Herbalism

HerbDoctorAugust 25, 2013

I find myself being sucked into some hodgepodge of discussions of junk sciences on this forum. There are some who contribute from a purely modern medical perspective which has no application to the healing art of Herbology or Herbalism.

There needs to be a standard set for discussions of Herbalism. Definition: Herbalism (herbology) is the consumption (use) of herbs for improved health whereby the body can utilize the nutritional values of herbs in order to heal itself. Hope that made sense.

Some here try to apply herbs to health issues in the same way that pharmacology (modern medicine) tries to treat symptoms of the body. That's a slippery slope and less-than-rewarding way to approach the use of herbs.

If there are any questions, please raise your hand.

HerbDoctor

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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

Have you been appointed moderator of the forum?

If not, you should accept that other people have a different view of herbalism, including the concept that it needs to be evidence-based, and that it helps people most when used in a complementary fashion to mainstream evidence-based medicine, not as a stand-alone system that fights against evidence-based care.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 10:04PM
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HerbDoctor

But your views of herbalism aren't valid, Eric. You're a modern medico. What could you possibly know about the principles and procedures of good herbal science? I'm serious. You can have your views, but to apply what you know of modern medicine to herbal science is like trying to put a round peg into a square hole. They have nothing to do with each other. For instance, I laid out a sound principle of herbal science and you ARGUE. That's foolish. You're comparing modern analytical medicine with ancient phenomonological sciences. Trying to mix them is like mixing oil and water. If you don't accept the difference, you'll continue to blunder down the road of ignorance.

My teachings and the things I've learned are based on 2-3,000 years of eastern science. Much more effective than, say . . . 200 years (at best) of modern medical stuff. And I've had over 40 years experience whereby I've refined my knowledge and applications.

You can have your views, but please don't try to speak with any degree of authority about a science with which you have very little experience.

HerbDoctor

This post was edited by HerbDoctor on Mon, Aug 26, 13 at 0:47

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 12:39AM
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Sumatra(6)

Ah, prevention and maintenance before healing, makes sense. But such a lifestyle has yet to be achieved except by very few, and they probably wouldn't be on this forum if they had.

Then again, I may be misunderstanding your definition of Herbology.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 1:18AM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

To Charlie Benghauser ("HerbDoctor"): since you persist in attacking me personally and trumpeting your "40 years of experience", tell us this:

How does your background of furniture refinishing school and selling mobile homes and real estate in Arizona translate into knowing the One True Way of herbalism?

And didn't your bad experiences on CureZone teach you anything about how unwise it is to continually pick fights rather than just share your views in a calm and civil manner?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 11:50AM
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HerbDoctor

Sumatra:

You're correct about "such a lifestyle has yet to be achieved." It takes a special knowledge. People in our western society have tried preventing disease based on so-called scientific information provided by modern medical science. The track record speaks for itself.

I like your reasonableness.

HerbDoctor

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 11:56AM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

The track record of "traditional Chinese medicine" also speaks for itself. Compare disease incidence and longevity during the many years that TCM was the primary source of care to what's been achieved since modern medicine took hold there.

As for prevention, it continues to be increasingly important in evidence-based medicine and has a solid grounding in science and verifiable clinical experience.

Alternative medicine did not invent the concept of preventative care and cannot take credit for it.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 2:27PM
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HerbDoctor

Eric:

I agree on one point. TCM doesn't have the best track record either. TCM came about when China's herbal system was revamped during the revolution some 50 years ago. In the process, they went from classic Chinese herbology which used herbs as the primary regimen with acupuncture as the supplementary treatment to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) whereby acupuncture became the primary regimen with herbology as the supplemental remedy. The use of herbs as the primary treatment was used for thousands of years. Acupuncture students are now taught acupuncture as the main thrust of their programs and treatments became less effective as compared to herbs being used as the main treatment.

With herbs, the body can be given the building blocks it needs in order for the body to heal. Western description would be "the herbs' biochemistry or nutrients." With herbs, the body has something on which to build. With acupuncture, all you get is short-term symptomatic relief by an external, forced manipulations of the electrical system.

