To the Western way of thinking, theology and medicine have little in common. Although some progress has been made in the past several decades in recognizing the interrelationship of the mind, body, and spirit, there is still the tendency to define a human being merely in terms of concrete, physiological attributes. In Eastern Christian ideology, however, just as in Eastern traditional healing systems of medicine, a human being is viewed as a spiritual, psychic, rational, and physical whole. By addressing the spirit, emotions, intellect, and body, Eastern Christian theology approaches healing from a wholistic, psychosomatic understanding of the individual. This is the approach that I embody in my practice.
I often lecture in hospitals or to groups schooled in conventional medical thinking. Although they are intrigued by herbal medicine, one of the first questions they ask is, “How do you know that herbs really work?”
This is a valid question. It’s not enough to say, “Well, this herbal remedy worked for my grandparents, so it will work for me.” Although there may be validity in this way of thinking, it certainly won’t stand up to the scientific, research based approach of modern medicine. First, it’s important to understand that traditional medical systems, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Ayurveda, or the tradition of American Eclectic Medicine, are based on complex, but practical medical assumptions and theories; they are organized systems, acquired from hundreds, if not thousands of years of development through direct experience with patients.
In my blog post last week I talked about why I’m opposed to flu shots, and outlined a holistic approach to supporting the immune system and increasing the body’s ability to resist pathogens. Because botanical medicine is central to my healing practice, I’d like to address in more detail the herbal protocol I use for protection during the changing seasons.