Herbs..significance in modern world

August 07, 2008

Herbs….significance in modern world

How lucky are we! When God created man, he also created the things we need. He provided us water to quench our thirst, air to breathe, fruits and vegetables to eat and even fiber in form of cotton and silk to cover ourselves. So, the most challenging part of surviving on this planter wasn’t that tough ever. The more critical tasks were already provided by mother nature and man was offered this necessities in a silver plate.

But soon, mental abilities of man encouraged him to do new things, make innovations and grow for a better life style. Science and technology then became big. No longer does man need water to quench his thirst, today he relies on Pepsi and Coke more than mother nature. This is the biggest misconception. What we are forgetting is that Pepsi relies on mother nature for water without which Pepsi cant be made. What the company adds is sugar, color and flavor which doesn’t benefit us in any way, they just improve palatability. Hence, the core benefit of quenching thirst is still offered by nature in form of water…this is indisputable.

However, we are in a subconscious state of mind. Though we read about nature care , we don’t really believe in it. We believe in slushies and ice cream more than fresh fruits; we believe in synthetic fabric more than the old age cotton, we prefer television to theater and if we need medication, we don’t consider any system to substitute allopathy. This is the most worrisome part. Did you know that many allopathic medicines also contain chemicals of vegetative and herbal source. Whenever you read about flavanoids, you can be assured that its is from a herbal source. Many cough syrups and expectorants are derived from plant source like Ipecacuanha. Hence though we consider ourselves to be patrons of allopathy, we are actually at the mercy of mother nature in a greater way. I am not demeaning the benefits of technology and science but just want to explain how this innovation would be useless if the herbs and medicines were not available in nature. Science has studied them and prepared alternative chemical forms and wherever it is unable to compete with nature, allopathy believes in using the extracts of these herbal medications. So, as such allopathy goes hand in hand with herbal care; they don’t compete with each other.

Now the choice is yours. We are made up of the five elements of nature like air, water, fire, earth and dhatu. Herbs are also of natural origin and are bestowed with special properties to take care of mankind. Moreover, only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches. Hence only nature would understand the ailments and illnesses in man the best. Though chemicals may also offer similar actions on the body and perhaps even faster, the side effects and toxicity caused by these foreign agents would perhaps add to the trouble and even lead to complications at times. It is here that herbal medicines have an edge. They function on the same principles of pitta, vatta and kapha. Any human body performs to the best and is healthy when there is a balance between these three principles. However, when any of these dominates the others, illnesses prevail. Herbs help in restoring this balance and hence help in therapy and maintaining body health.

Now we know that it was not disbelief but awareness that made our grandmothers give us turmeric in milk whenever we had cough, any wounds were washed with neem water and tulsi tea was a good immune modulator. Perhaps the regular use of these herbs made them more healthy. We never heard of ailments like cancer, HIV, Parkinson’s disease and many others. Today, on the other hand we are in a vicious circle. First we take a drug to combat a problem, hen we take another to cure the side effects of the first, then the third is popped in to aid the second to act faster. Moreover the problems of resistance, drug tolerance and correct dosage increase the complications which can be eliminated by adapting naturopathy or herbal medicine.

So, go ahead. Its never too late to mend. Start with planting a few herbs like tulsi, rosemary, neem, basil and fennel. Use them in extract form in your curries, salads and other culinary preparations. Decoctions can even be used in viral infections and coughs-colds. So, go ahead, live naturally fully.

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