Controversial treatments are practiced often in the Philippines. For example, earlier this year, the Cebu provincial government urged its employees to do tu-ob, a traditional steam inhalation therapy which supposedly prevents or cures COVID-19, a claim junked by no less than the Department of Health.
Last week, controversy broke out when a Filipino-speaking Australian physician named Adam Smith said that a Filipina doctor, named Farrah Agustin-Bunch, is suing him for US$100,000 because he called her out for her questionable medical advice. Bunch also threatened to have Smith’s medical license in Australia revoked.
Bunch’s controversial advice? The popular doctor, who commands almost 3.8 million followers on Facebook, suggested to her audience that cabbage can treat any form of inflammation. In a video posted in September, Smith showed a clip of Bunch, where she said that if someone has “anything swollen” in the body, whether it’s dermatitis, muscular strain, or sprain, the person should use “cabbage compress.”
“So the cabbage, get one leaf, put them in hot water, and then just compress it on the affected area,” Bunch said in English.
Smith, who has almost 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube, said that the advice was wrong and that a patient needs a “proper physical examination and medicine” to manage the inflammation. He added that her advice was dangerous.
“After you have seen her video, and you have a major illness, like heart failure or liver failure, instead of showing that to a doctor, you just put cabbage [compress] on your body. That’s not good, my friend,” Smith said in English and Filipino.
In the video where he announced that he is being sued by Bunch, Smith alleged that her lawyer showed up in his clinic in Australia and shamed him in front of his patients. However, he said that this was not the first time he was sued for debunking questionable medical advice on his YouTube channel and added that he had been receiving death threats from his targets.
He also alleged that Bunch had teamed up with the owner of the slimming tea brand Glutalipo — which Smith lambasted in an Oct. 3 video — in a campaign to destroy him.
Smith is no stranger to the Philippines, having visited the country several times on medical missions. Meanwhile, Bunch is popular for promoting natural treatments for various illnesses, including cancer. In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration shut down a pharmacy she owned in Tarlac for selling unregistered products.
Coconuts Manila has reached out to both Bunch and Smith, but they have yet to respond to our questions.
This article, Filipina doctor to sue Aussie medic after he calls her out for ‘cabbage’ advice, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.