man was first set foot on this earth we have used plants for both food and
medicine. The leaves, stems, roots, flowers, and seeds that have proven to heal
properties are defined as medicinal plants. As humans, we have the ability to
absorb and digest these organic chemicals found in plants. As a result, herbal
medicine has been used from the beginning of time to present to treat illness
and disease such as the digestive or respiratory systems.
medicine is performed by herbalists, medicine men, botanist, healers, or
shamans who are trained with the knowledge that has been passed down for
thousands of years. There are different types of alternative medicine that use
herbal medicines to treat illness and disease these include Ayurveda (India),
Tibetan medicine, Native American medicine, Chinese medicine and many others.
All these different cultures have had a long history of effectiveness that has
now been confirmed by modern research.
I chose to focus on Tibetan, Native American,
and Ayurveda because they are all used in the United States and have had
positive outcomes with diabetes, depression and arthritis/fibromyalgia. All
three basically can best be said by this quote “Eating a healthy diet is
essential for good health”. (Emily Cronkleton) Alternative medicine is up and
coming here in the states but not yet enough to be covered by insurance. Unlike
prescription drugs, herbs are not FDA approved and can in the wrong dosage be
unsafe. With proper guidance, they are administered correctly for the most
my paper, I will look at these three different types of cultural healings along
with the 3 different disorders to show how alternative medicine is a better way
to go unlike western medicine and all the poisonous drugs the doctors are
feeding us because it makes them more money. Alternative medicine treats the
body as a whole whereas, western focus on just one problem. The World Health
Organization (WHO) shows that 70-80% of the world’s population relies on herbal
medicine and use alternative medicine as their primary healthcare choice.
major difference between Tibetan, Native American and Ayurveda is the beliefs
about the general theories to why herbal medicine is effective. The Tibetan do
not look at organs as singular but rather they look at the whole body for
answers. A major difference between Western medicine and Tibetan, Ayurvedic and
Native American medicine is that the alternative healing systems described in
this thesis, focus a large part of their treatment on lifestyle and diet
changes based on proper nutrition whereas Western medicine mostly focuses on
new prescription drugs and making money than helping individuals.
if there are so many people choosing alternative healthcare then why is there
not more covered by state insurances? Why is the money being poured into drug
companies and doctor’s pockets instead of being poured into the economy? We
need to start fighting the world’s major health issues.
often think of Eastern or alternative medicine as more “natural.” Many feel
that Western medicine is built around technology and products produced in a
lab. They’re not entirely wrong. Many of the gains that have been made in
traditional medicine have been the result of innovation in laboratories”.
(Aaron E. Carroll) The lockout of natural remedies halted the herbal products
industry progress and has prevented research of natural products in our
Universities and hospitals. The fields of Pharmacognosy (the study of drugs of
natural origin) and other academic pursuits involving the study of medicinal
plants have declined alarmingly in the U.S.
“American scientists, once at the
forefront of this type of research, are lagging behind their European and
Japanese counterparts, further reducing the likelihood of American discoveries
of useful new medicines from plants”. (Harvard University’s DASH repository) This
is of concern to the academics themselves and should be to policymakers
concerned with international competitiveness. Research in the area of
alternative medicines has not been making much progress and this all this
confusion and stalled progress can lead to the safety problems. The FDA is in
charge of regulating all ingestable products, people put less thought into the
safety of the products they use which in turn could be harmful.
example, “ephedrine, an amphetamine-like stimulant, has
been marketed as a ‘natural’ substance to promote euphoria or increase energy,’
under names like Cloud 9, Ultimate Xphoria and Herbal Ecstasy. Many people who
used these products for the high ended up with strokes, heart attacks, or
psychotic episodes, some people even died”. (Harvard University’s DASH
repository) This example of using ephedrine because people considered it to
be a dietary supplement because the FDA did not regulate it. This information should have been more readily
related problem is that such incidents trigger a blanket fear of herbal
preparations, unnecessarily hampering development for legitimate uses. People
have been using herbs such as ephedrine (known as ma huang), for thousands of
years treating ailments like asthma and low blood pressure but recent events
serve only to generate thoughts that alternative herbs must be dangerous and
should not be used.
“FDA needs to develop a sound policy
toward alternative medicine that alerts customers to the risks of such products
without destroying interest in using them for healthful purposes”. (Harvard
University’s DASH repository) Because FDA is dragging
their feet in their research of alternative medicine it prevents it from
becoming a safe and reliable health care option.
Tibetan medicine consists
of philosophy, science, and healing practices that can help individuals have a
healthy mind and body. Tibetan’s call this Sowa Rigpa, which means the science
of healing. By learning to be truly happy and using this form of self-care, you
will Learn how your thoughts and behaviors influence your health. There are
three principles Tibetan’s go by, these are health is balance and disease is an
imbalance, treating illness requires correcting the underlying imbalance, and
wellbeing means living in harmony with your unique nature.
