Healing from Mother Nature
The holistic healing philosophy of Greek Medicine states that Man is essentially a product of Nature, or the natural environment. Health is living in harmony with Nature, and disease results when this harmony and balance are upset. Healing is restoring this lost harmony and integration. Man and all other living beings on this planet grew and evolved within this all-pervasive biosphere, and have been relying on it for their survival, for food and medicine, for millions of years. The use of medicinal plants in healing is not exclusive to the human species; when an animal in the wild gets sick or feels out of sorts, it will stop eating and munch on some healing herbs until it feels better. Herbal medicine amongst humans first evolved as an imitation of this universal healing practice of the animal kingdom. And so, herbal medicine is a universal practice among all the world's traditional medical systems, which developed systems or models of herbal healing based on the holistic healing principles and concepts inherent to that system. Greek Medicine is no exception to this rule, and bases its own system of herbal medicine upon its core concepts: the Four Basic Qualities, the Four Elements, the Four Humors and the Four Temperaments. The practical details of Greek Medicine's system of herbal healing grew out of the accumulated clinical experience of generations of Greek physicians. Any system of herbal medicine, to be viable, must have both a theoretical and a practical aspect. Theory is necessary to guide the observations and hypotheses of the physician in formulating a diagnosis and treatment strategy. Practical experience, either one's own or transmitted from one's teachers, is necessary to select the right herbs and medicines, which actually work. Hippocrates, in his writings, warns against the dangers of letting theory jump too far ahead of clinical practice and what actually produces results. Stressing the necessity of tradition and a practical approach, he said: "Foolish the doctor who despises knowledge acquired by the ancients." - Hippocrates
A Brief Historical Overview of Herbal Medicine
The origins of herbal medicine lie in the common empirical experience of the human race, in observing which plants the animals ate when they were feeling sick, and following their example. From these origins, augmented by centuries of experiential trial and error, a body of knowledge and lore developed in each region of the world, which became the world's indigenous folk medicine traditions. The folk medicine of the village healer was immediate and practical, consisting of "this herb for this illness, that herb for that", with a bare minimum of theory behind it. From these empirical roots the world's great traditional medical systems evolved, in which the physician's selection and use of the appropriate herbs was guided not just by clinical experience, but also by medical theories and principles. In Greece, this happened with Hippocrates. Throughout history, there has been a great amount of exchange, trade and commerce in herbs and other natural medicinal substances, as traditional healers in each region of the world wanted to secure access to effective remedies that produced results. And so, there is a great degree of overlap between the herbal pharmacopeias of the world's great traditional medical systems. Traditional healing wisdom and good old common sense told the common man for hundreds, even thousands of years that Nature's botanical medicines were the best way of health and healing. All the world's great religions all have passages from their sacred texts advocating the use of herbs for health and healing. Greek Medicine is based on the concept of Medicatrix Naturae - that Mother Nature is a healing goddess. The remedies for all man's ills are to be found in the...