Practicing Complementary and Alternative Medicine Should Not Be a Crime

by | Oct 25, 2022 |

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Herbal and alternative treatments made the news when a U.S. congressperson’s wife died suddenly. Her autopsy revealed an undigested white mulberry leaf. The coroner concluded the cause was dehydration due to gastroenteritis that was caused by “adverse effects of white mulberry leaf ingestion.” Many experts in the field are questioning the coroner’s conclusion that the herb was the cause of death. Hopefully, commercial interests and fealty to mainstream orthodoxy did not influence the conclusion. After all, white mulberry has been used as an herbal remedy for centuries. The coroner’s botanical consultant from U.C. Davis specifically advised the coroner that “white mulberry is not toxic. 

Mainstream medicine is waking up to the efficacy of non-pharmaceutical healing. Clinics at major medical centers are dedicated to botanical and integrative medicine. This welcome addition to medical practice combines complementary and alternative therapies with traditional Western medicine. Many things affect our health and wellness, and pharmaceuticals are not the answer to every problem we have – unlike what the TV commercials would have you believe. Unfortunately, our government has a history of over-regulation of natural therapies. We certainly learned the bias toward expensive pharmaceuticals to the exclusion of inexpensive medications during the Covid pandemic. 

Author Diane Miller, JD

Much to the chagrin of satisfied clients, practitioners of non-invasive wellness techniques and therapies have been labeled as practicing medicine without a license and, in some states, face criminal prosecution. Patients are interested in alternative therapies and want to exercise their personal freedom to make decisions for themselves. However, alternative treatments must be balanced with consumer safety. The world of alternative therapies can be hard to navigate given the degrees of skillsets within licensed medical professionals as well as alternative medicine practitioners.

Today we’ll discuss health freedom and try to answer the question: Do we need a medical license to manage or make recommendations for all health issues?

Diane Miller, JD, is the director of law and public policy for National Health Freedom Coalition https://nationalhealthfreedom.org  and its sister lobbying organization, National Health Freedom Action, and a graduate of Hamline University School of Law and the College of Saint Teresa. As the co-moderator of the U.S. Health Freedom Congress and director, educator, lobbyist, and advocate for health freedom, she works to implement the principles of health freedom in all areas of health and law. She is also the author of The Principles of Health Freedom.


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Dr. Marilyn M. Singleton

Dr. Singleton is a board-certified anesthesiologist and past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. She graduated from Stanford and earned her MD at UCSF Medical School. Dr. Singleton completed 2 years of Surgery residency at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center, and her Anesthesia residency at Harvard’s Beth Israel Hospital. She was on the faculty at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, before returning to California for private practice. While still working in the operating room, she attended UC Berkeley Law School, focusing on constitutional and administrative law. She interned at the National Health Law Project, and practiced insurance and health law.

Dr. Singleton has published numerous articles, given presentations on health policy, and had many radio and television appearances, and a monthly radio show, Health Freedom Now. She started a blood pressure screening clinic at her church and make-shift clinics in two rural villages in El Salvador. Dr. Singleton ran for Congress in 2012 with a message of personal freedom and limited government.

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