- The Facts:
This article was written by Sayer Ji, founder of Greenmedinfo.com where it was originally published. Posted here with permission.
- Reflect On:
A favourite herbal medicine of the ancients, peppermint leaves have been found in Egyptian pyramids dating back to 1,000 BC. Modern scientific investigations have now confirmed that this remarkable plant has over a dozen healing properties.
In our continuing effort to educate folks to the vast array of healing agents found in the natural world around us, we are excited to feature peppermint, a member of the aromatic mint family that you may already have squirreled away somewhere in your kitchen cupboard. While most have experienced peppermint as a flavoring agent, or perhaps as a comforting cup of herbal tea, few are aware of its wide range of experimentally confirmed therapeutic properties.
The ancients certainly were aware of the mint family’s medicinal value, having been used as herbal medicines in ancient Egypt, Greek and Rome thousands of years ago.[i] Dried peppermint leaves have even been found in several Egyptian pyramids carbon dating back to 1,000 BC.
Today, modern scientific investigations are revealing an abundance of potential health benefits associated with the use of different components of the peppermint plant, including aromatherapeutic, topical and internal applications.
Most of the human research on peppermint performed thus far indicates this plant has great value in treating gastrointestinal disorders, including:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Since the late 90’s it was discovered that enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules are safe and effective in the treatment of this increasingly prevalent disorder.[ii] This beneficial effect extends to the pediatric community. In one children’s trial 75% of those receiving peppermint oil had reduced severity of pain associated with IBS within 2 weeks.[iii] Another 2005 trial in adults concluded that “Taking into account the currently available drug treatments for IBS Peppermint oil (1-2 capsules t.i.d. over 24 weeks) may be the drug of first choice in IBS patients with non-serious constipation or diarrhea to alleviate general symptoms and to improve quality of life.”[iv] In another 2007 trial 75% of patients receiving peppermint oil saw an impressive 50% reduction of “total irritable bowel syndrome score.”[v] Most recently, a study published January of this year found that peppermint oil was effective in relieving abdominal pain in diarrhea predominant irritable bowel syndrome.[vi]
- Colonic spasm – Peppermint oil has been studied as a safe and effective alternative to the drug Buscopan for its ability to reduce spasms during barium enemas.[vii] [viii]
- Gastric Emptying Disorders – Peppermint has been found to enhance gastric emptying, suggesting its potential use in a clinical setting for patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders.[ix]
- Functional dyspepsia – A 2000 study published in the journal Ailment Pharmacology and Therapy found that 90 mg of peppermint oil and 50 mg of caraway oil resulted in 67% of patients reporting “much or very much improved” in their symptoms of functional dyspepsia. [x]
- Infantile Colic: A 2013 study found that peppermint is at least as effective as the chemical simethicone in the treatment of infantile colic.[xi]
Other studied applications include
- Breastfeeding Associated Nipple Pain and Damage: A 2007 study found that peppermint water prevented nipple cracks and nipple pain in breastfeeding mothers.[xii]
- Tuberculosis: A 2009 study found that inhaled essential oil of peppermint was able to rapidly regress tuberculous inflammation, leading the authors to conclude: “This procedure may be used to prevent recurrences and exacerbation of pulmonary tuberculosis.”[xiii]
- Allergic rhinitis (hay fever): A 2001 preclinical study found that extracts of the leaves of peppermint inhibit histamine release indicating it may be clinically effective in alleviating the nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitis.[xiv]
- Shingles Associated Pain (Post-Herpetic Neuralgia): A 2002 case study found that topical peppermint oil treatment resulted in a near immediate improvement of shingles associated neuropathic pain symptoms; the therapeutic effects persisted throughout the entire 2 months of follow-up treatment. [xv]
- Memory problems: A 2006 study found that the simple aroma of peppermint enhances memory and increases alertness in human subjects.[xvi]
- Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea: A 2013 study found that peppermint oil was found to be effective in reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea, and at reduced cost versus standard drug-based treatment.[xvii]
- Prostate Cancer: Preclinical research indicates that peppermint contains a compound known as menthol which inhibits prostate cancer growth.[xviii] [xix]
- Radiation Damage: Preclinical research indicates peppermint protects against radiation-induced DNA damage and cell death.[xx] [xxi]
- Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1: Peppermint has been found to have inhibitory activity against acyclovir-resistant Herpes Simplex virus type 1.[xxii] [xxiii]
- Dental Caries/Bad Breath: Peppermint oil extract has been found to be superiorto the mouthwash chemical chlorhexidine inhibiting Streptococus mutans driven biofilm formation associated with dental caries.[xxiv] [xxv] This may explain why powdered peppermint leaves were used in the Middle Ages to combat halitosis and whiten teeth.
