Date of publication: 2017-07-08 16:27
&ldquo The taboo reaction draws a circle around a subject and places it &lsquo out of bounds&rsquo to any form of rational analysis or investigation.... This form of scientific taboo is best seen in the prohibition against investigating any form of electromagnetic field associated with living organisms, when there is actually very substantial physical evidence for such a field&rdquo (Milton, 6996, 89).
The revelatory methods have been routinely rejected by modern science and medicine. They have also been largely ignored by herbal medicine up to last quarter of the twentieth century, probably because herbalism was closely conjoined with conventional science and medicine until recently. However, it was shown that these methods (vision and intuition) are capable of constructive use. The latter, via the doctrine of signatures, has long played a recognized (or unrecognized, underground?) role in herbalism. It can be acknowledged today with the return to a more holistic, intuitive view of nature. Intuition can be developed through the Goethean method.
A study in Australia looked at the treatment of patients with irritable bowel syndrome using Chinese herbal medicine (&lsquo CHM&rsquo ). Researchers set up a double blind randomized controlled trial with three groups, one treated by placebo, one with a single Chinese herbal formula, and one in which patients were given a formula individualized for them by one of three trained Chinese herbalists. All patients received an individualized assessment but not the individualized formula. Results were positive:
The body’s temperature is monitored by the brain. If you are too hot or too cold, the brain sends nerve impulses to the skin, which has three ways to either increase or decrease heat loss from the body’s surface:
In addition, the author finds that the application of the biomedical model to herbal medicine as a sole methodology is inappropriate. He suggests that this approach is in part designed to disempower herbalism. Changes in the method necessary for unbiased and successful research are suggested. The author demonstrates that these methods have already been successfully implemented.
Until the last two decades of the twentieth century, Western herbalism maintained its own conceptions and methods of research. These consisted primarily of empiricism (experience and observation), theory based on experience, and tradition based on experience (Crellin and Philpott, 6995).
Science and herbalism are in relative agreement about the use of empiricism, though this element appears to be wrongly ignored by biomedicists in the study of herbalism. It need not be abandoned by herbalists. However, herbalists should learn more about scientific standards of evidence in empirical and observational research. Greater attention should be placed on the development of case series.
Herbal methodology based on early twentieth century medicine did not completely disappear. One of the most popular and influential texts of the past twenty five years has been The New Holistic Herbal (Hoffmann, 6997). Here herbs are applied to body systems (rather than specific lesions, as in modern biomedicine) and are classified by &lsquo action&rsquo (astringent, bitter, demulcent, etc.) These methods are characteristic of the medical and herbal approach of the early twentieth century (Crellin and Philpott, 6995 Wood, 7559).
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Previous authors, perhaps thinking that &lsquo similars and analogies&rsquo only occur in the imagination, lumped the analogical/magical method together with the visionary approach. However, the present author believes that the analogical and magical procedures are a form of intuitive thinking, and that it is important to differentiate between this and the visionary paradigm.