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Natural Remedies In Indian Culture

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Abstract

India is notorious for their organic alternative medical system consisting of Ayurveda, Naturopathy, Unani, Yoga, Siddha and Homeopathy are a fundamental part of the tradition health care system in India from thousands of years. Due to their determined faith towards their spices, tea leaves and fruits, India was once a country with the lowest rate of cancer and other contemporary diseases. The purpose of this study is to analyze how organic alternative medicine has more of a positive outcome then more modern westernized medication. Through interview process, Dr. Rajiv Poduval an ex-military physician clarifies India’s division in medical system due to British policy interrupting Indian tradition with westernized health care systems. Thus, dividing the Ayurvedic system into organic treatment (Naturopathy) V.S. chemically engineered western medicine (Allopathy). As a result, each medication has its own way of healing and there has been good results in all systems and all have their own side effects, the solution to overall wellness is a healthy diet, awareness, and time.

India is prominent for their traditional natural remedies and authentic medicinal properties. Natural remedies in Indian culture has been a traditional medical solution that still holds its value as the best medicinal resource in the country. Natural remedies in India are divided in 4 different branches under their medicinal system: Homeopathy, Ayurvedic, Naturopathy, and Allopathy. Although the advancement of medical technology has developed to more modern treatments overtime due to the British policy marginalizing indigenous systems of medicine, a variety of natural remedies still substitute westernized medicine to keep the custom of the country and to reduce the harmful side effects of chemically engineered medication. As a result of these natural remedies, India is known to have one of the lowest rates of cancer in the world. These organic antidotes are part the fundamental institutions of Indian culture, as the medicinal properties are not only seen as conventional remedies, but part of their daily lives and cultural meals.

The ancient south Indian medical system is historically known for its organic curative properties. Ayurvedic medicine is one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems dating back to 3,000 years in the Indian culture. Ayurvedic is a Sanskrit word that means knowledge of life and longevity and is the root of all treatments. The legend behind this influential medicine is written in Sushruta’s Compendium, an ancient text by Sushruta, an ancient Indian physician. Sushrata wrote that the Hindu god Dhanvntari, that is the embodiment of Lord Vishnu, manifested himself as a king of Varanasi and educated a group of physicians, including Sushruta, on medicine and surgical techniques such as, rhinoplasty, kidney stone extraction, sutures, and the extraction of external objects. The earliest work of Sanskrit on Ayurvedic therapies is distributed into eight components: General medicine and medicine of the body, pediatric treatment, surgical techniques, treatment of ailments affecting ears, eyes, nose, mouth, pacification of possessing spirits, toxicology, rejuvenation, and treatment of sexual pleasure. Ayurveda has various medicinal properties from a combination of products derived from plants and minerals. It also includes dieting habits, exercises, and the individual’s lifestyle.

Another kind of classical treatment under the Ayurvedic method is naturopathy, which is medicine that focuses on the healing power of nature. The practice of naturopathy includes manipulative therapy, yoga, botanical medicine, acupuncture, and counseling. However, naturopathy is primarily based on self-healing, thus the physician’s purpose in this self-healing process is to identify and discharge obstacles that might slow down the healing process, and to also augment the curing of the patient’s health. Naturopathic physicians adhere to a basic guideline to avoid any potential harm towards the patient. The guideline includes: the use and methods of curative substances that can minimize the risk injurious side effects, diagnosing and treating with passivity, and maintain awareness, consideration and endeavor with the client in the self-healing process. The guideline assists the physician in treating patients by taking into consideration the patient’s mental, physical, emotional, genetic, and environmental factors that can could cause an issue in the patience health and to also making the curing process smoother. Physicians also use their naturopathic practices towards their specialty which most commonly focuses on environmental medicine, Gastroenterology, Endocrinology, Oncology, Parental Therapies, and even Psychiatry. The main goal of this category of medicine is to treat the person as a whole; eliminating any possible harm the illness could have done to completely heal the patient.

