Therapeutic Effects

Therapeutic Effects refer to the responses after a treatment of any kind, the results of which are judged to be useful or favorable.[1][2][3] This is true whether the result was expected, unexpected, or even an unintended consequence. The therapeutic effects in Conventional medicine (Section A) are different from those of Holistic Medicine (Section B)

Conventional Medicine

In Conventional medicine, therapeutic effects are generally acoompanied with side or toxic effects. Once the diagnosis and the risk-benefit analysis has been established, the medical provider usually prescribes a  drug that will address the diseases major symptom. In this model, there is no inherent difference that separates therapeutic and undesired side effects, both responses are behavioral/physiologic changes that occur as a response to the treatment strategy or agent.[2]

To maximize therapeutic effects  and minimize side effects, the Conventional Model usually uses targeted pharmaceutical interventions, in particular a combination of drugs in order to achieve some semblance of symptomatic relief..[4].  But the price of using synthetic drugs are side or toxic effects.


An example of a drug therapeutic effect is one of the WHO’s “essential drugs”,  Rituximab was shown to be therapeutic in the treatment of myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune disorder.[7]

Rituximab, sold under the brand name Rituxan, is a medication used to treat certain autoimmune diseases and types of cancer. It is used for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, rheumatoid arthritis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, pemphigus vulgaris, myasthenia gravis and Epstein-Barr virus-positive mucocutaneous ulcers. It is given by slow injection into a vein. (Source)

Common side effects, which often occur within two hours of the medication being given, include rash, itchiness, low blood pressure, and shortness of breath. Other severe side effects include reactivation of hepatitis B in those previously infected, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, toxic epidermal necrolysis, cardia arrest and a slew of other possible complications.  (Source) Rituximab is a chimeric monoclonal antibody against the protein CD20, which is primarily found on the surface of immune system B cells. When it binds to this protein it triggers cell death. But because this drug does not have a natural synergistic therapeutic effect, it is usually accompanied with toxicity. Another allopathic therapeutic effect would be the use of botulinum toxin type A, this toxin was shown to be beneficial for the symptomatic treatment of trigeminal neuralgia paroxysms.[9]

Holistic Medicine

In Holistic Medicine, we distinguish four types of therapeutic effects. One that relieves symptoms without treating the causes and with some side effects. The second one is an effect that addresses the causes, but maintains the symptoms and possibly generates side effects. The third type of effect is the one that addresses favorably both the symptom and the causes, but may produce side effects. And the fourth effect is one that also addresses both the symptoms and the causes, but in a synergistic way that does not ccreate complications or side effects, including the side effect of being stressed out because of high medical bills.


A few illustrations:  Aloe vera for example exhibits therapeutic antioxidant, antimicrobial, immune boosting, antitumor, hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic, wound healing, and antidiabetic effects.[5] Probiotics were beneficial in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.[6] A 2014 review found there was a strong therapeutic benefit from stem cell therapy on organ recovery from injury and that it may also inhibit tumor growth.[10] Another 2015 review found that mindfulness based interventions had a therapeutic effect on stress reduction for mental illness.[11] Also in 2015, a review showed that irradiation with low level laser therapy had the therapeutic effect of increasing in vitro stem cell proliferation rates.[12] A 2017 review showed aerobic and resistance exercise had a therapeutic effect on the physical and mental well being of cancer survivors.[13] Also in 2017, a review found that low-intensity extracorporeal shock wave treatment was therapeutic in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.[14] And a 2016 review found that the adjunctive use of standardized pharmaceutical-grade nutrients, known as nutraceuticals, had a therapeutic effect in patients with depression.[8] 


As a rule, each therapy has indications and contraindications. Much of what can have a therapeutic effect with few if any toxic side effects depends on the patient’s bio-terrain, hence, the treatment plan should be personalized. A root cause treatment can make a symptom worse, while the relief of a symptom can make the causes of the illness worse. Examples abound. And what is therapeutic for one patient may not be for another.

For more details,  see the HM Institute’s training and workshops. Or consider scheduling a coaching session.

