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Conversations on herbalism

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years ago

 Db writes to M:

I have a question. At the restaurant after gaia (singing rehersal) I understood you to say that you researched the testing on herbs and did not find them to be competitive with modern drugs...or something like that.  Did you find there was no good research documenting the positive use of herbs in general...or what exactly did you say?  I have been reflecting on it, and would like to know what your experience has been.

db

 
M: Thanks for asking:
First, I am trained in holistic medicine and practiced it exclusively for 5 years.
 
2nd, what I meant to point out is the difference between natural (traditional) medicine and Western allopathic (conventional) medicine.
Natural (traditional) medicine is based on protecting the body from disease by enhancing its resistance to disease/immunity.
Western allopathic (conventional) medicine is based on destroying the foreign invaders after they have already gained access and caused disease.
If the latter sounds like the language of war, it is. It has never made sense to me that we wait until there is disease and then try to blast it away -- not to mention the additional destruction caused by the weapons themselves, both from the medicines and from the body's self-defensive mechanisms; and, not to mention that our current system works far downstream from the cause, treating/attacking only symptoms.
So, my real point is that 1) we should use traditional medicines (and foods) to enhance and maintain health and well-being, and to enhance immunity when exposed to disease. We can even often use natural treatments to treat some chronic diseases, e.g., red rice yeast for high cholesterol. But, after the body's defenses are overwhelmed by significant disease, there comes a point at which most natural interventions will not be able to restore health or eliminate disease -- because that is not how they work. At that point, only conventional medicine may halt the progression of the disease, i.e., buy more time, (not necessarily treat or cure the disease), because that is the way it works. It is waged warfare against disease, and its goal is to prolong life.
I hope this helps. I'd love to talk with you more about it. As you can see, it is a topic of great interest to me.
M
 
 

M's original comment,s in > with J responding, below:
>2nd, what I meant to point out is the difference between natural

> (traditional) medicine and Western allopathic (conventional) medicine.

> Natural (traditional) medicine is based on protecting the body from disease

> by enhancing its resistance to disease/immunity.

J

I'd agree with this in part - modern medicine isn't very good at

~preventing~ many disease processes, bot, rather, is generally

resorted to ~after~ a problem manifests.

But, I feel like this is also limiting, since "natural medicine" does

a lot more than this, and definitely works on more than

resistance/immunity.

> Western allopathic (conventional) medicine is based on destroying the

> foreign invaders after they have already gained access and caused disease.

> If the latter sounds like the language of war, it is. It has never made

> sense to me that we wait until there is disease and then try to blast it

> away -- not to mention the additional destruction caused by the weapons

> themselves, both from the medicines and from the body's self-defensive

> mechanisms; and, not to mention that our current system works far downstream

> from the cause, treating/attacking only symptoms.

 
J
Again, in part, I'd aggree with this.  I might be a bit snobby with

words and say that modern medicine rarely "treats" symptoms, but

usually is used to ~suppress~ symptoms.

 
M

> So, my real point is that 1) we should use traditional medicines (and foods)

> to enhance and maintain health and well-being, and to enhance immunity when

> exposed to disease. We can even often use natural treatments to treat some

> chronic diseases, e.g., red rice yeast for high cholesterol. But, after the

> body's defenses are overwhelmed by significant disease, there comes a point

> at which most natural interventions will not be able to restore health or

> eliminate disease -- because that is not how they work. At that point, only

> conventional medicine may halt the progression of the disease, i.e., buy

> more time, (not necessarily treat or cure the disease), because that is the

> way it works. It is waged warfare against disease, and its goal is to

> prolong life.

J
While in some ways I can agree, there are many exceptions to this.

For example, MRSA (Mulitiple drug Resistant Stapholococcus Areus),

drugs not only don't work, but make the pathogen stronger.  However,

many herbs (garlic, wild bergamot, elacampane) are known to act

powerfully and potently against it.  The current methods of treating

heart disease are incredible when you look at the mechanical part of

it (surgery, stents, trauma) but rather terrible when you look at the

maintenance; particularly the insane and irrational obsession with

high cholesterol...

I'd say that high cholesterol ~isn't~ unhealthy and red rice yeast can

cause some of the same side effects of statins (because, even though

its natural, its inhibiting the liver's ability to produce

cholesterol), and that anything that suppresses the livers cholesterol

producing function, whether natural or not, is BAD.  Especially since

cholesterol has close to nothing to do with heart attacks.

In other cases, I'd agree... if we have an organ transplant, we need

to take immunosuppresive drugs becuase there isn't anything herbal or

natural that can keep our body from going into organ rejection.  Or,

with AIDS drugs... yeah, they're terrible, but there's no denying that

before they started using those "drug coctails" peole with AIDS, even

those seeing herbalists and accupuncturists and such, were just dying.

 Many of them went from being almost dead over ten years ago to doing

pretty well.  In these cases, suppressive therapy is working ~because~

its suppressing the body (which is the point she's making).

If I had to contrast the two systems, I'd say this:

If one is practicing "holistic medicine" in a vitalist manner (not

everyone is), then what one is doing is looking at the state if the

body, seeing what processes it wants to do, seeing where its is"stuck"

in those processes (this is usually what we recognize as symptoms),

and using herbs or other therapies to help it get unstuck and allow it

to complete its natural process.

Modern medicine sees the symptoms as illnesses (not reactions to an

illness or imbalance) and suppresses them.  In doind so, our bodies do

not get to complete their processes, and the "symptoms" that our

bodies use to communicate to us that something is not right are

silenced, without being addressed.

I guess, on the whole, I find the issue harder to summarize without

getting into specifics; there are a lot more exceptions and

considerations, I think.  She may think this as well, but may have

been summarizing... don't know.

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