In Tibetan medicine
treating disease is about treating the whole body and not just a symptom or
reacting to one problem at a time. So, in other words, each symptom sheds light
on the overall pattern of imbalance. The very first step to begin the healing
process is to stop the negative thinking and making healthy choices that can
bring balance back into your life. This is a lifelong process which is usually
taught right from birth.
Tibetan medicine teaches
four basic steps. The first step is karma which is the universal law of cause
and effect. karma not only affects you but other people and the environment as
well, which can have an immediate effect or it could happen much later and in a
not so obvious way. So be aware of your choices and think about how it will
affect you, other’s and the environment both now and in the future. The second
step is suffering. This can be physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental. It is
taught that this happens because you are viewing life in a negative way.
third step is healing. By healing, you restore your primary energies and this,
in turn, restores your health. The fourth step is happiness. Achieving
happiness is not easy, true happiness is long lasting. It comes from finding
inner peace and wellbeing that is achieved by positive thinking and balance.
medicine is similar to Ayurveda (India) and Chinese Medicine. These three
cultures teach that living a balanced life is the key to your health and that
there is both a hot energy and a cold energy. “A 2011 study found vitamin C
intake to have positive results for people with osteoarthritis. It may even
have a role in preventing osteoarthritis. It’s thought to lessen cartilage loss
and reduce deterioration of the joint tissue. (Emily Cronkleton) which again shows
the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
basically, Tibetan medicine teaches you to heal negative thinking which
poison’s your mind and body. To accomplish this you must master mindfulness,
loving-kindness, compassion, and ethical behavior Doing this will heal the
mental poisons so you can create and maintain a healthy mind and body. By
performing certain meditations, you can bring your energies into balance and
destroy the poison.
healthy mind can create a life in which you can flourish. By making these key
terms part of your new lifestyle you will be setting yourself up for nothing
but success. These words are love, responsibility, patience, compassion,
humility, kindness, tolerance, altruism. Forgiveness, contentment, meaning,
joy, integrity, peace, and equanimity. While research is challenging because
Tibetan medicine has to do with the whole body and not just one problem, there
is definite proof in the lives of the Tibetans that it works.
you are about to discover, the real solution to diabetes lies, not in the
latest technology, but in the wisdom of the ancients – specifically the dietary
habits of a small native group of inhabitants based in the jungles of Sri
Lanka. The Vedda are native inhabitants of Sri Lanka, which is located off the
southern tip of India. The word Vedda means hunter, a fitting representation of
these jungle-dwelling people. They are widely referred to as forest dwellers
and it is generally accepted that they are descended from Neolithic ancestors.
The origins of the Vedda have been recorded in a sacred manuscript which is
known as The Mahavamsa, roughly translated as “The Great Chronicle.
someone has diabetes, it means that they have too much glucose in their blood.
Glucose is the body’s main source of energy. Even though an alarming number of
people under twenty-five are developing the condition, most people who are
diagnosed with Type- 2 diabetes are aged between fifty-five and sixty.
most popular diabetic drug in the world is Metformin. It is the only drug that
has been proven to decrease the chance of heart attack. It is an oral diabetes
medicine that helps control blood sugar levels and is designed for type 2
diabetics. Metformin was discovered in 1922 as an anti-diabetic drug. Of
course, like most prescription drugs you are putting poison into your body. The
list of dangers associated with Metformin is daunting. They include dizziness,
digestive problems, hormonal disruption, and Sinus Infection.
you deplete the body’s Vitamin B12 levels, you are at a heightened risk. Of
cardiovascular disease. Type 2 diabetes is a dietary disease caused by too much
sugar. The key to controlling it is to cut out all the sugar and refined
carbohydrates. The ketogenic diet does exactly that by restricting carbs to
less than 20 grams per day.
One form of the keto diet
is espoused by the American Diabetes Association. There are three
macronutrients in the typical human diet: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Of
these three, carbs are the only macronutrients that dramatically spike blood
glucose levels. Protein raises it a little and fat doesn’t raise it at all. It
only makes sense, then, to consume a very low carbohydrate, adequate-protein,
and high-fat diet. That is what keto does. Of course, the Vedda do not eat
processed carbohydrate foods. Their diet is high in protein and fat. They don’t
trim the fat from their meats and they get a lot of healthy fats through foods
emphasizes the nutrient-dense food that the human body thrives on while
eliminating the highly processed refined foods that have become the mainstay of
the modern Western diet. The Paleo Diet is built around the following foods:
Meat, Fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and starchy plants. And those
are the very food types that the Vedda have been consuming for the last three
Vedda is a spiritual people and follows a system of worship that can be
categorized as a blend of Animism and Totemism. They believe that certain
plants and animals possess special powers. They also worship ancestors who have
died. The Vedda is well known for following a diet that is very rich in meat.
is done with the aid of herbal concoctions by a traditional medicine man. A
study was conducted to assess the cost difference between taking metformin or
making lifestyle changes in order to prevent type 2 diabetes. The conclusion
was that metformin reduced diabetes by 31%, while lifestyle changes reduced
diabetes by 58%. They also figured that the lifestyle change program would cost
$8,800 while metformin would cost $29,000. So, the lifestyle changes program
cost less and had healthier outcomes than the metformin. Healthcare providers
should be encouraging and supporting patients in making these lifestyle changes
in order to get ahead of the current diabetes epidemic.
