Alternative medicine in the form of natural herbs is making a big come back. Chinese medicine and ayurveda are becoming increasingly popular as people are looking for "natural" alternatives to western medicines which are potent - and have equally powerful side-effects ! I heartily approve of this - and believe patients should be encouraged to take whatever works for them, no matter what "system" of medicine discovered that particular therapeutic agent. After all, in onse sense, these are all artificial distinctions and barriers which doctors have constructed, primarily to protect their own turf ! However, what worries me is that alternative medicine is being corrupted.
In today's worls, everyone wants a quick fix - a pill for every ill ! And there are enough businessmen who are ready to pander to this demand. Herbs are now being packaged in pouches and capsules - but I feel that the very process of this packaging is not causing them to lose their efficacy. For example, studies have shown that processed herbs no longer provide the same antioxidant efficicay the "natural " product does.
Even more importantly, I feel we are debasing and corrupting the basic underlying philosophy of these traditional systems of medicine in our search for a quick cure.
Traditional systems were a "system of life and health" - and formed a philosophy of life and living. They provided a holistic system of living which provided guidelines for all areas of life - how to eat; when to eat; what to eat; exercise; prayer; personal relations, and so on. I am sure the very process of actually hunting for the required herbs ensured that patients would get exercise in the open air - and this would also help them get better.
Homeopathy is an excellent example of a system which has been completely bastardised.
What we are trying to do is to "distill" the essence of these therapeutic systems into chemicals and then packaging them in order to sell them to millions. Can this possible work ? Or are we fooling ourselves ?