Pr Joubert (HM Institute director)

Text under construction

  1. ^ “Definition of therapeutic”. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  2. ^ Jump up to: a b Kramer, Thomas A. M. “Side Effects and Therapeutic Effects”. MEDSCAPE.COM. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  3. ^ “Drug, pharmacology and therapeutic”. Retrieved 18 July2018.
  4. ^ Fitzgerald, Jonathan B; Schoeberl, Birgit; Nielsen, Ulrik B; Sorger, Peter K (2006). “Systems biology and combination therapy in the quest for clinical efficacy”. Nature Chemical Biology. Springer Nature. 2 (9): 458–466. doi:10.1038/nchembio817. ISSN 1552-4450.
  5. ^ Radha, Maharjan H.; Laxmipriya, Nampoothiri P. (2015). “Evaluation of biological properties and clinical effectiveness of Aloe vera: A systematic review”. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. Elsevier BV. 5 (1): 21–26. doi:10.1016/j.jtcme.2014.10.006. ISSN 2225-4110.
  6. ^ Didari, Tina (2015). “Effectiveness of probiotics in irritable bowel syndrome: Updated systematic review with meta-analysis”. World Journal of Gastroenterology. Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. 21 (10): 3072. doi:10.3748/wjg.v21.i10.3072. ISSN 1007-9327.
  7. ^ Iorio, Raffaele; Damato, Valentina; Alboini, Paolo Emilio; Evoli, Amelia (12 October 2014). “Efficacy and safety of rituximab for myasthenia gravis: a systematic review and meta-analysis”. Journal of Neurology. Springer Nature. 262(5): 1115–1119. doi:10.1007/s00415-014-7532-3. ISSN 0340-5354.
  8. ^ Sarris, Jerome; Murphy, Jenifer; Mischoulon, David; Papakostas, George I.; Fava, Maurizio; Berk, Michael; Ng, Chee H. (2016). “Adjunctive Nutraceuticals for Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses”. American Journal of Psychiatry. American Psychiatric Publishing. 173 (6): 575–587. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2016.15091228. ISSN 0002-953X.
  9. ^ Morra, Mostafa Ebraheem; Elgebaly, Ahmed; Elmaraezy, Ahmed; Khalil, Adham M.; Altibi, Ahmed M. A.; Vu, Tran Le-Huy; Mostafa, Mostafa Reda; Huy, Nguyen Tien; Hirayama, Kenji (5 July 2016). “Therapeutic efficacy and safety of Botulinum Toxin A Therapy in Trigeminal Neuralgia: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials”. The Journal of Headache and Pain. Springer Nature. 17 (1). doi:10.1186/s10194-016-0651-8. ISSN 1129-2369.
  10. ^ Akyurekli, Celine; Le, Yevgeniya; Richardson, Richard B.; Fergusson, Dean; Tay, Jason; Allan, David S. (5 August 2014). “A Systematic Review of Preclinical Studies on the Therapeutic Potential of Mesenchymal Stromal Cell-Derived Microvesicles”. Stem Cell Reviews and Reports. Springer Nature. 11 (1): 150–160. doi:10.1007/s12015-014-9545-9. ISSN 1550-8943.
  11. ^ Gu, Jenny; Strauss, Clara; Bond, Rod; Cavanagh, Kate (2015). “How do mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction improve mental health and wellbeing? A systematic review and meta-analysis of mediation studies”. Clinical Psychology Review. Elsevier BV. 37: 1–12. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2015.01.006. ISSN 0272-7358.
  12. ^ Ginani, Fernanda; Soares, Diego Moura; Barreto, Mardem Portela e Vasconcelos; Barboza, Carlos Augusto Galvão (13 March 2015). “Effect of low-level laser therapy on mesenchymal stem cell proliferation: a systematic review”. Lasers in Medical Science. Springer Nature. 30 (8): 2189–2194. doi:10.1007/s10103-015-1730-9. ISSN 0268-8921.
  13. ^ Fuller, Joel T; Hartland, Michael C; Maloney, Luke T; Davison, Kade (16 March 2018). “Therapeutic effects of aerobic and resistance exercises for cancer survivors: a systematic review of meta-analyses of clinical trials”. British Journal of Sports Medicine. BMJ: bjsports–2017–098285. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2017-098285. ISSN 0306-3674.
  14. ^ Lu, Zhihua; Lin, Guiting; Reed-Maldonado, Amanda; Wang, Chunxi; Lee, Yung-Chin; Lue, Tom F. (2017). “Low-intensity Extracorporeal Shock Wave Treatment Improves Erectile Function: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis”. European Urology. Elsevier BV. 71 (2): 223–233. doi:10.1016/j.eururo.2016.05.050. ISSN 0302-2838.
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