Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks





Anti-Antibiotic Practitioner
By Brian Carter, MS, LAc


I am a student of TCM attending (school name erased). I have been having phlegm problems for about two months now. I have gotten herbs for this cough and phlegm. It has gotten better but the phlegm never went away. This past weekend I didn't get enough rest and since Monday I have had a severe sore throat. I went to one of my teacher's clinics and got acupuncture, herbs, and some homeopathic remedies as well. The next day I developed an earache. I went to see another Dr. of TCM and got some more herbs and acupuncture for the earache, sore throat, and cough. The sore throat is now not as painful, but I still have the earache.

My teacher is stressing me not to go see a MD and get antibiotics. Is this strep throat and what is your viewpoint and advice for my situation? It's hard to stay loyal to natural healing when being sick makes me spend money and lose money since I cannot work! I am less than satisfied with the results TCM and homeopathy have yielded me this time.

Thanks for your time in reading my question!


Sometimes the practitioner's pattern diagnosis is wrong, or the best formula isn't chosen, or the dosage is too low. For the most part, I've succeeded in treating such problems with herbs, but occasionally antibiotics are necessary.

Your teacher is off base on two counts - we should never tell a patient not to see another practitioner or try another medicine - that's unethical, and in some cases may not be in the best interest of the patient. Regardless, we in alternative medicine should be cooperating with competent MD's, not living in another ivory tower. Imagine what we'd think if we heard about an MD urging a patient not to try acupuncture or Chinese herbs.

Antibiotics are not all bad. We mustn't forget that great health and long lifespans are partly because of Western medicine's advances. Sometimes they are the best remedy. Even though antibiotics can cause harm in other ways (e.g. intestinal imbalances), such problems are also treatable, especially if you look for them and deal with them quickly. So let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Contrary to your teacher, I would suggest you consider an MD and antibiotic for the ear infection. This may not solve all your problems, since you had the phlegm issue for 2 months, so I would suggest you follow up with herbs with a different practitioner who will re-evaluate your diagnoses, or if you stick with the same teacher, make sure he/she is planning to re-evaluate your pattern diagnoses and try different herbs.

Let me know how it goes,

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All information herein provided is for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of appropriate local experts and authorities.

Copyright 1999-2074, Pulse Media International, Brian Carter, MSci, LAc, Editor