old herb book

Eat your medicine

The use of diet to treat illness is not a new notion.    “Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food”.  The father of medicine said this in the 4th century B.C.!  But Hippocrates was not the first to use food and plants to treat disease.  Medicine Men or Shamans in Prehistoric times used herbs and minerals for healing.  The first recorded dietary advice, was carved into a Babylonian stone tablet in 2500. In the 6th century B.C. China’s Ho the physician prescribed diets for disease.  And even in the Bible’s Book of Daniel we can find reference to an experiment in diet and health.  It makes one wonder why nutrition is considered “alternative” medicine; it can hardly be considered “new age” .

Fast forward to today:  One in Five Americans claim to be taking at least five prescription drugs in a given month, and nearly half of all Americans are currently taking one or more medications.  The trend to attempt to resolve all aches and pains with a pill, without any recommendation or consideration of preventative or lifestyle and dietary suggestions has become the basis of mainstream medicine.  I can remember being asked if I was on any medications at an office visit with my doctor; now it is more like how many with a double take when I proudly say “none”.  Thankfully, I have found a supportive doctor who has accepted after years of refusal that I am not going to ever fill the prescriptions he prescribes.  We have come to an understanding, and now he does all that he can to suggest a more natural remedy for me.  But the resistance of western medicine to accept alternative therapies as anything but pseudo-medicine is still sadly the norm and we have some way to go before that changes.  Still, a shift in attitude and in practice is happening one patient, and one doctor at a time.  While you may still find your doctor reaching for his prescription pad before suggesting an herb or food, you may find a more open mind regarding the relationship between diet and good health.

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