Alternate Health Products, Information & Services
Why did I start Beneforce.com (which is also our mission statement):
I started this website several years ago because I felt that there was far too much myth and misinformation on the effectiveness of traditional medicine and there was a need to demystify and explain how and why these, sometimes ancient, remedies work.
The first problem I encountered was the shortage of real (validated or conclusive) information available. There may be a huge database on alternative medicine but if one considers the vast scope of traditional medicine information, real information (as opposed to claims and guesses) turns out to be sparse and very distributed.
As I researched the literature available I became appalled at the extent of misinformation presented in popular, best selling, books on many of the modalities, in particular herbal remedies. Even contemporary books still quote Culpepper extensively who should be applauded for bringing together in one volume a very large number of "Healing Herbs" but should never be referred to for their efficacy and potential danger. His contribution made when he translated from Latin The London Dispensatory and Physical Directory cannot be denied but his tendency to only see the good in herbs and see too much good in most herbs has unfortunately turned his Complete Herbal and English Physician into something approaching fiction. Yet he is still quoted today as an authoritative source.
The misinformation that I encountered is not only limited to erroneous claims on the effect of remedies but a fundamental lack of understanding of the holistic effect of the remedy.
Aspirin, available over the counter is a synthesized compound that emulates an extract from the bark of a Willow tree which has been used since ancient times for pain, fevers, gout, rheumatism and aches. Assuming that the two (aspirin and willow bark) are interchangeable is not accurate. Willow bark contains much more than salicylic acid (aspirin), it also contains salicin the phenolic glycoside that is hydrolyzed to salicylic acid in the body, several other phenolic glycosides, coumaric acid, tannins and flavonoids.
This is an example of where I have found much of the misleading information. It is true that Willow bark extract will cure the aches and pains mentioned above just as effectively as aspirin but the other constituents of willow bark cannot be ignored. They are present in the extract and are also ingested. Coumaric acid is antimicrobial and antifungal, flavonoids are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Overall not a bad combination for your average ache or pain.
The misinformation comes in play when claims are made that Willow Bark extract is antioxidant due to the flavonoids. By the time you have ingested enough willow bark extract to obtain a therapeutic dose of flavonoids you have overdosed so much on the other constituents that, at best, you will be very ill.
It is true that most flavonoids are antioxidants. It is also true that there are flavonoids in willow bark. It is not true that willow bark extract is a good antioxidant remedy.
This misinformation poses a threat in industrial countries where traditional medicine (also called alternative medicine) is used as CAM (Complimentary Alternative Medicine). An example of this is the use of Ma Huang (Ephedra, traditionally used for respiratory problems) in the United States in excessive dosage as a dietary aid which lead to the death of at least 12 people (see http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs134/en/) .
In non-industrialized countries or developing countries, where traditional medicine is often the only form of medicine available, there is little more than information passed down from generation to generation. Some of these countries have some form of regulation of herbal remedies but much is still unregulated and undocumented.
The World Health Organization are working with many of these countries to establish some form of discipline and as this progresses I hope it will ease the plight of the ill.
In the meantime all I can do on Beneforce is to combine as much real knowledge on each remedy to form a more reliable (I would like to say "accurate" but it is impossible to weed out all misleading information) reference base. If this saves the life of one person only I will feel that it was worth it.
Beneforce.com explores, describes and presents the fields of Holistic Medicine, Alternative Health and related products. We discuss many aspects and disciplines of Holistic Health and where possible explain the origins and beliefs underlying many techniques, treatments and alternate health products.
On Beneforce we also provide a service to manufacturers and suppliers to advertise their products on our pages. We offer a convenient shopping site where their products can be bought. We do not endorse the products and do not accept any responsibility for their use. Any claims that are made on any of our pages about the use and effectiveness of the products, techniques or remedies are part of the advertisements placed on our pages by the suppliers of the products.
Holistic and Alternative Health products are not always subjected to the same scrutiny as pharmaceutical medication and prescription drugs. We caution our visitors to keep this in mind when evaluating alternative treatments. We do not provide professional advice or services in any of the fields we cover on this site. We recommend that, before any treatment or technique is used or before any holistic or alternative medicine is taken, you consult an appropriate professional or practitioner.