Two Earth Day Realities: One in Schoolbooks and another at Home

By Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya

For decades, ayurvedic physicians have clamored for attention from the mainstream of medicine, stammered about the value of their medical system, how it should competitively run parallel to the allopathic mainstream, and not be misnamed an alternative medical system.

The common layperson was led to believe there is no evidence for Ayurveda and other AYUSH medical systems, and that all treatment benefits are anecdotal. In school, all texts declared that only real medicine is proven. Evidence-based medicine, scientific approaches, and data pummeled any talk of miracle cures or unstandardized herbal formulations. Those who used them at home remained quiet and embarrassed to discuss the folklore of ancient medicines.

But the real data and real evidence have been ignored. Abundant data show clinical evidence for herbal formulations. Molecules have been isolated. Patients have been tracked. Treatments are handed down for thousands of years by families uninterrupted because they worked still work. Abundant data also show that modern medical treatments as the third leading cause of death in the USA. Side effects are normalized. Epidemiologists are repeatedly telling the world that big data projects, such as randomized clinical trials (RCTs) show small benefits and highlight statistical illusions that really do not reflect great benefit for patients, either by cost, efficacy, or science. The prohibitive costs are dismissed. Researchers who hunted down the data on modern medicine also found that of over 3000 standard treatments provided in modern medicine, only 18 percent are evidence-based.

The hypocrisy however is only apparent to those who have grown up with two realities, one at home; practiced by culturally rich elders and deeply-rooted communities; and another in schoolbooks, the ones we have to memorize to excel in mainstream society. Those who do well in school are the ones who swallow the knowledge and do not question it critically. They just pass the exams and jump through the hoops of what they are told. Those who question the books and instinctively are unable to grasp the material are considered dull and academically weak. They cannot get into prestigious colleges and are deemed less bright.

But the dimness saved them from learning false history. Most history in schoolbooks belongs to the narrative of the conqueror, not the people. When we do not learn the reality of an event, but only the version that is convenient for society, we are blind. These dim academic types are often the ones creating large changes in society for the benefit of real people. They are resurrecting home remedies and innovative solutions to age-old health problems.

Ayurveda has struggled with this narrative for nearly 200 years, pressed into the mud by clean concrete factories producing shiny white pills while laser surgeries and plastic PPE gleamed above. The organic seeds of real cures produced by Mother Nature are beginning to sprout again and break the soil.

The pandemic has shown that those who sneered at ancient cures for respiratory and gut disorders are the ones who suffered the most. Those who used their herbal kwaths, homeopathic remedies, bhasmas, or ayurvedic approaches to nutrition kept their guts clean and their health and immunity strong.

Engineers and physicians that continue to puppet the biomedical hegemony that says that Ayush medicines have no evidence will soon be left behind. They need to learn to use the tools of modern science and technology to see that herbs work, but according to a different mathematical system than that of modern medicine. Herbs work according to the multidisciplinary system of nature.  The great nanotechnologists are the trees, and the scientists of today are learning to bow in awe and help the flora and fauna, rather than decimating it.

The true meanings of Earth Day are finally coming into action. We are learning to see the ecosystem, to sustainably and ecologically use the environment to heal ourselves, and to heal others in the precious, resilient but abused ecosystem of nature that is Earth.

Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya

Images courtesy of (Image Courtesy: ET Health World) and Provided

Share this post