Peppermint is actually a hybridized cross between Water Mint (Mentha aquatica) and Spearmint (Mentha spicata),[xxvi] the latter of which has also been researched to possess remarkable therapeutic properties, such as the ability to exert significant anti-androgenic effects in polycystic ovarian syndrome[xxvii] and ameliorating the related condition of mild hirsutism, marked by excessive hair growth in females.[xxviii]
Like all plant medicines, extreme caution must be exercised when using extracts and especially essential oils. Also, remember that more is not always better. A recent study on the use of rosemary in improving cognitive performance in the elderly found that a lower ‘culinary’ dose (750 mg) was not only more effective in improving cognition (as measured by memory speed) than a higher dose, but the highest dose (6,000 mg) had a significant memory impairing effect.[xxix] This illustrates quite nicely how less can be more, and why an occasional nightly cup of peppermint tea may be far superior as preventive strategy than taking large ‘heroic’ doses of an herb only after a serious health problem sets in.
- [i] A. Sustrikova, I. Salamon, Essential oil of peppermint (Mentha x piperita L.) from fields in Eastern Slovakia., 2004: Zahradnictvi Horticultural Science 31(1): 31-36
- [ii] J H Liu, G H Chen, H Z Yeh, C K Huang, S K Poon. Enteric-coated peppermint-oil capsules in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a prospective, randomized trial. J Gastroenterol. 1997 Dec;32(6):765-8. PMID: 9430014
- [iii] R M Kline, J J Kline, Di Palma J, G J Barbero. Enteric-coated, pH-dependent peppermint oil capsules for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome in children. J Pediatr. 2001 Jan;138(1):125-8. PMID: 11148527
- [iv] H G Grigoleit, P Grigoleit. Peppermint oil in irritable bowel syndrome. Phytomedicine. 2005 Aug;12(8):601-6. PMID: 16121521
- [v] G Cappello, M Spezzaferro, L Grossi, L Manzoli, L Marzio. Peppermint oil (Mintoil) in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a prospective double blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. Dig Liver Dis. 2007 Jun;39(6):530-6. Epub 2007 Apr 8. PMID: 17420159
- [vi] M S Alam, P K Roy, A R Miah, S H Mollick, M R Khan, M C Mahmud, S Khatun. Efficacy of Peppermint Oil in Diarrhea Predominant IBS – A Double Blind Randomized Placebo – Controlled Study. Mymensingh Med J. 2013 Jan ;22(1):27-30. PMID: 23416804
- [vii] M J Sparks, P O’Sullivan, A A Herrington, S K Morcos. Does peppermint oil relieve spasm during barium enema? Br J Radiol. 1995 Aug;68(812):841-3. PMID: 7551780
- [viii] T Asao, H Kuwano, M Ide, I Hirayama, J-I Nakamura, K-I Fujita, R Horiuti. Spasmolytic effect of peppermint oil in barium during double-contrast barium enema compared with Buscopan. Clin Radiol. 2003 Apr;58(4):301-5. PMID: 12662951
- [ix] Masahiko Inamori, Tomoyuki Akiyama, Keiko Akimoto, Koji Fujita, Hirokazu Takahashi, Masato Yoneda, Yasunobu Abe, Kensuke Kubota, Satoru Saito, Norio Ueno, Atsushi Nakajima. Early effects of peppermint oil on gastric emptying: a crossover study using a continuous real-time 13C breath test (BreathID system). J Gastroenterol. 2007 Jul;42(7):539-42. Epub 2007 Jul 25. PMID: 17653649
- [x] B May, S Köhler, B Schneider. Efficacy and tolerability of a fixed combination of peppermint oil and caraway oil in patients suffering from functional dyspepsia. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2000 Dec;14(12):1671-7. PMID: 11121917
