Healing herbs

Healing herbs
Echinacea and Calendula

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Let Food Be Your Medicine and Medicine Be Your Food

Isn’t it absurd that we call the modalities of natural healing "alternative medicine"? Obviously, "alternative" refers to something other than the accepted or the standard. The opposite to "alternative medicine" is what we now call orthodox or allopathic medicine, which then makes it the standard.

This really irks me. For 2,200 years until 1805, medicine was practised exclusively according to the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (460-377 BC), the founding father of natural medicine. He taught that the first and foremost principle of medicine must be to respect nature’s healing forces, which inhabit each living organism. 

Hippocrates considered illness a natural phenomenon that forced people to discover the imbalances in their health. He strongly believed in good food and related the course of any ailment to poor nutrition and bad eating habits. He stressed, "Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food"–advice that, to this day, has not lost its validity.

I mention the year 1805 because in that year in the small town of Einbeck, where I went to school and enrolled in my apprenticeship, German pharmacist Friedrich Wilhelm Adam Sertürner (1783-1841) discovered morphine, named after Morpheus, the god of dreams. Morphine is the bitter, white crystalline found in opium, the milky sap of the unripe poppy. This was the first time, and a significant moment in pharmaceutical history, that a single potent ingredient, an alkaloid, was isolated.

Sertürner was celebrated "freeman of the city," and to this day his pharmacy and discovery are subjects of school projects for students of Einbeck. Hence, the awakening of my desire to become a pharmacist, which, however, never materialized due to unfavorable circumstances during the war and thereafter. Instead, I chose natural health as my profession and my passion.

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