As far as prevention, it continues to be an illusive smoke and mirror. Share with me in your own words how you can qualify prevention? It's a method promoted since modern medicine can't cure anything. Promoting prevention seems to get them off the hook as far as being responsible for peoples' health. See, if a patient gets sick and the doctor can't fix them, all he has to say is "Well, you didn't prevent it. You should've done this or that." Get my point? Even the natural health field falls into using the same smoke and mirrors.

Does this help? Eric, if you have any questions, please raise your hand.

HerbDoctor

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 2:47PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

I'm amazed you'd make the blanket statement that "modern medicine can't cure anything" (especially given the lack of evidence that your conception of "herbology" is capable of cures).

Try telling people with acute appendicitis, ruptured diverticuli, traumatic injuries, hematologic and certain solid malignancies, infections and myriad other conditions that can be managed with minimal to no symptoms that "modern medicine can't cure anything".

It may be a great sales pitch for your business, but it bears no relation to reality.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 10:55PM
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HerbDoctor

Eric, all those things you mentioned are successfully treated with herbology practitioners every day. Just because you don't know of that world, you shouldn't boast of modern medical accomplishments. Instead, why don't you share your personal experiences instead of knocking a completely different system of health care that you're not schooled in?

What business?? I'm not in the business of treating people. A naturopathic doctor in town wanted to refer a patient to me, but I told him I wasn't taking on patients.

Sorry, Eric. You make this forum a battle of wits, but I'm not interested. You challenge people and you're too dogmatic. Sorry, but you shouldn't even be on this herbalism forum being that you don't really have a grasp of the healing arts. Or . . . are you a closet herbalist? lol Come to the dark side, Eric!

HerbDoctor

This post was edited by HerbDoctor on Tue, Aug 27, 13 at 19:25

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 11:05PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

No doubt someone, somewhere is attempting to use "herbology" to treat acute appendicitis and motor vehicle trauma.

Wait - here's a video to prove it!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 11:46AM
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HerbDoctor

You're reaching, Eric. Let's keep herbology discussions in the context of chronic and acute illnesses. Not trauma. I will admit that in the area of trauma, modern medicine excels.

Aren't your videos anecdotal?

HerbDoctor

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 4:09PM
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chinacat_sunflower(7)

Eric - I saw what you tried to do there...

but you're fighting not just the mystery of why Chinese herbs like Hu Jaio (cayanne) and du suan (garlic) are more potent than their european (or, heaven forbid, the ones that grow in my Mid-Atlantic region garden...)

you're fighting a guy who understands that using 'herb' and 'doctor' in his name gives him much more clout than any contact with the actual plants, or advanced classes in physiology or chemistry could ever hope to.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 5:51PM
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HerbDoctor

China:

Thank you for your support. All this back-and-forth with Eric reminds me of when I used to entertain in night clubs back in the 70's. Once in awhile, we'd get a heckler in the audience. It certainly was a challenge in dealing with them. But eventually, you caught yourself just ignoring the heckling and moving on doing the best you can.

You obviously know your pinyin. I'm trying to learn the Chinese pronunciation of the herbs, too. But, so often I just say the English word. *sigh*

Sounds like we could have an interchange of encouragement in this field of science. Please, share your experiences here. I'd love to hear what other craftsmen have done with Chinese herbology since I'm relatively new in the field (20 years).

Thanks again.

HerbDoctor

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 7:32PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

And a mighty whoosh sweeps across the virtual landscape...;)

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 10:09PM
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chinacat_sunflower(7)

Herb -
I'm sorry, I recommend Joss Whedon's work in print and recorded for an introduction to conversational Chinese...

it was my Tai Chi instructor, who is also a gardener, who made me aware that more than half of the herbs in China have equivalents in other parts of the world, and that one of the best indications of effectiveness is the few places where western and eastern traditions come to the same conclusion, despite their different approaches to things like humours...

every culture that has willow trees has discovered that a tea made of the bark tastes so nasty that the drinker will stop complaining about their headache and get back to work, for example....

and every family of Asian descent I've ever had the pleasure of knowing has agreed about two things - one is that the plants you have on hand are the best ones to learn about...

and that you never, ever want GrandMother to lose her temper.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 11:18AM
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HerbDoctor

China:

Thank you. You brought a smile to my face.

