Message Number: YG3358 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-05-08 13:22:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Devil's Club Supreme AGAIN!

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "TANSY" <Tansy@p...> wrote:
> , since Dr. Williams said it was not recommended, and I respect
> opinion more than any other!!!!! Does anyone else have good results
with it?
> [TANSY] Unfortunately I missed Dr. Williams post when my computer
> down, and I also have the highest respect for Dr. Williams, this is
> issue I will go the carpet with him on.<g> I do know that one of the
> difficulties in using herbal or homeopathic compounds is that any
> done on them has been done has been directed towards humans. In
humans the
> problem is generally hyperglycemia not hypoglycemia. In the article
> Williams links to it states that Devil's Club caused hypoglycemia
in rats,
> but unfortunately does not cite the actual study, so he have no
idea if
> these rats were hyperglycemic at the initiation of the study. In
any case, I
> can only speak from a "clinical" perspective.

Actually, a search of Medline on Devil's Club reveals literature
citing only its hypoglycemic effects. Unfortunately, most of the
abstracts are not available, but the general theme of these and other
related articles is that this compound exerts a hypoglycemic effect.
There is no mention of "stabilization of insulin" or effects counter
to hyperglycemia.

> I certainly can't argue that Devil's Club causes hypoglycemia in

(or humans?)

> especially since the protocol was not provided. But, I AM willing
to take
> anyone on who says that it does not stabilize blood sugar levels in
> Do I know how it works? Unfortunately, not. There are even cases I
> heard from others who use it consistently that it doesn't always
work, and I
> am happy to concede that. But, please Dr. Williams, don't dismiss
> compound based on one article on the internet that doesn't even
back up it's
> statement with the research behind it, when those of us "in the
> are having such consistently good results with it. There are many
people who
> view your opinions as gospel, and in this case you may be
condemning a lot
> of ferrets to not receive a very efficacious, inexpensive product,
that they
> could use with their veterinarians in controlling this common
disease in
> ferrets.
> thank you
> tansy

Dear Tansy:

I think that anyone who has read any of my posts on herbal remedies
cannot say that I have dismissed thme out of hand - in fact, my
general opinion is that in such cases, if a product does not appear
to be hurting, then I am not opposed to its use. However, you should
also realize that your particular success with the product is not
really a substitute for scientific research.

The problem with most remedies is that there is no scientific
research to back up their claims, and Devil's club is no exception.
The literature on this product is sketchy at best, and not well-
referenced - however, the most acceptable literature speaks only of
its hypoglycemic action.

It is certainly not my intent to condemn ferrets to not being able to
get an efficacious medicine, however, I cannot manufacture a reason
to believe in efficacy if none exists. I do not hide the fact that I
am skeptical of herbal remedies, and I generally do not discourage
their use. But I will not endorse a product in the absence of any
studies that show that it indeed works, in any species.

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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