- [xi] João Guilherme Bezerra Alves, Rita de Cássia Coelho Moraes de Brito, Telma Samila Cavalcanti. Effectiveness of Mentha piperita in the Treatment of Infantile Colic: A Crossover Study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012 ;2012:981352. Epub 2012 Jul 12. PMID: 22844342
- [xii] Manizheh Sayyah Melli, Mohammad Reza Rashidi, Abbas Delazar, Elaheh Madarek, Mohammad Hassan Kargar Maher, Alieh Ghasemzadeh, Kamran Sadaghat, Zohreh Tahmasebi. Effect of peppermint water on prevention of nipple cracks in lactating primiparous women: a randomized controlled trial. Int Breastfeed J. 2007;2:7. Epub 2007 Apr 19. PMID: 17442122
- [xiii] V A Shkurupiĭ, O A Odintsova, N V Kazarinova, K G Tkrachenko. [Use of essential oil of peppermint (Mentha piperita) in the complex treatment of patients with infiltrative pulmonary tuberculosis]. Virol J. 2009 Jan 20;6:8. PMID: 17128800
- [xiv] T Inoue, Y Sugimoto, H Masuda, C Kamei. Effects of peppermint (Mentha piperita L.) extracts on experimental allergic rhinitis in rats. Biol Pharm Bull. 2001 Jan;24(1):92-5. PMID: 11201253
- [xv] Simon J Davies, Louise M Harding, Andrew P Baranowski. A novel treatment of postherpetic neuralgia using peppermint oil. Clin J Pain. 2002 May-Jun;18(3):200-2 PMID: 12048423
- [xvi] Mark Moss, Steven Hewitt, Lucy Moss, Keith Wesnes. Modulation of cognitive performance and mood by aromas of peppermint and ylang-ylang. Nutr Cancer. 2006;55(1):53-62. PMID: 18041606
- [xvii] Z Tayarani-Najaran, E Talasaz-Firoozi, R Nasiri, N Jalali, Mk Hassanzadeh. Antiemetic activity of volatile oil from Mentha spicata and Mentha× piperita in chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.Ecancermedicalscience. 2013 ;7:290. Epub 2013 Jan 31. PMID: 23390455
- [xviii] Eun-Jung Park, Su-Hwa Kim, Byung-Joo Kim, Sung-Young Kim, Insuk So, Ju-Hong Jeon. Menthol Enhances an Antiproliferative Activity of 1alpha,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D(3) in LNCaP Cells. J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2009 Mar;44(2):125-30. Epub 2009 Feb 28. PMID: 19308266
- [xix] Su-Hwa Kim, Joo-Hyun Nam, Eun-Jung Park, Byung-Joo Kim, Sung-Joon Kim, Insuk So, Ju-Hong Jeon. Menthol regulates TRPM8-independent processes in PC-3 prostate cancer cells. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2007 Apr;1770(4):659-65. Epub 2006 Nov 23. PMID: 18955132
- [xx] Hanaa A Hassan, Hani S Hafez, Mona S Goda. Mentha piperita as a pivotal neuro-protective agent against gamma irradiation induced DNA fragmentation and apoptosis : Mentha extract as a neuroprotective against gamma irradiation. Cytotechnology. 2013 Jan ;65(1):145-56. Epub 2012 Sep 21. PMID: 23011739
- [xxi] Ravindra M Samarth, Meenakshi Samarth. Protection against radiation-induced testicular damage in Swiss albino mice by Mentha piperita (Linn.).Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2009 Apr;104(4):329-34. PMID: 19320637
- [xxii] Silke Nolkemper, Jürgen Reichling, Florian C Stintzing, Reinhold Carle, Paul Schnitzler. Antiviral effect of aqueous extracts from species of the Lamiaceae family against Herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 in vitro. Planta Med. 2006 Dec;72(15):1378-82. Epub 2006 Nov 7. PMID: 17091431
- [xxiii] A Schuhmacher, J Reichling, P Schnitzler. Virucidal effect of peppermint oil on the enveloped viruses herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 in vitro. Phytomedicine. 2003;10(6-7):504-10. PMID: 13678235
- [xxiv] Iraj Rasooli, Shojaedin Shayegh, Massoud Taghizadeh, Shakiba Darvish Alipoor Astaneh. Phytotherapeutic prevention of dental biofilm formation.Phytother Res. 2008 Sep;22(9):1162-7. PMID: 18729251
- [xxv] Shojaedin Shayegh, Iraj Rasooli, Massoud Taghizadeh, Shakiba Darvish Alipoor Astaneh. Phytotherapeutic inhibition of supragingival dental plaque.Nat Prod Res. 2008 Mar 20;22(5):428-39. PMID: 18404563
