In Light of Bill C-47: Natural Medicine and Pharmaceutical Drugs – Is There Any Common Ground?

“In order to achieve a therapeutic response, the naturopathic formulation must be designed to be effective. Anything short of using the very best will simply not be effective or therapeutic.”

It is plain to see that the latitude given to pharmaceutical drugs is far more liberal that what is given to natural medicine. And yes, we have been given the qualifiers over and over for decades, mainly directed by pharma and delivered through the various government health care systems. “Pharmaceutical drugs are backed by science” and as for natural medicine, that does not exist, only perhaps vitamins which are limited and offering no therapeutic response.

It reminds me of the story, the battle between David (naturopathic medicine) and Goliath (pharmaceutical industry); Goliath was larger than life and spoke in all power and authority, arrogant, as can be, since he was blinded by his own delusions and shouting “who can do battle with me.” From an observation point, everyone would have to agree Goliath is a giant so powerful that none can compete. The opposing army was full of fear; their greatest of warriors were defeated before raising their sword. But there was one who was not brainwashed. He saw the giant’s size but he had something the giant did not have, and that was faith. In the end the giant was slain by the most unlikely of warriors.

We hear the giant’s roar as it is audible everywhere: it controls the lives of billions of people around the world, influencing governments and controlling the entire medical system yet when carefully inspected properly prescribed medicine / medical errors are the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.[1]

“Convincing people they are sick and need a drug is a multi-billion dollar industry. In 2015, Big Pharma dropped a record-breaking $5.4 billion on direct-to-consumer (DTC) ads, according to Kantar Media. And it paid off for Big Pharma. The same year, Americans spent a record $457 billion on prescription drugs. Americans also pay more for drugs and devices than any other country.”[2] Most of these ads (about 80 ads per hour of programming) appear on TV yet the devastating side effects are never advertised. Advertisements also lead to increasing drug prices and they negatively affect the patient-doctor relationship as well.

I am sure there are thousands of positive experiences from taking prescription drugs. I must clarify that I am not against allopathic medicine neither stating that they are not effective but at the same time they are abused and associated with multiple side effects. Allopathic medicines treat the symptoms of disease and not the core of the condition or the origin of disease.

The pharmaceutical side constantly attacks natural medicine for lacking the science and clinical evidence but when examining the history of natural medicine, they will soon discover that this is not true. The common ground started in 400 BC in ancient Greece where Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine established the basis that the body must be treated as a whole and not just a series of parts (referred as holistic medicine) and established the naturopathic foundation. In 420 BC Hippocrates establishes the Hippocratic Oath, the same oath that medical doctors take today stating “first, do no harm.”

I have practiced natural medicine in clinical practice and I can proudly say my work has spanned for thirty-seven years, research directed for chronic disease and preventing premature aging. Those associated within the development of natural medicine have known for years how safe and effective it can be for treating disease conditions. If we compare the sciences between allopathic and naturopathic medicines, it is clear which one follows the foundations established by Hippocrates.

Traditional or naturopathic medicine stems from the growers of the herbs or other forms of plant-based remedies to the designers and scientists who create the healing medicines. To better understand we need to examine the roots of naturopathic medicine to discover how it has blossomed over the centuries and then decide what group is based on science and does no harm.

The Short History of Naturopathic Medicine:

  • In 2000 BC: acupuncture was created as an alternative medicine in China.
  • In 400 BC: in ancient Greece Hippocrates established the bases that the body must be treated as a whole and not just a series of parts (referred as holistic medicine) and establishing the naturopathic foundation. In 420 BC Hippocrates establishes the Hippocratic Oath.
  • In 1493–1541: Paracelsus declared that disease was due to toxins in food and drink and explains disease as a chemical process.
  • In 1624–1689: Thomas Sydenham identifies the cause of disease—often lifestyle—and the natural healing ability of the body.
  • In 1755-1843: Hahnemann the founder of homeopathy establishes energetic medicine and the principle that “a like cures a like”.
  • In 1762-1836: Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland, founder of holistic medicine, uses vegetarian diets and herbal remedies to treat disease conditions.
  • In 1821-1894: Father Sebastian Kneipp establishes holistic healthy lifestyle and the link between European nature cure and American naturopathy.
  • In 1833: Dr. Constantine Hering immigrates to America and becomes known as the father of American Homeopathy.
  • In 1835 – 1907: Louis Kuhne introduces the concept of “unit of disease” and disease due to excess foreign matter or food in the body. He also advocates vegetarian diet and raw food.
  • In 1864: Louis Pasteur, a French microbiologist furthers the understanding of the germ theory.
  • In 1865-1933: Franz Schönenberger becomes one of the first university professors for nature cure methods.
  • In 1900: Benedict Lust opens the 1st naturopathic school in New York City, the American School of Naturopathy.
  • In 1902-1944: Linus Pauling, a scientist who won two Nobel Prizes, focused on the healing power of Vitamin C.
  • In 1912-1995: John Bastyr becomes the father of modern-day naturopathic medicine. In 1978 a naturopathic school honoured in his name opens in Washington State.
  • In 1949: The name Canadian Association of Naturopathic Physicians (CANP) is established.
  • In 1956: The National University of Natural Medicine is established in Portland, Oregon.
  • In 1978: The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine is established in Toronto, Ontario.

Naturopathic medicine has a long legacy based on science and discovery, treating the core of illness rather than the symptoms of disease. Treatment followed the causal chain of deterioration in order to treat the body as a whole (with glandular therapy, diet, and plant-based remedies, homeopathic medicines, and lifestyle changes) is applied to create an internal balance allowing the body to heal itself. The naturopathic principles follow what was established by Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine: the body must be treated as a whole and not just a series of parts.

The next time you hear that natural health products and naturopathic medical treatment is not based on science, please point out that they have not examined its rich history. Whereas allopathic medicine was established to do the same (do no harm), yet properly prescribed medicine is the third leading cause of death through the influence of the pharmaceutical industry. Under Bill C-47 natural health products are to be categorized the same as pharmaceutical drugs yet they do no harm, how can that be…and yet it is. Speak out and let your voices be heard, Bill C-47 needs to be repealed, join the fight

Additional Reading:


[1] Sipherd, R. 2018.

[2] Avorn, J. 2016.