Homeopathy is another popular form of alternative medicine yet not so liked by the ill patients due to its practice of placebo effect. The first cure of homeopathy is “like cures like” which are remedies that cause the symptoms one would want to cure. Such as the belladona plant which causes fever to cure a fever, or the American way would be to “sweat out” a fever since fever increases body temperature. This causes the condition to be canceled out of the body as if the illness is fighting itself. The second fundamental cure through homeopathy is potentization, the idea of potentization is that diluting the components of the illness with alcohol or distilled water activates the component’s curative powers and enhances the effect. Homeopathic doctors take one part of the component of the sickness and mix it with nine parts of water diluting it down to one tenth of its original concentration and aggressively shaking it until the compound is mixed in with the water. The processes repeats until one has reached the desired potency of the medication. The finished product is sometimes taken orally or as sugar pellets sold as a drug. However, potentization is one of the biggest criticisms of homeopathy, because most homeopathic remedies are diluted so much not a single fragment is active in the dilution. From its conventional time, homeopathy became one of the most successful alternative medicine because of its strict measures of dieting. While using homeopathic treatment one must avoid coffee, tea, alcohol, spicy food, sweets, cheese, onion, and meat. No clothes made from sheep’s wool and the patient must be a warm room temperature and cannot be sexually active in anyway. Unfortunately, it was very difficult for people to keep their strict diet and after years of study we now know that homeopathy does not have any effect beyond placebo. Ironically enough, this kind of medication still showed results in curing certain illnesses and if people believe that something will help them feel better, their trust and faith is what powers them to have the desired effect. Some critics even argue that the homeopathic industry is bad for public health because it creates distrust in proven medicine; this correlates with skepticism about vaccinations this can discourage people to seek the help they need when their lives are at stake. As a result, the most powerful tool of homeopathy is time; homeopathics have come to the terms that our bodies are weapons of survival and with time all can be healed.

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Though there are many naturally remedies to heal certain illness, over the years as illnesses worsen, medication is becoming more developed. Originally from Germany, allopathy is an alternative medicine mixed with western modernized medicine. Since the world is modernizing and has come to a new age where cancer is very common. Cancer was not a known disease in India, in fact according to India Against Cancer (2019) the estimated number of people living with cancer is approximately 2.25 million and 784,821 cancer related deaths every year. As western modernization expands with the growth of phenomenon like cigarette smoking, also with the cause of heavy pollution, as a result of this cancer has reached a higher rate in India thus creating chemically engineered medicine known as allopathy. Allopathic medicine aims to fight diseases using drugs or surgical remedies. Other examples would be chemotherapy, radiation therapy, clinical diagnosis, testing and sometimes minor surgeries. Allopathic medication is the pills and modern scientific systems of medicine such as pharmacological variables or physical interventions to treat and suppress symptoms of diseases. Although allopathic medication benefits present-day diseases, it also has a lot of harmful side effects due to its use of drugs and chemical modifications. Like most westernized medication, the medication reliefs a person of their condition instantly and makes people dependent to keep taking the drug. The chemicals in these remedies then link to other illness and has side effects such as stomach discomfort, nausea, and problems with digestion.

Most of the success of India’s medical system and overall health is due to its in its land’s spices. India’s soil is enriched with minerals and different properties of herbs and spices that are used to enrich their meals and for healing purposes. The spice market in Dehli, India is the largest wholesale spice market in Asia selling various spices, nuts, herbs, teas and rice by the ton. These spices are in the streets of Khari Baoli where people shop for spices and commercial goods making it crowded with traders and vendors looking to sells their organic goods. The market consists of India’s assorted spices and giant bags where they are distributed all over Asia and some parts of the world. Most of these spices are said to be used not only for cooking but healing as well. Many of these species are active ingredients to the heal common detrimental illnesses. Especially with their infamous selection of teas that vary in health properties under naturopathy and homeopathy and cures headaches, sleep defeciancy, diabetes, and aids digestive issues which also helps with weight loss. This market is largest food market and organic pharmacy in northern India.

In my journey in search of India’s health system, I interviewed Rajiv Poduval, an ex- military physician from the south Indian state of Kerala; where he was primarily educated on the Ayurvedic pharmacology and its natural remedies. Poduval shares the secrets of the best natural remedies that heal most of the issues in the human body. He discusses with me the very famous spices that cure physical and mental illness and increase people’s health. One of the most important spices Poduval specifies is Turmeric which is known as the Indian Saffron or the golden spice. Turmeric is a very common and important spice in India which is consumed in teas, traditional dishes and their infamous curry powder. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which has effective biological properties. This powerful plant is commonly grown wild in the soil of India which is why it is one of the oldest forms of treatments in the Ayurvedic system. It is said to treat cancer, Alzheimer’s, allergies, heart diseases; and is a very strong antioxidant and advances brain functions. It also enhances treatment for inflammation, chronic pain, skin diseases, wounds, digestive ailments and liver conditions. Other conventional spices that are factors in the success of Ayurvedic medicine are cumin seeds for stomach ache, aids digestion, and flushes toxins out of the body and can be consumed as a whole seed, grounded into powder, or roasted; Poduval however, states that the best results is when it is boiled and consumed as a tea. Nutmeg mixed with warm milk is used as a natural sleep aid, stimulates appetite and digestion. It is also made into an essential oil and due to its warming aroma, its used to treat fevers, respiratory problems, headaches, and detoxifies.

