“One problem I see with those of us who want to be humane is that while we invariably support calls for justice at a macro level, some of us are not above taking advantage in our personal, day-to-day dealings. I once rented a room in a house full of Marxists, and one of them was one of the least just individuals I’ve ever met. Yet he regularly marched in favor of justice for the oppressed peoples of this world. If we want peace, it’s essential that we be peaceful. And if we want justice, we have to be just—down to the smallest transactions. I think a lot of people can agree with this easily. But there are always “grey areas.” That’s where we have to be especially disciplined and thoughtful.” -Mark Bittner, We Must Be Just, April 2013


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Future of Herbology

At the end of a study course, after having read the book Green Pharmacy: The History and Evolution of Western Herbal Medicine, by Barbara Griggs, I was given this question:
Herbal medicine has had a long and proud past, checkered with defiant people who stood up for what they knew was right. Presently, this same struggle continues with corporations, governments and the medical community trying to control herbology's rebirth. What do you think the future holds for herbal medicine? Should herbology become main stream like many herbalists believe, or should it continue to be taught and practiced as it is? What is your opinion?
 This was my response to that question:
I believe that, should herbology become “mainstream” in the sense that it is used instead of, or in conjunction with, medical science, it would be under controlling regulations and restrictions and be controlled by bureaucracy and monetary gain just as is found in medical scientific practice today. For any practice, medical or otherwise, that is said to hold the care of people first, but is controlled by a fore mentioned practices, it's true nature is not in the care for those they say they serve, but rather in serving themselves. Each time herbology has tried to become mainstream in the past, it has fallen prey to such practices as these and I believe it would again, as it seems to be a cycle that is repeated throughout history. We should learn from the past and not repeat it when the outcome is a negative one. I believe that only through personal and small communal practice of holistic care will it be able to survive and thrive.
 I also believe that supplements that are nothing but extracted chemicals, even though they be from natural sources, should not be labeled as holistic or nutritional, nor should they be sold with holistic foods and medicines, as they are not such. I believe this relation continues to be a sore on the herbalist and naturopath and each who practice in these areas should avoid their uses. It is a money-making practice that is just as chemically dependent as medical science and I believe it needs to be separated from holistic care in order for those who work in this field to be taken more seriously by the mainstream care practitioners.
I believe the struggle between the medical field and the holistic care givers will continue as long as those in the medical field feel threatened by the loss of revenue that will be generated by people seeking alternative ways of caring for themselves, but that alternative care will, as in times past, become more widely used and accepted. However, I do not foresee a fundamental change in the way society seeks medical care. The only way to bring about such a fundamental change is to teach people, and there are many who don't want to be taught and many more who don't want them to be taught. Our society runs largely on capitalism and, unfortunately, money is power, and those who oppose holistic care have a lot of both. I believe the survival of alternative health care in the United States must continue to be practiced on a very small scale in order not to be eradicated all together by the competition.
Have you read the book? Do you have an opinion regarding the question?

2 comments:

Peter McCombs said...

Besides the question of "health as business," what do you think about evidence-based healing vs. anecdote or tradition-based healing?

Jodi said...

I think that when healing occurs the state of mind is just as important as the state of the body. When a person believes they will be healed, sometimes that is enough to heal them. I would put a lot of the traditional, meaning rituals, etc., healing into a similar category as well as anecdotal, and even pseudo treatments. I think that these types of healing practices have a place when one believes strongly that they will help. I also feel that a good evidence-based type of healing is good knowledge to have as well, especially when treating someone who does not have a belief in the other practices mentioned. Although, I believe that regardless of type of treatment, there must be a "faith" of some sort in order to consent to use that type of healing. Evidence-based medicinal practice isn't just found in synthetic drugs and unnatural treatments, even in herbalism there is plenty of evidence of the healing powers they posses. Have I understood and answered your comment the way you intended?

Soaring Potential


To fly with an eagle is to see sights unseen, as starlings fill the skies.

Even that little brown bird on the ground knows where it’s potential lies.


The ostrich and emu share a common trait, running is their forté.

Other birds, when allowed to be, seem to enjoy their play


A bobbing cockatoo dancing on it’s perch is truly a silly sight.

Now imagine that bird, free with its flock, as it passes in graceful flight.


Have you ever seen a pandemonium of parrots descend upon a tree back home?

For, you see, in reality, parrots weren’t bred to be alone.


The nightingale brings beauty to our ears, the peacock beauty to our eyes.

While all through the trees, where the mourning doves roost, hang the mourning dove’s mournful cries.


The flamingo stands on one leg for hours, while the penguin soars through the deep.

And though variety abounds throughout, they’re all birds from their very first peep.


There are birds that mimic, birds that screech and birds that can sing a soothing tune.

There are birds that welcome the morning as it breaks and birds who serenade the moon.


There is beauty to be found throughout the world of birds. Still, and none the less,

Only a bird, who is allowed to soar free, knows it’s own potential best.



“Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings.”

André Gide


"All men who have turned out worth anything have had the chief hand in their own education"
- Sir Walter Scott