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Leung 6

with cultural remedies and often supplement prescribed medications with dietary changes and

supplements dictated by alternative medicine. A patient should have the ability to decide when

alternative medicine may actually hurt them and to also understand doctors, especially when the

physician has a reason for rejecting the traditional medicine.

At the same time, doctors should make an active attempt to learn more about alternative

medicines and faith healing, because it would increase cultural understanding and the body of

medical knowledge. There should be a more accurate account of alternative medicines, and

studies of its efficacy, though we should also realize that not every treatment necessarily has an

obvious and physical effect, and traditional medicine should not be judged by the standards of a

different medical tradition. If a treatment has existed for thousands of years and has survived up

to modern day, it most likely works or is at least not dangerous. If it is efficacious, it should be

available for everyone. An example of a generally helpful folk remedy, the drinking of Coca-

Cola heated with lemon was marketed as a cold remedy in China. Though it sounds ridiculous, in

the end, the remedy provided liquid and sugar for patients who are too ill to eat solid foods and

vitamin C, an antioxidant proven to help colds. As for traditional medicine, my White Flower oil

is very effective in keeping me from scratching and infecting a bug bite. In the case of the string

tied around Lia’s wrists in The Spirit Catches You and You Fall, the remedy was not dangerous

and helped to contribute to the parents’ peace of mind, and may have had a nonphysical effect.

There should be an organization of alternative traditions, rather than an attitude of “eliminat[ing]

pagan animism” as in early Islam (Conrad, et. al., 97). Alternative medicines should be evaluated

for their ability to treat the ailments they claim. The level of efficacy and dangers of each

treatment should be recorded. Physicians should be able to easily learn more about the treatments

Leung 6

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