Skip to main content

Reply to "Chinese and Herbal Medicine vs. prescription drugs."

Yes, lots of factors determine health. Tops being genetics and lifestyle. Good genes go a long way. So do exercise and diet.

I am on the fence. Some western meds are beneficial. My fiancee takes a thyroid medicine to compensate for some bad genetics (shhh), but she also takes an iron tablet I know could be replaced by fresh spinach and beets, or red meat if she ate it.

In the West, we are very much concerned with treating symptoms. Doctors write antibiotic prescriptions at the first sniffle, without regard to a compromised immune system down the road. They do this because patients demand it, and many doctors are more than willing to oblige, rather than say "sleep it off, eat your leafy greens, you'll be fine in a couple of days."

Not all western medicine is cooked up in a lab somewhere from various aldehydes and esters. Many come from isolated compounds found in nature. Some American Indians would gnaw on willow bark as a headache cure. Guess what? It contains salicylic acid (aspirin). New life-saving medicines are being found all over the world in a variety of things.

I think it's naive to discount the findings of Eastern medical thinking. I don't have it all the time, but I always feel great after having ginseng tea for a couple of days, as a Chinese college buddy of mine suggested.

Sure, there seems to be a lot of quackery in Asian medicine. It's debatable whether virility comes from eating gonads. And, the founder of the Qin dynasty is known for having the Great Wall built. He also had his doctors make him herbal pills to give immortality. A main ingredient ultimately killed him: Mercury.

Neither system is perfect, but perfection may lie in judicious blending of the two.

PSF, if you're interested in the subject, see if you can find a copy of "A Modern Herbal" in the local library. It's in two parts I believe, a bit dated, but interesting reading.