Duke appears on WOR's Health Talk with Dr. Ronald Hoffman

“Amen! You’re talking food pharmacy, Dr. Hoffman, I like that!”

By Janel Hopper
In an appearance this week on the nationally syndicated radio program Health Talk, Dr. James A. Duke made the case for recognition by the medical establishment of "healing foods" as an alternative to pharmaceutical products. 
In the interview, Duke argued that 1000 times more Americans are killed each year taking pharmaceuticals as prescribed than from use of herbs and supplements. He said that U.S. regulatory agencies should adopt the kind of "third-arm" trials used in many other countries to compare the safety and efficacy of healing foods with pharmaceuticals. 
Health Talk is hosted by Dr. Ronald Hoffman, MD, internist and graduate of Albert Einstein College of Medicine. It airs on flagship station WOR in New York City and is syndicated on dozens of stations around the U.S. Hoffman introduced Duke as "America’s leading authority on healing herbs, distinguished ethnobotanist, and million copy-bestselling author."
Duke's most recent book, "The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods: Proven Natural Remedies to Treat and Prevent More Than 80 Common Health Concerns," will be published next week by Rodale Press and is available for pre-order at Amazon.com. A podcast of the 36-minute Health Talk broadcast is available here. 
Hoffman noted that the nutriceutical industry has come under increasing scrutiny at a time when the American health care system is the subject of national debate. "They are sharpening their knives" for more government regulation, he said, positioning Duke as "a responsible, conservative, and scientific voice" who can bring needed perspective to the discussion.
Duke said that his focus on healing foods is a counter to the types of increased regulation of the supplement industry that have been imposed in Europe. “They’re likely to take supplements away from us if we go the European route, but I don’t think they’ll take food away from us,” he said. 
Duke maintained that positive evidence is accumulating rapidly for these herbs and supplements while negative data is piling up about pharmaceuticals. For example, Iranian studies show that Imipramine is less effective for depression than is saffron. Other studies indicate turmeric might be effective for cancer and that milk thistle could be useful in treating hepatitis.
Extractions of various natural species may be more effective than synthetic formulations because plants contain up to 5000 namable compounds that humans have ingested for thousands of years, while synthetic chemicals have been in use for 200 years at the most. 
Addressing the current international Swine Flu H1N1 pandemic, Hoffman noted that viruses can easily mutate around the monochemicals in a drug like Tamiflu and queried Duke for his recommended botanical protections. Duke replied that his favorite immune modulator and antiseptic is garlic, which is easily directed to the lungs and is synergistic with many pharmaceuticals. He explained that there are at least 12 different viricides in garlic. He also suggested oregano in a virgin “Bloody Mary” with Tabasco.
Botanical remedies are not necessarily in opposition to mainstream drugs, Duke said. He noted that USDA plant screening programs he was involved with indirectly helped bring to market various chemotherapeutics, including Taxol, Vincristine and Vinblastine, and Etoposide, as well as identifying many other plants with anti-cancer potential.  
He pointed out that many pharmaceuticals were developed when pharmaceutical companies looked at the ethnobotanical folklore for investigative inspiration, although they rarely admit it.
The interview also covered suggested treatments for some of the common ailments and conditions covered in Duke's new book, everything from controlling body odor to encouraging lactation.