Poduval also reveals home remedies that treat life threatening diseases. Sapindus tifolatus, known as Soapberries, is an herb from the lychee family derived from an evergreen tree located in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and east Asia. If boiled and mixed with coconut oil is used to heal skin diseases like acne and eczema and treats diabetes and obesity. However, just as most western medicine, sapindus trifolatus is harmful towards women that are pregnant. This caused this medicinal fruit to also be a method of abortion in rare cases. Poduval also shares some secrets of the treatment of most sour foods that are used to relief pain. Drumstick is another vegetable plant that is boiled and consumed, making it a natural alleviator to relieve arthritis pain. He explains that this home remedy is actually very common and was even used while he was in combat. Okra is another important vegetable which is cut into slices and soaked overnight and drink in the morning; okra is said to reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, levels cholesterol. Yet nothing beats the benefits of bitter gourd, or bitter melon, a very popular fruit widely grown in Asia. Podval states that bitter gourd can be drunk daily, one glass in the morning on an empty stomach gets rid of all diseases. Bitter gourd is very prominent for its medicinal properties; it improves respiratory health, reduces blood sugar levels, boosts skin health, and contains a natural imitational compound of insulin, polypeptide, which is an anti-diabetic.

Through the various methods that were presented I asked Rajiv Poduval which would be considered the best kind of medical system. Poduval suggested that naturapathy may be the best kind of remedy. However, each medication has its own method of healing and there has been positive and negative results in all systems. My search for a method in healing was inspired by the diseases my family and I have acquired after moving to the United States and the difficulties of finding a cure to heal ailments such as diabetes, chronic gastritis, arthritis, and cancer. Correspondingly, with the right diet, sticking to our organic traditions, and with time all sicknesses can be healed.

Reference

  1. Definition of Naturopathic Medicine. (n.d.). Retrieved February 02, 2019, from https://www.naturopathic.org/content.asp?contentid=59
  2. U.S. Department and Human Services. (2019, January 14). Ayurvedic Medicine: In Depth. Retrieved February 2, 2019, from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/ayurveda/introduction.htm
  3. Cancer Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved February 01, 2019, from http://cancerindia.org.in/cancer-statistics/
  4. LD, M. W. (2018, May 24). Turmeric: Benefits and nutrition. Retrieved February 02, 2019, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/306981.php
  5. Marjana, R. S., & Franks, S. F. (2018). Efficacy of curcumin for age-associated cognitive decline: A narrative review of preclinical and clinical studies.GeroScience, 40(2), 73-95. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11357-018-0017-z
  6. Cancer Statistics. (2019, February 16). Retrieved February 20, 2019, from http://cancerindia.org.in/cancer-statistics/
  7. Roy, V. (2015, January). Time to sensitize medical graduates to the Indian Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy. Retrieved February 20, 2019, from http://repository.ias.ac.in/18688/1/337.pdf
  8. Savita Rajurkar, MD, PhD, ND (India). (2019). Retrieved February 02, 2019, from https://nunm.edu/faculty/savita-rajurkar-phd-nd-mdam/
  9. Jarvis, W. T., Ph.D. (2000, December 1). Misuse of the Term ‘Allopathy’. Retrieved February 20, 2019, from https://www.ncahf.org/articles/a-b/allopathy.html

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Natural Remedies In Indian Culture. (2021, August 26). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 5, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/natural-remedies-in-indian-culture/
“Natural Remedies In Indian Culture.” Edubirdie, 26 Aug. 2021, edubirdie.com/examples/natural-remedies-in-indian-culture/
Natural Remedies In Indian Culture. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/natural-remedies-in-indian-culture/> [Accessed 5 Dec. 2022].
Natural Remedies In Indian Culture [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Aug 26 [cited 2022 Dec 5]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/natural-remedies-in-indian-culture/
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