I’m delighted to have the opportunity to join this outstanding group of medical professional bloggers in adding my natural products angle to the application of science-based medicine. With the exception of Dr. Gorski, who holds MD and PhD degrees, I believe I am the first “only a PhD” to be invited to SBM. However, I have spent much of my career training, and training with, physician-scientists; so enthusiastic am I about the special qualities of the physician-scientist that I married one (or, rather, she chose to marry me, truth be told.). Conversely, I view the invitation to write here as a responsibility in representing what my fellow basic scientists bring to bear on discussions of the scientific arguments for and against modalities classified broadly as complementary and alternative medicine or integrative medicine.
Why write about herbal medicines and natural products?
I have long been interested in bringing objective scientific information to the public, perhaps as early as my college years in bars while visiting my working-class hometown of Wallington, NJ, or while shooting darts with Philadelphia cops across from my undergrad apartment. Any chat I’d have with an old buddy or bartender about drugs, cancer, or drugs and cancer would invariably draw some interest from fellow patrons overhearing my discussions. These were usually followed by, “Hey, aren’t you Frankie Kroll’s boy?,” or “I’ve heard the government is hiding the cure for cancer – do you have any inside dope on that?”