Nurturing health with traditional herbal medicine
Co-founder and Herbal Director, Pukka Herbs
The growing threats to our biosphere urge us to reflect on how we care for our people and our planet. This article looks at how traditional medicine can contribute more fully to sustainable healthcare and be more widely used in the medical community. It will explore some connections between Ayurvedic theory and modern scientific understanding and seek some common ground on which to base practical collaboration and potential solutions.
‘By knowing one science
alone one cannot arrive at a
proper conclusion. Therefore
a physician should study
other sciences in order to
arrive at a correct diagnosis.’
Sushruta Samhita (a major Ayurvedic surgical text from circa 100CE)
Traditional medicine systems (Traditional Chinese medicine or Western Herbal Medicine or Ayurveda) look at heath and disease in ways that are alien to the way the scientific mind views the world. While the traditional herbalist, rather like a good gardener, is concerned with the health of a whole interrelated ecosystem, the modern doctor is more like a mechanic who sees disease as the breakdown of parts of a very intricate machine. Whereas Ayurveda perceives the body as a matrix of interconnected channels and systems, modern medicine focuses on the detail – even down to the biochemical and genetic level; Ayurveda on the other hand excels at taking in the whole picture. If we follow the advice of the great surgeon Sushruta, and listen, perhaps each perspective could make the horizon of the other clearer.