Many people are adamant about the benefits of certain vitamins and supplements, and herbs and oils are essential to many homeopathic remedies. But there are a lot of myths surrounding supplements, and the American Diabetes Association advises that it is best, and safest, to get vitamins and minerals from food.
But sometimes that advice is unheeded, even to extremes. Such was the case when Timothy Morrow, self-proclaimed master herbalist and health expert, advised parents of a 13-year-old boy with type 1 diabetes to use his oils instead of insulin.
The boy’s mother attended one of Morrow’s health seminars in 2014, and Morrow started treating her son, identified in court papers as Edgar L., for type 1 diabetes. When Edgar became sick and semi-comatose, Morrow advised his parents to treat him with his oils instead of insulin. Edgar died the next day from diabetes complications, and a medical examiner determined that he would have lived if he had been given proper medical care.
According to the Los Angeles city attorney, Morrow is charged with practicing medicine without a license and child abuse causing a death. Morrow (through his lawyer) disputes the charges. The attorney points out that the boy’s parents have not tried to sue Morrow in the almost three years since the boy’s death, and Morrow’s business license has not been revoked. Morrow faces up to two years in jail if convicted.
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Morrow’s website sells herbal products and supplements such as colon cleansers, beauty products, weight control supplements, and protein powders. It also offers the option to become a member and sell products in exchange for commissions and bonuses. The website says, “If you have a desire to be well…then it is up to you, as an adult, to do something about it. Your health is your responsibility – not the doctor, your parents, nor your children.”
Morrow writes on his website that in his 40s he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, but that his prostate is now healthy because of the herbs he is taking. He says that God led him to learn about herbs, and he encourages others to listen to their inner voice because, “I haven’t been led astray yet.”
Morrow is, at the time of this writing, 83, and charges were filed just before the 3-year statute of limitations. “The allegations in this case underscore the serious health and safety risks of taking medical advice from someone who lacks a license and the proper training that goes with it,” the Los Angeles city attorney said.
Herbal supplements and essential oils are not required to be approved by the FDA, and supplement companies are not required to prove that their products are safe or effective before they are sold. The FDA can only take action if products pose an “unreasonable risk” or are grossly misleading.
Morrow’s products and supplements are still available online.