Taste-altering fruit, dandruff-reducing yoghurt and… kombucha mixed with hemp? These are just some of the surprising homespun remedies the participants of Medicine or Myth? are finding success with for treating serious health conditions. Each is hoping that their special remedy will be granted a clinical trial to scientifically prove their efficacy.
Miracle fruit for dysgeusia
In 2017, four years after they moved to the Daintree Rainforest in North Queensland from Sydney to start a mangosteen farm, former advertising professionals Chris Beckwith and his partner Karen Pereira discovered the taste-altering benefits of the ruby-coloured “Miracle fruit”.
The berry, originally from West Africa, has the potential to alleviate a common side effect of chemotherapy, dysgeusia, which causes a distortion in the sense of taste, making food unpalatable.
Chris, 59, says that if the remedy goes to trial, “it will be incredibly satisfying knowing that every berry has the potential of helping people.”
Hemp kombucha for type 2 diabetes
Scottish native John Leith claims the combination of an über on-trend drink and a controversial plant has cured him of type 2 diabetes – hemp kombucha.
The Sydney businessman, 47, collapsed on the Underground in 2015 while visiting London on a conference when the diagnosis was made. But the medication he was prescribed had an adverse effect, so he set about finding a natural alternative.
“I would have to put my hand on heart and say the hemp kombucha changed my life and got me back on my feet,” says John.
A Chinese doctor suggested John try hemp kombucha and after drinking it for a surprisingly short time, he discovered that his diabetes had been reversed.
His case has highlighted what could be an effective, easy to make and affordable remedy for type 2 diabetes. It has the potential to lower fasting blood sugar levels and even resolve symptoms altogether.
Hair mask for dandruff
Carylie, 36, had suffered from an itchy scalp most of her life and had no luck finding a treatment to alleviate the problem. “I’d had enough and that’s when I started researching and said ‘I’m just going to make my own’,” recalls the part-time merchandiser who lives on the NSW South Coast.
The mother of two’s concoction, with a key ingredient of yoghurt – has been so successful she hasn’t had to use expensive anti-dandruff shampoo and can now comfortably wear a black jacket.
Chinese herbal mix for period pain/endometriosis
After experiencing debilitating period pain and symptoms of endometriosis, radiation therapist and entrepreneur Joanna ‘Jo’ Yan, 28, asked her grandfather, 80, for advice. The well-respected traditional Chinese medicine doctor, who has been practising for 60 years, suggested she try a combination of three herbs that can have an anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory effect. Jo claims she has been cured.
If proven effective, the remedy could give hope to the 700,000 Australian women who suffer endometriosis, a condition currently without a cure in Western medicine.
Deodorant cream for body odour
Gold Coast banker and mother of three Michelle Shellshear, 39, suffered severe sweating and body odour since she was young, with the condition greatly affecting her self-esteem and how she could dress.
Desperate to alleviate the problem after finding no success with available products, Michelle decided to experiment with her own natural remedy coming up with a cream – with a main ingredient of coconut oil – that has cured her body odour and greatly boosted her self-confidence.
Fermented foods for gut health
Microbiologist Kim Clerke, 36, has tapped into an ancient preservation method discovered over 10,000 years ago – fermentation – to treat the poor gut health that has plagued her for much of her life, with symptoms like bloating and stomach aches.
“Fermentation is basically microbes releasing energy from food,” explains Kim. Microbes, meaning bacteria. Kim made herself the guinea pig, trialling homemade fermented and probiotic foods like kimchi, kefir and coconut yoghurt.
Probiotics strengthen the gut microbiome to help prevent the unpleasant symptoms Kim had long experienced, and she says her remedy made her feel instantly better.
Shampoo for hair loss
Chinese medicine practitioner Adama Kamara, 51, claims she’s found a cure for baldness. She used her shampoo, made with herbs and essential oils, to regrow her own hair after tight braids led to hair loss. Adama has also successfully used her remedy to treat male pattern baldness, alopecia areata (an autoimmune condition that attacks the hair follicles) and baldness in some Franciscan nuns whose weighty habits were causing their hair to fall out. The idea is that the shampoo promotes hair growth by increasing circulation in the scalp.
Ancient Chinese herbal tea for whooping cough relief
Andrew Yeo, 39, has been a practising herbalist for 15 years, but his remedy for whooping cough comes from his childhood and ancient Chinese medicine. His whooping cough was so severe during a bout as a teenager that he was coughing up blood.
Andrew’s grandmother gave him a herbal tea comprised of ingredients like apple, figs and rock sugar, which soothed his cough immediately. Every ingredient has a purpose, he says – the apple for energy, the rock sugar to soothe the tickle in the throat, for example.
His remedy could offer a natural treatment for whooping cough in children, with the side effects of cough medicine for them outweighing the benefits.
Disclaimer: This article contains general information only and does not recommend or endorse any particular treatment. It is not intended to replace the advice provided by your own doctor or medical or health professional.
New Australian series Medicine or Myth? premieres on Monday, 20 May at 8:30 pm on SBS. Episodes will be available to stream at SBS On Demand after broadcast.