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Herbalist Speaks Out About Comatose Customer

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RALEIGH — Many people choose alternative treatments to cure illness, but some experts say that can be risky if someone has a major health problem. One Franklin County family says the decision to see an herbalist put their loved one in a coma.

Jo Ann Rochelle, 31, of Franklin County, is in a coma, hooked to a ventilator. Doctors fear that she may die.

Rochelle's sister, Petra Smith, says that Rochelle has been a steady customer at Margie Mulholland's herbal store, convinced that items she bought there would cure her diabetes.

Smith says she found her sister at Mulholland's home Saturday. She was almost dead.

Mulholland says that she recommends her merchandise to people with a variety of health problems. The N.C. Board of Pharmacy says that is a prescription for trouble.

"If that's what you want to do, that's fine," said David Work, the board's executive director. "But I don't think it's going to help diabetes or epilepsy or hypertension or cancer or any of the very serious conditions that some people do have."

Mulholland believes Rochelle's problem was her liver.

"I do energy testing, so I kept checking the organs to see which ones were weak," she said.

If the state medical board finds that Mulholland was practicing medicine without a license, she could be charged with a misdemeanor.



Len Besthoff, Reporter
Jay Jennings, Photographer
Brian Shrader, Web Editor

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