Yes, I've encountered many herbs used in China that are the same as the western counter-part. The thing about classic Chinese herbology is the classification they can associate with an herb. However, my friend, Peter Holmes, has integrated Chinese principles with the western herbs in his book, Energetics of Western Herbs. It's his 4th edition, so it is a work in progress.

It is amazing that herbs have no geographical nor political boundaries. Thank goodness!

If Grandmother is happy, we're happy!

HerbDoctor

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 2:26PM
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lazy_gardens

Your definition: Definition: Herbalism (herbology) is the consumption (use) of herbs for improved health whereby the body can utilize the nutritional values of herbs in order to heal itself. Hope that made sense.

And my definition differs. I expect some evidence that a given herb actually works, not just "ancient wisdom". Someone was peddling an herb that was from traditional Pueblo Indian medicine ... they were selling it as a mental stimulant. It's traditional use is as a laxative. :)

If you say an herb has "nutritional value" ... how is it determined. And where are the studies on toxic and detrimental side effects of herbs? I can think of quite a few that can do damage is misused, some of which are very popular.

If the Chinese herbalism and traditional medicine was so good, why did they die in such numbers? Look at the 1910 pneumonic plague epidemic in Mukden. The Chinese merchants set up their own hospital, using the traditional Chinese methods ... and their patients and doctors died in larger numbers than those being handled by the English doctors (no antibiotics, just vector control and isolation).

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 1:45PM
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lazy_gardens

What could you possibly know about the principles and procedures of good herbal science?

If you want to call it a science, you can't simultaneously be criticizing people for applying moderately rigorous analytical techniques to it.

Science is just a way of analysing observations to make sure that what we think is happening is really happening. So "good herbal science" would be testing anecdotal usage to see if there is any "there" there.

less-than-rewarding way to approach the use of herbs.

I don't care if it's "rewarding", I care if it really works.

This post was edited by lazygardens on Fri, Aug 30, 13 at 14:06

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 2:03PM
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HerbDoctor

We have a yoga studio downtown where people do their tai chi. Then they go next door to the coffee shop and have their chai tea. Tai chi . . . chai tea . . . tai chi . . . chai tea.

Get it?

HerbDoctor

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 2:11PM
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lazy_gardens

My teachings and the things I've learned are based on 2-3,000 years of eastern science. Much more effective than, say . . . 200 years (at best) of modern medical stuff.

Ah, the common fallacy of "Appeal to Antiquity"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_tradition

If ancient remedies were so fabulous, why was the average life expectancy so short, why were the child mortality rates so high?

Old ideas can be good, like most of the sanitary practices in the Old testament, or bad, like bleeding patients to balance their humors.

there's an ancient (2000-2500 years old) treatment for cancer of the uterus that consists of blowing the smoke from herb-scented seal fat into the patient's cervix.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 2:22PM
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lazy_gardens

Chinese herbs like Hu Jaio (cayanne)

Chilis are from the Americas, so the Chinese experience with Hu Jaio is at best only a few hundred years. You might as well take about the traditional Chinese beverage, hot chocolate.

As for the potency, any chili grower will tell you that among chilis of a single variety, variations in heat and water during the fruiting and ripening season control the heat.

Here in NM, for example, the early harvest of the "Hatch Green" is all hot. The mild ones are late-season when the days and nights have cooled off.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 4:08PM
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HerbDoctor

lazy:

Are you arguing for the sake of arguing? Or do you have clinical experience in herbology? Please, share.

HerbDoctor

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 5:04PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

"Are you arguing for the sake of arguing? Or do you have clinical experience in herbology?" - Charlie the Herb Doctor

"Attacking ones qualifications is a sign of desperation" - Charlie the Herb Doctor, in this thread.