- [xxvi] The Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs, Alex Frampton, The Reader’s Digest Association, 2009
- [xxvii] Paul Grant. Spearmint herbal tea has significant anti-androgen effects in polycystic ovarian syndrome. A randomized controlled trial. Phytother Res. 2009 Jul 7. PMID: 19585478
- [xxviii] Mehmet Akdoğan, Mehmet Numan Tamer, Erkan Cüre, Medine Cumhur Cüre, Banu Kale Köroğlu, Namik Delibaş. Effect of spearmint (Mentha spicata Labiatae) teas on androgen levels in women with hirsutism. Phytother Res. 2007 May;21(5):444-7. PMID: 17310494
- [xxix] Andrew Pengelly, James Snow, Simon Y Mills, Andrew Scholey, Keith Wesnes, Leah Reeves Butler. Short-term study on the effects of rosemary on cognitive function in an elderly population. J Med Food. 2012 Jan ;15(1):10-7. Epub 2011 Aug 30. PMID: 21877951
Originally published: 2018-08-31
Articule updated: 2019-05-21
Tips That May Help You Put Rheumatoid Arthritis Into Remission
In our modern day world, when something goes awry with our health, we often seek the advice of a medical professional to help understand what is going on and how we can treat it. While becoming aware of our ailments is important, the way in which we treat them is just as much so.
Health begins with prevention. Remaining aware of what is known to deplete our wellbeing is pertinent. And if you are faced with an unfortunate diagnosis, it’s necessary to understand it to the best of your ability, and acknowledge the factors that could have caused it, otherwise you may find yourself in the same situation again later on down the road. You must also know your healing options. There are many medicinal paths out there, and sometimes the one you are presented with is not necessarily the right one.
Here, rheumatoid arthritis is discussed, and you might be surprised at the healing options available to you.
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is defined as a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation of the joints, frequently accompanied by marked deformities, and ordinarily associated with manifestations of a general, or systemic, affliction.
This disorder, which often affects the small joints in the hands and feet, is the result of the immune system accidentally attacking the body’s own tissues, damaging the lining of the joints, and causing swelling that can become so severe that it can lead to bone erosion and deformed joints. Other parts of the body that can be affected are the skin, eyes, lungs, and blood vessels.
The Signs and Symptoms
RA can be difficult to diagnose, but knowing the factors involved is crucial. Some of the early signs include: fatigue, dry mouth, loss of appetite, irritated eyes that can even experience discharge, chest pain upon breathing, and hardened tissue in the form of small bumps under the skin on your arms.
You may then experience inflammation, stiffness, and pain in the fingers, wrists, knees, feet, ankles, or shoulders. Numbness, tingling, and burning are also common as a result of carpal tunnel syndrome, often associated with RA. You might also experience a fever accompanied by other RA symptoms.
The disorder, which can be terminal, can have pain so crippling that half of people who develop it will no longer be able to work within 10 years. Furthermore, within five years, 50 to 70 percent of RA’s victims will experience some form of disability. With such a small number (less than one percent) of people experiencing spontaneous remission, it can feel very defeating to live with.
