By the end of this learning unit you will be able to:
- List the key differences between how the medical doctor and natural healer approaches disease.
- Explain the primary philosophy (or doctrine) of natural healing.
We Don’t Have To Become Ill
Do you believe that it is possible to live a life free of the illnesses you’ve always thought were inevitable? Can you imagine you and your loved ones not being troubled by even a sniffle or a rash – for years? This can become a reality for you.
At a time when our health’s future is reported, by many accounts, to be grim… this may sound like wishful thinking to you. Amid the rising tide of increasingly ruthless “superbug” outbreaks, where our health professionals themselves admit that disease appears to be out-running the effectiveness of standard medicines, fear is naturally running high.
As the Family Herbalist, you want to know what you can do to protect yourself and your family – right now – not only against increasingly hardy “bugs” and an unknown future of potential plagues, but also against the degeneration, ageing, and daily irritations that undermine the quality of so many people’s lives. And you want to know that, rather than shrink in fear or simply hope to stay well, you can take the initiative to create health, strength, and vitality.
Like many people, you’re probably increasingly concerned about health care and its costs as well as effectiveness, about the best ways to heal, about the way you age and your quality of life throughout the process. In my experience, people have never been more interested in what they can do for themselves – and with good reason.
This is an era of rising consumer disenchantment with and cynicism about many aspects of conventional medicine. Natural healing is of paramount interest right now. There is much talk about personal responsibility and self-care as keys to making a true health-care (not sick-care or disease management) system work.
But who is teaching you what you need to know in order to live that way, and inspiring you to do that? Google searches? Mass-marketed one-size-fits-all quick fix programs? Medical silver bullets? None of this work. If they did you wouldn’t be here.
Nature’s Apothecary gives you access to the mighty contents of the green healer’s medicine chest: the natural, cost-efficient and powerfully effective tools you have at your disposal to determine your and your family’s destiny in the quest for superior health.
You will learn that it is possible to be bigger, stronger, hardier and smarter than the rising tide of drug-resistant threats to our health and quality of life. And you will learn exactly what you can do about it, and how.
Medicine of the People
The green healer’s medicine chest (and herbs in particular) have been used medicinally around the globe for centuries, with success in a fantastically broad range of situations that should excite anyone that wants to heal him- or herself or others. Through the ages cultures (African, Asian, European, Native American) have demonstrated ways to prevent and heal the ailments that we fear and dread the most.
Today, research is continually confirming what these cultures have known all along: the green healer’s medicine chest can help you enhance your health, strength, youthfulness, and immunity for as long as you live.
Nature’s Apothecary is not only consistently filling the void left by conventional treatments that are running aground: they are also enormously useful to help you dodge disease in the first place. It’s possible to go way beyond the present notion of “prevention” to a largely unexploited dimension of spontaneous healing and superior health. A healing system that relies on a safe and natural medicine chest can help you to realize this exciting goal.
Nothing in the world can beat conventional medicine for its crisis and trauma care. But for the acute (and chronic), non-life-threatening and pre-pathological stages of dis-ease, the natural approach works – without a doubt and without side effects. What’s more, the green healer’s medicine chest is not so high tech that it cannot be used by you. Its use returns you to the driver’s seat. Allowing you to care for yourself and your family in your own home – easily, inexpensively and effectively.
Beyond Symptoms and the Victim Mentality
Our natural medicine chest excel at provoking a healing response by the body rather than simply managing or alleviating the symptom or pathology.
There are many good reasons to consider and choose the tools in the green healer’s medicine chest in the case of most common, chronic illnesses and discomforts. But one of the most important reasons is that the family herbalist and green healer always deal with the underlying issues, not just symptoms.
Does it ever occur to you that your headache, your indigestion, your runny nose, or your knee pain has a purpose – that’s it’s trying to tell you something?
Do you ever wonder if it might be connected to something else, buried deeper somewhere in that sophisticated network of organs and symptoms that makes up your body?
Do you ever think that perhaps the focus of your medicine should be aimed not at your pain, but at the source of your pain?
