Monday, September 10, 2012

Botanical Medicine & Indian Naturopathic System

Naturopathic Medicine widely recognizes the role of various plant based food articles helpful for therapeutic purposes. Term used is, BOTANICAL MEDICINE. I highly encourage Naturopaths to use the 'whole fruit' instead of 'extracts' but saying that specific plants/ fruits can not/ should not be used in Naturopathic Medicine would be a wrong approach.

For example, Naturopaths in India recommend PAPAYA for a range of Gastro-Intestinal Disorders including Acid Peptic Diseases, Liver Conditions etc. and I do not see anything wrong if patients are kept in Naturopathy Centres on a specific 'PAPAYA Diet'. Even though Papaya extract 'Papain' is used in Herbal Medicine and Modern Medicine, that in itself should not deter Naturopaths using Papaya.

Usefulness of Specific Herbs/ Plants like Tulasi, Mint, Lemongrass, Anwala, Aloe Vera, Ashgaurd, Carrot Juice can not be undermined. I personally do not want Naturopaths recommending 'extracts/ tablets or capsules' in any form because these things can be easily grown and are more effective when they are fresh.

There is nothing wrong in learning 'Aromatherapy' or 'Bach Flower Therapy' because there is a big value in using it than 'not using it'. However, use of Tulasi or other herbs should not be an 'alternative or replacement to the theory of toxaemia'. Colon and other forms of cleansing should be the Primary Agent applied in our therapeutic approaches. But, I do not see how using 'eucalyptus leaves' or eucalyptus essential oil in a facial steam for Common Cold/ Sinusitis is going to harm/ compromise the Principle of Naturopathy.

I want to bring here a very relevant point with regard to the development of 'Philosophy on which Indian Naturopathy' is based. Though It's 'OK' to derive a few similar points from Ancient Texts of AYURVEDA (like SWASTHA VRUTTA) which have striking similarities to the lifestylke recommendations a Naturopath makes, they are based on the Principles of TRIDOSHA, which is inherently a different system. When we depend so much on the teachings of Acharya Lakshamana Sharma and attribute our Philosophy to 'Panchamahabhutas' - we unknowingly 'accept' the contentions of AYURVEDA practitioners that Naturopathy is not a separate System and EVERYTHING mentioned there is already part of Charak Samhita and other AYURVEDA Texts. I hear Ayurvedic Doctors saying " Naturopathy is an illegitimate child of AYURVEDA". I snub them everytime by saying that they do not know anything about Naturopathy.

When you look at the development and history of Naturopathic System in India, it starts with the arrival and translations of three books on Naturopathy in India (namely, RETURN to NATURE by Adolf Just, New Science of Healing by Luis Kuhne and My Water Cure by Sebastian Kneipp). PRINCIPLES and PRACTICE of NATURE CURE by Henry Lindlahr, RATIONAL HYDROTHERAPY by JH Kellogg and TOXAEMIA EXPLAINED by John H TILDON - are three most defining TEXTS I can quote which have influenced the development of Indian Naturopathic System. Problem is that, after the development & regulation of MODERN MEDICINE in USA and Europe in mid 1900's the Institutions propagating this in the West got suppressed while this survived in India because we were a new Country and regulation started here very late in late 70s and early 80s. Besides we should thank also the presence of other traditional systems of Medicine that the Naturopathy could not be destroyed. But to say that Indian Naturopathy is Indian in any way would be a dishonest statement.
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