Drs C. Duraffourd and J.Cl. Lapraz are oncologists at the Hopital Boucicaut in Paris, France. They are also President and Secretary General of the French Society of Phytotherapy and Aromatherapy.
Dr. Lapraz recently visited Canada for Phytotherapy Canada at Mohawk College.
The possibilities offered by medicinal plants to patients facing cortisone treatment can be quite attractive, on the condition that their usage is based on a holistic approach towards the individuall, with all physiopathological symptoms, which play a role in the imbalance, being closely considered. Medicinal plants offer a wide range of therapeutic options, on all levels of pharacological activity. The use of their therapeutic properties has two primary axes : one, classic, fights the illness; the other, specific, focuses on the correction of the identified disorders.
Only a complete understanding of the actual properties and of the actual levels of pharmacological activity of each of the medicinal plants used, permits the preparation of an active and detoxified treatment. This enables a truly strategic usage by the creation of a factual synergy. This synergy consists of combining, in the same prescription, plants of analogous or complementary activity likely to combine their positive effects, to induce the desired action, in doses weak enough to avoid uncontrollable side effects.
The choice of phytotherapeutic treatment alone or the manner in which corticotherapy and phytotherapy will be combined in a mixed treatment will vary, on one hand, if the intensity and virulence of the initial aggression creates concerns of a rapid spread of the disease either locally or generally, and on the other hand, if the clinical examination has determined the possible reactivity of the patient, in other words, the current state of his defenses and his ability to mobilize them.
To reach its Hippocratic goal, medicine must learn to extend an even balance between the problems posed by the illness and those posed by the afflicted patient. Without neglecting the treatment directly targeting the identified illness, the doctor must strive to choose, whenever possible, a therapeutic favouring the responsibility of the body in the control of its health over any other with a substitutive action, in the interests of a better future for the patient.
Most often, the plant as a whole is weaker in its symptomatic activity in comparison to the active principle. It is only in exceptional circumstances that a plant extract will not have a competing chemical equivalent or could replace an existing one.
The phytotherapeutic treatment will be preferred to cortisone treatment when its results have enough chances to be :
Basic principles for the integration of a cortisone treatment with a phytotherapeutic treatment.
Every time that a doctor is presented with
1) an acute primary or progressive crisis,
2) the risk of the rapid loss of a function without an urgent and massive intervention,
3) limitations of his understanding, or
4) uncertainty over the patients' actual capacity to mobilize his defenses, he will prescribe the immediate incorporation of phytotherapy and corticotherapy.
The general support provided to the body of the patient undergoing cortisone treatment by less toxic medicinal plant products can be very beneficial. Their prescription comes from a complex strategy based on the most up-to-date medical know-ledge. By their intrinsic properties, due in part to the appropriate distribution of the active principles which are provided in variable doses, they offer the informed therapeutist the possibility of triggering the patient's own physiological regulating mechanisms. The protection that they can provide, on the condition that they are correctly, prescribed, represents a significant contribution in the prevention of complications in the corticotherapy.
It is our belief that the addition of the complement of phytotherapy to the cortisone treatment should be systematic. It allows phytotherapy to ensure :
- its reductive role : the combination of phytotherapy and corticotherapy ensures a higher tolerance to the cortisone treatment side effects and diminishes their intensity.
- its corrective role : Phytotherapy, combined with corticotherapy to correct the established or foreseeable imbalance, enables the avoidance or delay of the appearance of other induced illnesses, that would have to be treated with another class of chemical drugs. Therefore, it constitutes both medicinal and iatrogenic benefits.
The combination of the phytotherapeutic and cortisone treatments leads to, in certain cases, a reduction in the initial dose of the treatment and prevents the continuous increase of doses to administer, the side effects of which are often quite dangerous for the patient. It can curtail the length of the acute phase of the disease, shorten the application time of the cortisone and allow for the fastest possible arrival at a level where a phytotherapeutic treatment can be maintained alone.
The phytotherapeutic/corticotherapeutic combination makes the recourse to a poly-association of complementary chemical remedies less likely and in particular, when the cortisone treatment already in place has failed to prevent the illness fro spontaneously evolving into something more serious. There is then a facilitation of the cotisonic action.
The treatment, which must focus essentially on the protection of the patient, is comprised of the strategic elements established for each patient, using the fundamental principle on which rest all practical therapeutics: the personalisation of the prescription. The strategy is based on the optimization of the functions directly involved in the fight of the organ and the entire body against the illness. It combines, in a systematic fashion, a reduction of the principal side effects which weaken the body, and an attempt to correct the imbalance which most often precedes the onset of all illnesses. It will avoid substituting one aggression with another because of the adherence to posologies which, without lessening the action of the medicinal plants used, prevent the appearance of all side effects.
To reach its Hippocratic goal, medicine must learn to extend an even balance between the problems posed by the illness and those posed by the afflicted patient. Without neglecting the treatment directly targeting the identified illness, the doctor must strive to choose, when-ever possible, a therapeutic favouring the responsibility of the body in the control of its health over any other with a substitutive action, in the interests of a better future for the patient.