Many of the doctor-prescribed medications do little to reverse RA, but rather alleviate the symptoms associated with the disorder. To do so, anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen and highly toxic drugs are often utilized. Steroids like prednisone can have many side effects, including an increased risk of infection, weight gain, worsening diabetes, cataracts in the eyes, and the thinning of bones.
Furthermore, there is also the concern of people with RA experiencing relapses while on these toxic medications. “That can happen within months or even many years after a patient has been started on a drug,” explains Dr. Hardin, a professor of medicine in the division of rheumatology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in the Bronx, New York. Dr. Hardin notes that this phenomenon is the result of people simply becoming resistant to medications.
“When I was diagnosed with RA, my rheumatologist started me on immuno-suppressants, steroids and methotrexate (a drug commonly used in chemotherapy),” says Rachna Chhachhi, a certified nutritional therapist. “After a while of feeling good, I noticed that my hair had started falling. I tried everything possible to get back my lost hair, but to no avail. Nothing worked. When I asked my immunologist, he told me it was a side effect of the drugs I was taking. I had to choose between balding and being able to walk.” Chhachhi chose alternative methods, changing her lifestyle choices first and foremost.
Lifestyle Changes and Natural Pain Relievers
As with any health concern, it’s much easier to assume this is the unfortunate hand you are dealt with and give in to medications as a means for getting through the day. But a crucial step many people miss when it comes to diagnoses is understanding what might have caused them in the first place.
RA is an immune system disorder, so it makes sense that the buildup of nutritional deficiencies could weaken the body. Chhachhi chose to strengthen her immune system through nutrition and physical practices like yoga and pranayama. Here is a look at similar lifestyle changes that can be made:
Avoiding or limiting inflammatory foods can be extremely beneficial for reversing RA. These foods include whole-milk products, fatty cuts of meat, empty starches, added sugars, refined flours, and processed foods complete with hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils. Anti-inflammatory foods include wild salmon, avocado, nuts, olive oil, whole grains, vegetables, and antioxidant-rich fruits. Essentially, you are eating for your joints.
A 2011 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered that, over a 15-year- period, men and women who ate a healthful dose of nuts had more than a 50 percent lower risk of dying from inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis as opposed to those who ate little to no nuts.
Olive oil, which is loaded with oleocanthal, hinders inflammation in the body as well as reduces pain, much like the synthetic medications on the market. “This compound inhibits activity of COX enzymes, with a pharmacological action similar to ibuprofen,” explains José M. Ordovás, PhD, who is the Director of Nutrition and Genomics at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston.
Another natural pain reliever is the curcumin found in turmeric, which is touted for its incredible anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, a study published in 2006 in the Journal of Natural Products discovered that pure curcuminoid extracts are effective in preventing and treating experimental rheumatoid arthritis.
Excess weight isn’t good for people with rheumatoid arthritis because it adds extra stress and strain on weight-bearing joints like the knees and hips. Low-impact aerobic exercises are the way to go. “While, yoga keeps their joints supple and flexible, pranayama helps in the efficient release of toxins from the body, thereby reducing pain,” explains Chhachhi of her chosen and recommended method.
A study conducted by researchers at the Mayo Clinic discovered that obese individuals were 25 percent more at risk for being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis than people with normal body weights. The study’s lead researcher, Eric Matteson, says it’s more than just stress on the joints, however. “The link, we think, has to do with the activity of the fat cells themselves,” says Matteson.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D plays an important role in the strengthening of bones, joints and cartilage, so not getting enough can work to do the opposite — weakening your body and aiding in muscle and skeletal pain. A 2012 study published in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Endocrinology and Metabolism concluded that a deficiency of this vitamin may be linked to the onset of serious diseases for people with RA. The sun is the best source of natural vitamin D. You can also get it through your diet by eating foods like salmon, egg yolks, and fortified milk and yogurts. And to make sure you are absorbing it properly, it’s important to have healthy gut flora. Consuming fermented foods daily is a great place to start.