To have the health you want, you must expand your consciousness beyond the small, localized site where something hurts you right this minute, to the much broader matter of the obstacles your body is facing that prevents it from healing itself. Obstacles that you might have created yourself.
The Herbal Therapeutics specialization will help you make the green healer’s medicine chest part of a whole, healthy life – not just a safer, greener, alternative to conventional meds or a knee-jerk response to illness or injury.
Herbal therapeutics is not about using the natural tools in our medicine chest merely as a different kind of “quick fix” to replace allopathic “magic bullets”. It is about creating health, and knowing how to help the body heal itself better – not just manage or treat disease.
Tools Of The Trade
I know I am at risk of starting to bore you, but it is crucial to your success as a family herbalist and green healer that you understand how our approach differs from that of conventional medicine.
With Pasteur’s discovery of germs and the resulting rise to power of big pharma (the cure), the person frequently became more and more superfluous to the healing process, non-essential to the repair of the broken part that happened to be attached to him or her.
In conventional medicine, illness is viewed as the result of external agents that can only be removed with the help of the doctor and his or her highly specialized tools. The concept of stimulating or supporting the body’s own innate capacity for healing is mostly completely abandoned. Prevention is forsaken; since the cause of the dis-ease is external, issues affecting the body’s susceptibility are deliberately disregarded. (Besides, prevention is bad for recurring business.)
The Mechanic and The Gardener
Let’s compare the allopathic approach with a holistic healing approach…
While the doctor in Western medicine is essentially a mechanic, in Eastern healing philosophies such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the doctor is like a gardener. The gardener is not a “fixer” of things so much as an ally: he or she nurtures, promotes, enhances, and works with the garden, but does not try to control it.
A garden is a system that’s alive, and the rule of TCM is to cultivate life. By contrast, one of the rules of the Western Medicine doctrine came to be to prevent death at all costs. In the East, healers seek to make the body well. In the West, we seek to keep it alive, running. There is a difference.
In Eastern healing systems, the body is viewed as a system of energy, not as a machine, and the contents of their medicine chests reflect that. Gardeners and mechanics, after all, use different tools.
The contents of the gardener’s toolbox are based on “holistic” principles. That the whole is considered in the assessment of health and the treatment of disease, and reinforcement of the host internally is as important as (or more important than) eradication of the disease-causing agents externally.
Thus, the tools of conventional medicine are by necessity radically different. If you are only interested in patching the body back together once it is already in an advanced state of disrepair, you need different tools than if you are interested in promoting a body condition that resists external agents. In conventional medicine, the focus on fixing what is already broken, and on eliminating outward symptoms makes drugs and surgery appropriate as tools.
The holistic model used by the Family Herbalist and Green Healer views prevention as the vanguard of health and focuses on the body’s own capacity to heal and repair itself. Symptoms are not equated with the underlying basis of disease. The tools most valued in holistic medicine are therefore those that can promote the “good”, assist the body in maintaining balance and enhance its own healing mechanisms. Those tools include the plants and Nature Cure (Naturopathy) strategies that make up our medicine chest.
No Degree, or Diploma, Needed
Herbal therapeutics has its complexities, and truly mastering it can take a lifetime of intensive study. Yet there is enough simplicity about it that you can get started with it very effectively without having a degree in herbology, horticulture, or biomedicine. (It is something Chinese children are practically born knowing.)
Part of the point of natural medicine is that it is practicable by every one of us because, in the holistic model, the individual is considered having most of the power in terms of their health.
Pause and Reflect
Take some time to reflect on what you’ve learned in this unit. Then answer the questions below. There are no right or wrong answers.
- Summarize the approaches of holistic healers and Western doctors.
- Do you agree with the statement that Western doctors are mechanics and holistic healers are gardeners? Briefly explain your point of view.
- If someone asked you what the main doctrine or philosophy of natural healers is, what would you say to them? Whittle your explanation down to one short sentence.
- Did you have any “AHA” (Eureka) moments? What were they?