Charlie, please take your own advice: discuss the good points lazygardens has raised, without resorting to personal attack. FYI - lazygardens has posted in this forum since long before you made your first appearance, while demonstrating a great deal of practical experience in and knowledge of herbalism.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 8:21PM
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lazy_gardens

I learned herbal medicine, and some of the "Eclectic" practices from my father.

He learned herbal medicine from the Nez Perce, Shoshone and Salish healers where he grew up. He also learned some herbal medicine because he went to pharmacy school before antibiotics were common. His old pharmacy books are very useful.

I've also learned from Michael Moore, Henriette Kress, various Navajo and Yaqui herbal healers ... I'll take information wherever I can find it, as long as there is solid evidence to back it up.

The ancient Chinese herbalism has some serious problems when you try to move it into today. Their descriptions were usually poetical, rather than botanical, and often like alchemical descriptions, meant to confuse the uninitiated. You can't be sure that the herb currently known as whatever is the same one from the old texts.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 9:38PM
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HerbDoctor

Lazy:

Thank you for sharing. I appreciate what you're saying. And I should add that it sounds like we both pick and choose our paths according to our ability to reason. Personally, I don't subscribe to all of the Chinese remedies. For instance, I won't use animal parts as part of a regimen. That's what's referred to as the "filth pharmacy." What I have been referring to in past postings is the PRINCIPLES behind the art of eastern herbology.

Coincidentally, western herbology from the native americans follow many of the same principles of eastern herbology. They do follow the natural laws. The only drawback about native american herbology that I've discerned is that the native americans didn't have a way of writing down their understanding whereas the Chinese wrote down the results of their research for thousands of years.. As a result, native americans' herbology techniques were passed on verbally from one generation to another and became subject to much superstitious and magical beliefs that became intermixed with their herbal remedies. I don't like crossing metaphysical principles with natural science. It blurs and obscures the process.

Thank you for sharing.

HerbDoctor

This post was edited by HerbDoctor on Fri, Aug 30, 13 at 23:19

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 10:03PM
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lazy_gardens

the Chinese wrote down the results of their research for thousands of years.

Not really ... stuck in the rut of "older is better" they copied the ancient texts over and over and over. If it was good enough for the Shang dynasty, it was still considered good for the Ming.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 10:27AM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

If you pick and choose what you want from ancient Chinese remedies, how do you know that what you select is any more valid than what you reject? After all, if the Chinese did all that "research"* for thousands of years, who are modern Westerners to say that use of animal products (or preserved parts of dead relatives) is "filthy"?

*seeing that this "research" basically involved collecting anecdotes which were then handed down over many generations and never systematically investigated, picking out bits and pieces to follow is like selectively adopting whatever portions of the Bible one finds congenial and ignoring the rest.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 11:28AM
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HerbDoctor

Eric,
When it's all said and done all that any of us have is our powers of deductive reasoning. So, far it's served me quite successfully.

Take care you two.

HerbDoctor

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 10:14PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

"Deductive reasoning" sounds impressive. But when it boils down to "it makes sense to me that this should work and I've seen it work, therefore it works", alternative practitioners fall into the same trap as mainstream physicians. The history of medicine is full of instances where practitioners kept using ineffective and sometimes dangerous treatments because of tradition and/or false perceptions. The problem gets more critical when the treatments are intended for serious and life-threatening conditions.

As for traditional Chinese medicine, key questions to ask are 1) is there good evidence from quality clinical trials that the drugs/treatments work, 2) are there dependable sources for supplements that guarantee against adulteration of products, and 3) what is the impact of such products on endangered species?

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 11:05AM
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HerbDoctor

Oh, . . . my . . . god . . . .!

Eric, you would argue with a toilet seat.

I'll just pretend to be intelligent. Nobody will know the difference anyhow.

HerbDoctor

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 9:38PM
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Sumatra(6)

HerbDoctor:

Indeed it does. And far too many have suffered due to this fashion of medicine, or the refusal to seek out other cures due to the people who frequently put such alternative medicine down, and promote what possibly injured the person in the first place.

I also like the fact that you make sense in your description and arguments for herbalism.

Now, it would be nice if you could stop advertising the local college's herbology course and lay some of this herbal wisdom on us. :D

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 6:21PM
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