Natural healing.

Lately I have been interested in, and curious to learn more about herbal medicine. Not because of it being a more 'natural' approach to health and wellness, but because of its DIY nature.

I think the increasing interest in things natural is well intentioned but misinformed. People often think of something natural as innocuous or healthy like a tomato or a vitamin, and something synthetic as dangerous or harmful like turpentine or arsenic. Both turpentine and arsenic are naturally occurring products. The deadliest poison on earth, Botulinum toxin, is an 'all natural' product. Three of the most addicting drugs, Tobacco, Opiates, Cocaine, are also natural products.(well, cocaine is extracted from the coca leaf, but the process is very simple. Simple enough it would fit within the guidelines of being considered a 'natural' product if sold at the store)
I don't really have evidence to support this, but I would guess there are more 'natural' products that harm us than help us. And think of all the synthetic products we have which benefit us by counter-acting a 'natural' process. My point being that natural does not=beneficial to humans.

I admit, I do feel personally drawn to nature, and the concept of things being natural. I enjoy products that have as few synthetic qualities as possible. But I do not know if if my appreciation for natural things is anything more than aesthetic.(I don't mean aesthetic to mean strictly appearance, but beauty in general). I suppose because of my culture and past experiences I have positive associations to things natural, and negative associations to things synthetic for a variety of reasons.

We, as humans, are very very young in our development of technology. We are just barely able to understand and predict cause and effect. Because of this, many man-made products that may have initially seemed safe beneficial, turned out to have numerous unintended effects that were harmful. I imagine this has conditioned a certain amount of leeriness in synthetic products. Not that naturally occurring products do not have the same dangers, but they have the benefit of having been easily accessible to man for thousands of years, allowing us to have a better grasp on the long term effects. (of course, this doesn't always hold either, as it has only been recently we realized the harm smoking an cause despite its long history)

Naturally occurring products that are beneficial to us, are beneficial because we evolved with them in a shared environment, and so evolved to make good use of these products in our environment, adjusting our bodies over time maximize the utility of these products while minimizing the harm. But with synthetic products, we have no shared evolution,so many may not be well adapted to the particular, complex needs of our bodies.

There is generally a certain warmth natural products have that synthetics do not. There is an exactness and precision to synthetic products. The 'imperfection' of nature is something I find pleasant and comforting. It is something we associate with life and warmth, while exactness is most often produced by machines, which we associate with cold, unfeeling, lifelessness.

Related to that sense of warmth and life, there is also a sense of spirituality associated with natural products. Since the essence of what is spiritual is related to being alive, only living or once living things are generally thought to possess spiritual qualities. Though, some inorganic, naturally occurring substances are seen by some as having spiritual properties as well. I suppose one distinction may be the perception of a natural product having been produced by God, versus man having produced synthetic products.
I am not saying these are things I necessarily agree with (or disagree with), but just something a part of our culture, that I am imagine has had an influence on my associating natural products with good and synthetic products with bad.

There is also a sense of there being an authenticity to natural products that synthetic products lack. I don't know if there is any inherent lack of authenticity to a product that is synthetic, but I suppose we might tend to associate man made things with having been produced with not pure motives, such as to make as much money as possible, with the least amount of effort.
In truth, everything ever is natural. The only reason we can make anything is by using natural elements and obeying laws of nature. We are a product of nature, so, just as honey made by the honey bee is a product of nature, so is everything made by man.

All of that aside, my interest in herbal medicine does have a small amount to do with those things I wrote about above, but as I said, I am primarily interested in the Do It Yourself nature of herbal medicine. I love the idea of being able to grow and dry my own herbs for healing. Medicine is such a specialized field that leaves the patient at the mercy of doctors. (Which isn't necessarily bad since bodies are so complex, doctors are experts in their field and the average person knows very little about what will help the body best.)

In most fields other than medicine, while it may be nice to have experts we can rely on, there is also room for amateurs, people who have an interest in a field, though not enough to dedicate there lives to it. But nowadays with medicine it is most often illegal for an unauthorized person to deal with drugs, this is where natural medicine comes in.
So, welcome the Christopher Allman Pharmacy! You have back pain? Smoke some of this Opium I grew. Feeling fatigued from all the opium you are smoking? Chew on the these Coca leaves. Now, step into my office (opium den) and tell me how this happened.

This is the greenhouse in my backyard which I will clean out and grow herbs in.

I will would write prescriptions like this:

Put them in boxes like this:


Vincent said...

I am beginning to have suspicions as to the uses of your "teahouse", after the affectionate and illustrated references to certain all-natural products.

isaac isak icekick said...

"herbal heroin" dude.