If you’re suffering from RA and want to try an alternative method that can alleviate your symptoms and potentially put you in remission, check out how Dr. Mercola helped his patient, Sarah Allen, find her way back to health in this video:
Study: Baking Soda Can Remove Large Amounts of Pesticide Residue From Fruits & Vegetables
- The Facts:
Organic foods can often be expensive, luckily there is a simple solution we can easily use to wash our produce and reduce the amount of chemicals we are ingesting into our bodies.
- Reflect On:
It's easy to get discouraged with the amount of environmental toxins we are exposed to on a regular basis. Sometimes a little awareness goes a long way and there are simple solutions to some of the issues we face.
By now, many of us are aware of the importance of eating organic produce and other foods. Although we may often try our best, sometimes the organic option can cost an arm and a leg so we opt for conventionally grown foods from time to time. Perhaps we even follow the advice given by the Environmental Working Group’s “Clean Fifteen” and “Dirty Dozen” program. While this is a great way to reduce your exposure to chemically laden pesticides known to have many detrimental side effects, not to mention the fact that they are essentially a straight up poison, designed specifically to kill, pests, another simple option also exists. The use of baking soda to wash produce effectively removes up to 96 percent of pesticides from fruit and vegetables.
Scientists from the University of Massachusetts published a study in the journal, Agricultural and Food Chemistry on the effects of baking soda on gala apples. The apples used in the study were sprayed with two types of pesticides: phosmet, a known insecticide and thiabendazole, which is a fungicide. After the pesticides were given time to penetrate into the apple peels, the apples were rinsed with three different liquid solutions: tap water, a ratio of 1% baking soda to 99% water and a commonly used bleaching solution.
Lead author, Dr Lili He from the University of Massachusetts said, “Pesticide residues may remain on agricultural produce, where they contribute to the total dietary intake of pesticides. Concerns about potential hazards of pesticides to food safety and human health have increased, and therefore, it is desirable to reduce these residues.”
Results Of The Study
After 12 minutes of gentle scrubbing the baking soda solution was able to remove 80% of the thiabendazole and 15 minutes to remove 96% of the phosmet. A type of electromagnetic mapping technology was used to determine the percentage of pesticide residue on the surface and inside the apples.
While this is just one study, there has been plenty of research conducted on the use of baking soda to remove pesticides from fruits and vegetables. So, while organic is usually best, this method can be used safely and effectively to wash your produce and reduce your exposure to harmful, often carcinogenic, chemical pesticides.
According to Dr. He, ‘The use of pesticides in agriculture has led to an increase in farm productivity. However, pesticide residues may remain on agricultural produce, where they contribute to the total dietary intake of pesticides. Concerns about potential hazards of pesticides to food safety and human health have increased, and therefore, it is desirable to reduce these residues.’ The results showed that the baking solution was most effective in removing thiabendazole and phosmet on and in apples. The standard post-harvest washing method with bleach solution and a two-minute wash did not effectively remove these pesticides.’
As the Legendary Jane Goodall once said, “How could we have ever believed that it was a good idea to grow our food with poisons?”
Rising Concerns Over Commonly Used Pesticide, Glyphosate
Something has recently come to my attention and sort of shocked me I do my best to avoid genetically modified foods, (GMO’s) whether or not ingesting GMO’s themselves are safe or not, personally I avoid them because I know if something is genetically modified, then it also means that product has been sprayed relentlessly with pesticides, and often glyphosate is one of these pesticides. But, glyphosate is actually commonly used on hundred of different crops regardless of if they are genetically modified or not. To read more about the potential dangers of glyphosate, click here.
Try This Solution For Yourself
Baking soda is not only a great staple to have for so many different uses, your can read ore about some of those uses here, but it is also extremely cost effective as well and readily available at pretty much any grocery store. To use the baking soda method, simply follow the instructions below,
- Add a few teaspoons of baking soda to a bowl of water
- Add the produce to be washed to the bowl
- Soak produce for 15 minutes
- Rinse well with cold water
Sometimes a little awareness goes a long way, don’t forget, knowledge is power!
