Traditional Perceptive with Natural Medicine

It is fascinating to study the traditional healing systems of the planet earth and to realize how the use of foods and herbals has driven the course of medicine. There are many traditional systems still in use today. Ayurveda from India, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Native American, and Greek systems that view the body from what is termed an energetic point of view. This viewpoint goes beyond the realm of science with its mechanistic approach to body systems. The natural system approach views the body as a total entity, and it is the interrelated systems and their imbalances that support or prevent disease process. This is the basis of a holistic model meaning body, mind, and soul. In today’s modern world we can learn much from these ancient systems and know how to prevent many disease processes. We are living at a time when people are looking for more information about their bodies and how to prevent disease. In medicine, bridges are being built between the East and West, the ancient and modern forms of understanding bodies and their processes. Acupuncture is a good example of this change. The ancients of the East and the West saw the world as a unified whole in that we are all intimately connected. Our modern view has lost that sense, and we are struggling to find it again. By opening ourselves to these more wholesome approaches, we are bridging that gap. One common thread that is seen in all these healing systems is the role of herbs. The World Health Organization estimates that over 80% of the world population uses herbs and some other form of traditional healing systems. Even in many modern countries, herbal medicines are still available and prescribed by physicians. The United States is the only country that does not honor its traditional system and incorporate it into its health care system. It is estimated that if we had a preventive area of medicine with the use of natural substances, we could reduce health care costs dramatically. It gets back to the idea that prevention is worth a pound of cure. Let’s look at some of the key points of these natural healing systems. Health is defined as a state of balance and wholeness, governed by a universal life force. Illness is caused when one or more of these forces is imbalanced and blocks this life force from flowing freely within the body. Symptoms are viewed as the body’s attempt to heal itself. Medicine’s role is to restore this balance. Hippocrates said that although health is the natural state of humans, disease is also a natural process that follows an organic pattern. During illness there are key points at which healers can intercede and assist the patient in restoring health. These are called points of crises or opportune moments at which balance can be restored. This is another way of stating the regeneration or degeneration process. As seen in Chinese medicine and virtually all the Native systems, there is an extensive array of foods, herbs, and physical therapies used to restore balance. How did traditional people discover their methods? Many say trial and error. There is some truth to that when we understand the doctrine of signatures. Some examples of this are: Ginseng, whose roots resemble that of a human figure and whose general use is as a tonic; Blood Root, whose roots are blood red and used as a blood purifier; and Goldenseal whose yellow-green root signifies its use in jaundice as well as infections. Plants have been used as medicines since the dawn of animal life. Observation of animal behavior revealed that many animals would eat plants that would heal them. It is also believed that humans possessed that ability at one time. It was commonly believed that plants were signed by the creator with some visible clues that would show their therapeutic use. From this experience thousands of years ago materia medicas (books containing prescribing notes on herbs) began to surface. Chinese, Babylon, Egyptian, Indian, Grecian, and many other cultures developed and kept concise records of healing systems. These same records are in use today and still apply in our modern day world. There is a Cherokee Indian story about how the animals took issue with the humans because they were abusing nature. The animal and the insect kingdom decided to afflict disease on to the humans as a way to reduce their population and thus preserve themselves. The plants found out about this plot and decided that they would provide healing powers to heal the humans if they approached the plants with honor and in a sacred way. We owe a lot to the Native Americans when it comes to passing on their knowledge of the healing plants that are still in use today. Examples are goldenseal, black cohosh, ginseng, lobelia, Mayapple, and slippery elm – to mention a few. To traditional people the world is alive with powers, life force, and spirit. Their oneness with nature was not an abstract concept but a deep spiritual relationship with the creator. The perception of life was not linear but circular. Thus, treatment included the physical and spiritual in the form of food, herbs, and physical therapy along with ritual, jewels, crystals, and prayer. Today modern science knows that these methods work and much research is being conducted on the mind/body connection. A new therapy, psychoneuroimmunology, is surfacing and deals with the concept. We are living in uncharted times. Never before have we as humans living on the earth experienced the type of life we are experiencing now with pollution, automobiles, chemical derived foods, and the list goes on. How is our genetic programming dealing with these issues? Look at the statistics for degenerative diseases, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. They are all epidemic, and modern medicine can’t seem to stop its growth. Why? We have been living against the natural order. That is why many of the natural approaches seem to bring benefits when those afflicted bring back the harmony or balance to their lives. It takes a new awareness and an appreciation for life in general that can establish a preventive viewpoint. As quoted by Hippocrates, “It is more important to know what kind of patient has a disease than what kind of disease a patient has”. The book World Medicine by Tom Monte gives very in-depth information concerning many of these natural systems and how they can be applied today.
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