Written By: Radha Singh
Hippocrates is universally known by everyone connected to the healing arts. This ancient Greek became the greatest physician of his day through diligent observation and curiosity about things in the physical world that could alleviate human suffering. Although the old arts still exist, today scientific synthesis determines new frontiers for medicine.
Still though, in every part of the undeveloped world, and indeed even within enclaves of major cities where “old world” people reside, there have been people who practice and perpetuate the same kind of diligence that Hippocrates used utilizing what is available to them from their environment for healing, among other things. Although this endeavor is often looked down upon by more “enlightened” folks, it doesn’t deter the aggressive, universal practice of the unorthodox healing arts in a host of nonconformist ways. Who is to say that those who believe in Santeria, a mix of Catholicism and African primitivism, do not get the kind of solace, healing and spiritual, they seek? Similarly placed are the Yoruba practitioners in Nigeria, Shango in Trinidad and Tobago, Voodoo in Haiti, the medicine man among the indigenes of North America and the Brazilian Candomble. These are all holistic engagements with nature and part and parcel of the art of concocting bush medicine often used in these practices.
Bush medicine is exactly what it sounds like; medicines prepared from bushes. Recall the Friar in Romeo and Juliet? Once, Wild clary was used to treat ulcers, and tonics concocted from Parsley and Sage to alleviate flatulence. Similarly, Rosemary, Spanish lavender, and Lemon thyme were valuable as medicine before they became culinary delights. This art has not gone away. A short list of today’s herbalist’s recommendation include Lemongrass tea for weight loss, Mint and Dandelion teas for an upset stomach, Asosi as a universal cure all, and Sour Sop (fruit and leaves) for attacking yes, cancer!
The pharmaceutical companies today synthesize their millions of products while the old fashioned remedies were natural, holistic. The adverse effects of modern medicines are a price we pay for greater potency and cures. The holistic medicines on the other hand, well, they too are good if users find satisfaction in them. Nevertheless, just as Hippocrates worked with what he had, the pharmaceutical companies do the same. But modernity trumps the Ancient, and no reasonable person can deny the enormous efficacy of synthetic drugs, adverse effects and all, over the use of holistic applications.
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