Elena Renier, BSc (Hons), BA (Hons), ITEC, MNIMH, IMI
The Medical Herbalist's holistic approach is keeping abreast of scientific research and blending in traditional medical world knowledge.
Western Medical Herbalism blends both modern medical and holistic diagnoses from the Greek, Ayurvedic and Oriental Chinese, Japanese and Tibetan Taoist traditions into one eclectic style. In the United Kingdom, there are degree courses dedicated to Western Medical Herbalism, which teach differential diagnosis of the patient as well as nutrition, phytochemistry, pharmacognosy, botany, physiology, pathology and pathophysiology.
In Europe, standard medicine courses do not include any of the subjects, which are essential in Phytotherapy or Mycotherapy: namely, Botany, Phytochemistry and Pharmacognosy. These subjects are infrequently included in degrees dedicated to Agriculture and Pharmacy. The fact that traditional Herbalism still is the most important traditional method of treatment worldwide is generally dismissed from the academic Western world.
Traditional medicine includes various modalities of treatment, first and foremost, prayer, which has always been and still is the most common demonstration of the power of body, mind and spirit. This is also clearly recognizable in the practice of hypnosis, especially clinical hypnosis during surgery, although its efficacy takes a very lucid Practitioner and ordinary patients cannot usually be expected to rely on hypnosis or prayer for general healthcare.
The second most widely spread modality of healing is chicken broth, due to its low-cost antiviral activity but of limited value when compared, for example to the activities of Echinacea, Elderberry, Ginger or many distilled essential oil concentrations or medicinal mushrooms. The latter possess pharmacokinetic activity, which has been classified and proved to be analog to Biological Response Modifiers (BRM) drugs and can afford the significant immunomodulating activity.
The third most widely spread traditional medical cure is, therefore, Medical Herbalism, which is also the most complete form of traditional medicine, not just a modality, such as a prayer or one single remedy, such as chicken broth, but which comprises virtually infinite cures within. Medical Herbalism has always been ubiquitous worldwide from East to West with its spiritually diverse inspirations. Medical Herbalism traditionally also includes medicinal mushrooms therapy, although mushrooms belong to their own very kingdom, since they are heterotroph, which means that they cannot produce their own food such as chlorophyll and must feed on other types of organisms, similarly to animals.
Today, just 600 million out of 7 billion people worldwide can afford synthetic drugs, while the rest of peoples has always ever only used traditional plants and mushrooms instead of drugs. Plant and mushroom medicines should not, therefore, be regarded as medical alternatives or compared to other innovative natural techniques amongst other alternative therapeutic modalities. Medical Herbalism continues throughout the ages until now to be accessible anywhere on the planet, whilst patenting its genetic wealth remains illegal.
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