The first and only priority when faced with a sick pet is to select a treatment which is going to improve the health of that pet. Alternative treatments such as homeopathy and herbalist remedies are increasing in popularity as people seek more natural remedies in preference to chemical treatments.
The sole aim of any therapy is to cure the condition it is designed to treat. There are thousands of tried, tested and proven medicines out there, some people prefer to use what they see as more natural remedies in preference to the more traditional chemical remedies which is fine when they are choosing that treatment for themselves.
Well there is no hard scientific evidence that they do, this doesn't mean they don't of course but just that no one has managed to prove scientifically that they do.
James Randi offered $1,000,000 to any manufacturer of homeopathic medicines if they could prove under scientific conditions that any of their products worked. That prize has never been claimed!!!
There are lots of positive comments about these treatments on various forums but these are often nothing more than simple statements and are almost always with out proof or reference. Is it enough that a person with good intention should force on a pet an unproven and probably ineffective treatment when there are properly tested and proven alternatives available?
Garlic: There are a lot of claims made for garlic and what it will do.
If used in concentrations below 4% or particularly below 0.25%, tea tree oil may fail to kill bacteria and create selection pressure, which may result in them becoming less sensitive to tea tree oil and even some antibiotics in vitro. One popular aquarium remedy using tea tree oil only 1% of tea tree oil in the bottle the rest is water and emulsifier. This is then diluted even further. Probably making it useless. There is also a lot of evidence to suggest that it is toxic to pencil fish even at these miniscule doses.
There are safe, effective fully tested alternatives available for all the above conditions.
Bay essential oil
Sold in another popular aquarium 'cure all'
Bay Oil is moderately toxic and a mucous membrane irritant: ref Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 19
Does have some broad spectrum antibacterial, fungicidal and anti protozoa properties but isn't reliable against established infections. The delay caused through treating ineffectively may mean the death of the fish.
Well cyanide is a natural product! Just because something is natural should we assume that it is any better, more effective or ant safer than a manufactured alternative?
Beware of anecdotal evidence and misleading claims made by the supporters of these remedies, statements like "I tried it and it worked for me" are meaningless.
Look for some proper research on the subject and then decide what is going to be the most effective cure rather than the one which you 'prefer' to use based on a whim.