turns out the many Chinese folk healers claim to be able to diagnose pregnancy just by the nature of the pulse. Guess what? One famous healer was going to try but backed off, claiming something to the effect that the hospital testing environment hindered his ability to sense the correct pulse.

If something seems to good to be true, it probably isn’t. Even the venerable Dr. Oz, who is known for advertising miracle weight loss cures, is subject to this rule. Do certain coffee beans cause significant weight loss without any exercise or other dietary precautions? Common sense tells us no.

Remember that natural cures do not necessarily mean effective cures.