“Traditional AIAN healing systems focus on
balancing mind, body, and spirit within the community context. Many American
Indian groups have long practiced a holistic approach to healing involving a
sense of connectedness with place and land, and contrary to the Western
approach, generally don’t try to isolate one part of the person and healing it,
but rather look at the whole person”. (Beals J, Manson SM, Whitesell NR, Spicer
P, Novins DK, Mitchell CM)
Americans use alternative therapies as much if not more than whites. In fact
Native American men and women are significantly more likely to seek help from a
spiritual healer. People have been suffering from the symptoms of depression
for thousands of years which means that traditional healing and natural
medicine doctors have a long history of imformation from which to draw.
Psychologists that have had many years of experience treating people with
depression, together with experts in the field of natural medicine have
discovered a combination of St John’s Wort and Passiflora are highly effective
herbs in the therapeutic treatment of depression and anxiety. They also offer
immediate as well as long-term relief to people suffering from other health
problems such as insomnia, panic attacks, OCD and even those with eating
St John’s Wort has been scientifically
shown to relieve the symptoms of depression if used regularly over a period of
3 – 5 weeks. St John’s Wort has had the
same results as Prozac and is used in many countries for centuries. There have
been many clinical studies which show the effectiveness of St John’s Wort in
the treatment of depression. “A review published in the British Medical Journal
quotes up to twenty-three clinical trials which demonstrate that St John’s Wort
works as well as many prescription anti-depressants, without the major side
effects”. Millions of people around the world have been helped by treatment
with St John’s Wort. Many clients say that it feels like ‘the black cloud’ has
been lifted from their heads and that they have more zest for life!
is a calming herb that reduces anxiety and nerves when combined with St. John’s
Wart it has amazing effects. “According to Dr. Earl Mindell (The New Herb
Bible), Passiflora is one of nature’s best tranquilizers. It works quickly and
effectively and is an excellent addition to any treatment for anxiety and
depression”. There are many ways you can naturally reduce symptoms of depression.
These include regular exercise, using suppliments, eating healthy food, regular
oldest mind-body effect is the relationship between spirituality and medicine.
Unfortunately, the scientifically oriented biomedical community tends to
discount the importance of psychological and behavioral variables as important
etiological and exacerbations factors in pathogenesis.
“Naturopathic medicine is based on the belief
that the human body has an innate healing ability”. (Sylvia Engdahl) This
uncertainty creates a real roadblock to the goal of making alternative medicine
a safe and viable health care choice for Americans. People cannot make
intelligent choices in health care without sufficient information.
ambiguous-leaning-on-the-negative-side bias against alternative medicine
contributes to a vicious cycle. The FDA appears poised to block alternative
medicines, limited funding will go into its research. Naturopathic doctors
believe in letting nature heal our bodies. We have such a true instinct for
self-healing. By removing barriers, such as poor diet or unhealthy habits we
can begin an awesome journey of restoring our health.
must understand that symptoms will return until you have found and treated the
root of the problem rather than cover up symptoms which is what western
medicine does. Never suppress symptoms these are the ways in which your body is
trying to self-heal. For example, a fever is your body’s reaction to a
bacterial infection. The cool part about natural medicine is it can still be
tailored to fit each patients needs just as western medicine is.
two people are alike so therefor there are different ways to treat every
individual. In natural healing doctors must be a teacher, as well as a doctor. So
the first steps to this education is to learn how to eat healthy, exercise,
relax and nurture themselves. We each have a unique makeup so the naturopathic doctor must figure out all
these factors and how they affect our health. Proactive medicine saves money,
pain, misery and lives.
That’s why naturopathic physicians need to
evaluate every part of your world. This type of lifestyle change involves more
hard work then going to see a doctor of western medicine but that is what makes
it so great. More work in the beginning equals less illness in the long run. naturopathy basically helps the body’s inherent
ability to restore and maintain optimal health”. ?So, looking at these three
very different cultures you notice they all have basically the same healing
practices. This is basically to eat healthy, exercise and being one with
yourself. It seems to me that knowing this it would be easy to change what is
making us so unhealthy but at last it is not. Money and ailments from being
unhealthy hinder this process. But, if more people demand lower cost on fresh
food, offer more health care options like gym memberships for free, and more
alternative healing medicine we might start making a dent.