Dr. Lawrence Palevsky Testimony: Unvaccinated Children Are “The Healthiest Children I’ve Ever Seen”
- The Facts:
Dr. Lawrence Palevsky, a NY licensed paediatrician, speaks at a forum on vaccines in Connecticut, discussing the repeal of the religious exemption for childhood vaccines.
- Reflect On:
Why is vaccine hesitancy on the rise?
It’s always worrisome publishing an article about vaccine safety and posting it on Facebook. But why is that? One would think that discussions and concerns about vaccine safety would be encouraged. However, the opposite is true–Facebook has been cracking down on any information that they deem as “anti-vaccine.”
Does this mean that reporting on a study addressing the concerns of aluminum adjuvants in vaccines, for example, will be prevented from spreading and possibly even labelled as “fake news,” despite the fact that it’s been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal?
Does this mean that a paediatrician, like the one below, will also be censored for sharing his opinion based on his research and experience?
Dr. Heidi Larson’s Comments at WHO Summit
I’d like to point out that many scientists presented facts about vaccines and vaccine safety at the recent Global Health Vaccine Safety Summit hosted by the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. At the conference, Professor Heidi Larson, a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project, emphasized that doctors and professionals should forego name-calling with ‘hostile language’ such as “anti-vax”.
She recommended encouraging people to ask questions about vaccine safety. After all, it makes sense–in order to make our vaccines safer and more effective, you would think everybody would be on board with constant questioning and examination. After all, that’s just good science, and it’s in everyone’s best interest. She also brought up the issue of confidence in vaccines:
The other thing that’s a trend, and an issue, is not just confidence in providers but confidence of health care providers. We have a very wobbly health professional frontline that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. That’s a huge problem, because to this day any study I’ve seen–and we’re constantly looking on any studies in this space–still, the most trusted person on any study I’ve seen globally is the health care provider. And if we lose that, we’re in trouble.
You can read more about the concerns brought up by scientists at that conference, in detail, here.
Dr. Lawrence Palevsky
One of those doctors who is losing confidence in vaccines is Dr. Lawrence Palevsky, a practicing paediatrician trained at the NYU School of Medicine who did his residency at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York. He spent the first nine years of his career working in emergency rooms running a neonatal intensive care unit. He recently spoke at a forum on vaccines in Connecticut, discussing the repeal of the religious exemption for childhood vaccines. In the video below, he provides a great summary as to why so many parents and physicians continue to become concerned about vaccine safety.
The parents that I work with in New York, that I see around the country are very concerned that their rights are being taken away, that their knowledge about the science is being pushed away by an agenda that only says, unvaccinated children are a problem.
No study has every been done in this country, appropriately, to address the health outcomes of children who are vaccinated versus the children who are unvaccinated. I have been seeing families in my practice for over 20 years, that have opted out of vaccination, they are the healthiest children I’ve ever seen.
Vaccine hesitancy among among health professionals is no longer a secret. A study published in the journal EbioMedicine outlines this point:
Over the past two decades several vaccine controversies have emerged in various countries, including France, inducing worries about severe adverse effects and eroding confidence in health authorities, experts, and science. These two dimensions are at the core of the vaccine hesitancy (VH) observed in the general population. VH is defined as delay in acceptance of vaccination, or refusal, or even acceptance with doubts about its safety and benefits, with all these behaviors and attitudes varying according to context, vaccine, and personal profile, despite the availability of vaccine services VH presents a challenge to physicians who must address their patients’ concerns about vaccines and ensure satisfactory vaccination coverage.
The scientific community should never stop questioning, especially when it comes to medication. Based on the information that’s come out at the conference mentioned in this article, and the testimony shown above, it’s quite clear that there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to the development of vaccines and vaccine safety overall. Discussion is always encouraging, as long as it’s peaceful and facts are presented in a proper manner.
It’s better to understand the reasons why a lot of people, parents, scientists and physicians are hesitant about vaccination and appropriately respond, instead of simply using ridicule and hatred, because that’s never effective and both parties cannot move forward that way. At the end of the day, scientists should never cease to question.
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