A Barossa Valley naturopath has been banned from promoting naturopathy as effective against cancer and cancer symptoms, after a complaint was made to South Australia’s health regulator.

SA’s Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner has imposed an interim prohibition order (IPO) against Dr Karl “Horst” Poehlmann, from Barossa Naturopaths at Angaston.

The commissioner, associate professor Grant Davies, said Dr Poehlmann was alleged to have breached a healthcare worker code of conduct.

The IPO, which took effect on Wednesday, has temporarily prohibited Dr Poehlmann from “providing health services, namely naturopathy” to treat cancer and cancer-related symptoms.

It also prohibited him from “offering, advertising, or otherwise promoting” naturopathy as a cancer treatment option.

In a statement, the commissioner said the action was in response to “allegations about the provision of an inappropriate diet plan and ozone therapy”.

“Once I became aware of the allegations, I acted to protect the health and safety of the South Australian public, which is always my chief consideration in these matters,” Dr Davies said.

The Barossa Naturopaths website stated Dr Poehlmann “graduated as a medical doctor from the University of Erlangen” in Germany, had a PhD on “radiation treatments in cancer”, and was proficient in “numerous healing modalities like acupuncture, chiropractics, neural therapy, homoeopathy, resonance treatment … and so many others that it makes no sense to try and list them all”.

It also stated he was “over 80” and “still working”.

Dr Poehlmann’s name does not appear among the list of health practitioners on the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency website.

In response to the allegations, Dr Poehlmann told the ABC he had retired and was no longer practising, and that the claims against him related to information he had provided to a friend.

“I’m retired. I did not see any patient. This person I saw is my personal long-time friend,” he said.

“I did not treat him. When my friend came here I told him quite clearly I suspect you have something much more serious than what you claim and … I provided information but I did not give him treatment of any kind.

“I did not examine him, I was going with him to a medical doctor to have an MRI done on him.”

The IPO against Dr Poehlmann will last up to 12 weeks, but could be renewed if investigations continue.

Posted , updated