~~In the last post, we discussed how the body is electrical in nature, and how standardized medical tests measure electrical energy of the brain, heart and muscles, and how modern Acupuncture uses measurements of energy on the hands and feet to analyze how the internal organ systems are working.
Now we will move into the Chemical composition of the body. This should be more familiar to a patient of Western Medicine; in fact, it may be the only one of the first 3 pillars of health some have ever heard of. In our culture, the body is viewed as a bag of chemicals with complex interactions. If anything breaks down in the body, add the missing chemical and speed up or slow down the reaction.
Pharmacology is the only form of treatment many in the United States and the industrialized world have ever used. The advances in Science many years ago gave us some miracle drugs like Penicillin, and the hope that more and better chemicals could save everyone who was sick. Now we see that the same drugs that worked so well, antibiotics, have been so overprescribed that there are now resistant strains of bacteria that nothing can fight off.
The TCM perspective, along with that of nutrition professionals is different regarding the chemical nature of the body. The view is that you must give the body the right building blocks through the food and drink, and if something does go wrong, look to herbal formulas to balance it out. There can be conditions of excess or deficiency, heat or cold, and pathogens can be external or internal. Infections are viewed as a heat toxin for example, and you would use cooling herbs that have antibacterial or antiviral properties.
Herbs are healing and cleansing, and are naturally occurring, usually from plants. They are extremely safe and effective, cause no side effects, and are not toxic like pharmaceuticals. Some formulas have been around for hundreds, and even thousands of years, and have good research to support them.
Most drugs have originally come from a plant, or at least have tried to mimic the action that plants have on the body by concentrating the active ingredients. The problem with that approach is that many times they are synthetic, and completely foreign to the body. They may be cheaper to mass produce in a lab, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are better.
All intelligent doctors, scientists, and scholars will agree that the best way to get the chemicals that your body needs is from good foods. In fact, if you could do that, you would not need drugs or herbs or supplements in most cases. If you already have a health problem, or are not eating the right foods, herbal formulas provide another option to treat chemical problems.