Posts Tagged “ayurveda”

It’s fashionable these days to knock conventional medicine (also known by the adjectives “western,” “occidental,” or “allopathic” — I think a better description is “evidence-based”). People love to spout tired canards like “it doesn’t treat the whole person,” as if that makes any sense … ever seen a conventional doctor cure a broken leg by amputating it, knitting the bone together, then reattaching it? “Alternative” medicine is supposed to be “better” because it’s “ancient,” as if age were a credential. It’s not … infections were deadly, even if treated with poultices, blood-letting, or other “ancient” remedies, for millennia until conventional medicine discovered antibiotics. And people love to whine about how toxic pharmaceuticals are, how the side-effects are so horrible, etc.

Well, I’ve got news for some of you. A lot of those “natural” medicines are just as dangerous, if not moreso! In particular, ayurvedic remedies have been found to be toxic:

Ayurvedic medicines — herbal mixtures dating back thousands of years in India and increasingly popular in the West — are frequently contaminated with lead, mercury or arsenic, according to a study published today.

A fifth of the nearly 200 concoctions tested contained levels of the toxic metals that, if taken at the maximum recommended doses, would surpass California’s safety guidelines.

Dr. Robert Saper, a Boston University professor of family medicine who led the study, said the findings should spur the Food and Drug Administration to start clamping down on the largely unregulated world of pills, herbs and powders classified as dietary supplements.

“It shouldn’t be me trying to figure this out,” Saper said.

Ayurveda is a traditional Indian practice that takes a holistic approach to wellness, employing herbal medicine, meditation and exercise to promote good health. It exists alongside modern medicine in India, with its own network of clinics, hospitals and colleges serving hundreds of millions of patients.

It has spread to the U.S. and Europe with the migration of South Asians around the world and been popularized by figures such as bestselling author Deepak Chopra.

Pardon me if I pass on these wonderfully natural, “holistic” medicines. And remember … poison ivy is “all natural” too, but I doubt you’d want to rub it on a wound.

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