Dr. Jacobs' Alternative Mission

A new NIH office will put unconventional medicine to the test

"A teenage Navajo mother in blue jeans would come in with a baby who was suffering from a cold and ask for some medication," recalls Dr. Joe Jacobs, summoning up a scene from his days at the Indian Medical Center in Gallup, New Mexico. "She'd be accompanied by the grandmother in traditional hoop skirt, who kept silent." After examining the child, Jacobs would offer his prescription for soothing inflamed nasal passages: boil some sage leaves in water and have the youngster inhale the aromatic fumes. "When she'd hear that, the young mother invariably would give the grandmother a sheepish smile. It...

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