Return to the Herbalism Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Hippocrates

Posted by silversword 9A (My Page) on
Thu, Jan 29, 09 at 13:47

Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine (460-357 BC), said

"Nature cures, not the physician."

He also advocated:

"Your food shall be your medicine."


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Hippocrates

That was a pretty realistic view for 400 B.C. and extending for many years later. Effective drugs were rare, surgery was crude and killed more than it saved, and epidemics of plague and infectious disease ran rampant without benefit of knowledge of hygiene, vaccination and antibiotics. It probably wasn't until at least the late 1800s that people consistently could expect a better outcome from seeing a physician than doing without.

I doubt that too many people nowadays would want to return to the state of medicine that existed in 400 B.C.


 o
RE: Hippocrates

Hippocrates held the belief that the body must be treated as a whole and not just a series of parts. He accurately described disease symptoms and was the first physician to accurately describe the symptoms of pneumonia, as well as epilepsy in children. He believed in the natural healing process of rest, a good diet, fresh air and cleanliness.

He noted that there were individual differences in the severity of disease symptoms and that some individuals were better able to cope with their disease and illness than others. He was also the first physician that held the belief that thoughts, ideas, and feelings come from the brain and not the heart as others of him time believed.

He separated the discipline of medicine from religion, believing and arguing that disease was not a punishment inflicted by the gods but rather the product of environmental factors, diet and living habits.

In general, the Hippocratic medicine was very kind to the patient; treatment was gentle, and emphasized keeping the patient clean and sterile.


 o
RE: Hippocrates

None of those traits that you described for hypocritise are traits that a modern physician would not share, they think about the effects of antibiotics on the kidneys when they treat an infection in an arm.

However he still didn't have the treatments we have now, and if he did he probably would have used them, because he was a fan of his patients living.

A modern practice that would have been out of character for him would have been supplementation, in fact he probably would have written off most of alternative medicine, and stuck to herbs that have evidence for them.


 o
RE: Hippocrates

As mentioned, gentle or "passive" treatment was a good idea at a time when disease was very poorly understood and "active" therapies were more likely to hurt than help the patient.

Hippocrates also gets credit for emphasizing professional standards for medical practitioners.

Still, I think you'd have to acknowledge that while Hippocrates and his followers deemphasized superstition about health, their own ideas were primitive:

"The Hippocratic school held that all illness was the result of an imbalance in the body of the four humours, fluids which in health were naturally equal in proportion (pepsis). When the four humours, blood, black bile, yellow bile and phlegm, were not in balance (dyscrasia, meaning "bad mixture"), a person would become sick and remain that way until the balance was somehow restored. Hippocratic therapy was directed towards restoring this balance."

By the way, if you're going to quote a source, it's good form to indicate what that source is. Much of your previous post about Hippocrates appears to have been taken nearly verbatim from this site.


 o
RE: Hippocrates

I agree that our food is our medicine, however it also seems to sometimes be our poison. If one is to be healthy IMO one needs to eliminate as many foods as possible from the diet which do not add to one's health.

Many times I've avoided going to the Dr. for symptoms which may cause others to go for a prescription. Seldom has my body not healed itself using common sense and good diet (and sometimes essential oils). Of course maybe I've just been "lucky" but I really don't believe in luck, in spite of my forum name. I've often thot that if I had taken an Rx I would have credited that with my "cure" rather than my body healing itself without pharmaceutical intervention.


 o
RE: Hippocrates

Still, I think you'd have to acknowledge that while Hippocrates and his followers deemphasized superstition about health, their own ideas were primitive:

"The Hippocratic school held that all illness was the result of an imbalance in the body of the four humours, fluids which in health were naturally equal in proportion (pepsis). When the four humours, blood, black bile, yellow bile and phlegm, were not in balance (dyscrasia, meaning "bad mixture"), a person would become sick and remain that way until the balance was somehow restored. Hippocratic therapy was directed towards restoring this balance."

I don't think the idea of imbalances in the body is at all primitive.

His ideas seemed quite sophisticated to me, and rather similar to those of Chinese medicine. There are to this day conditions that are better treated by Chinese than Western medicine; it is more wholistic and intuitive.

Additionally, the theory of the four humors is probably linked with the theory of the four elements, one of the cornerstones of Western symbology: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, which repeat three times in the astrological symbol of the Zodiac. They can refer to the mental as well as the physical, and anyone familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality inventory (or Jung's Thinking, Feeling, Sensing, and Intuition personality types) will see the connection.

There is more in the Universe than is dreampt in your philosophy...

:o)

...Wasn't it Hippocrates that said, 'First, do no harm?'

There are many ways to harm. Some will try to take away a person's faith, without realizing that can at times be one form.


 o
RE: Hippocrates

Besides the idea of an inbalance of "four humours" being unfounded, it also led to less than optimal medical treatments that existed for many hundreds of years. The Hippocratic method of supplying or removing "opposing humors" to treat alleged imbalances was carried on by many others, including the use of bloodletting and purging, which undoubtedly killed many unfortunate patients.

Not exactly a "gentle" form of therapy to wax nostalgic about.


 o
RE: Hippocrates

"Besides the idea of an inbalance of "four humours" being unfounded, it also led to less than optimal medical treatments that existed for many hundreds of years. The Hippocratic method of supplying or removing "opposing humors" to treat alleged imbalances was carried on by many others, including the use of bloodletting and purging, which undoubtedly killed many unfortunate patients.
Not exactly a "gentle" form of therapy to wax nostalgic about."

As far as I can see, hormone therapy remains in its infancy today, and I haven't heard of any fully effective Western methods to cause many of the internal organs to secrete what they are supposed to secrete if they malfunction. Heavy-handed, destructive methods are applied, it seems to me.

It always fascinates me how those that have not even grasped the best of the teachings of their own present-time world are yet able to assume such a facile superiority toward the greats of bygone days, who not only did not have a supportive mesh of equipment to support their endeavors, but in many cases laid the groundworks for what these scoffers inherited with little or no improvement made by themselves...contraction, rather, from the wholistic visions of the past.

:o(


 o
RE: Hippocrates

There may yet be someone out there in tune with the "wholistic visions of the past" who has not gone along with the "contraction" of knowledge you postulate, and is willing to practice bloodletting on patients with myocardial infarction or stroke, or attempt to balance black bile and phlegm for ruptured diverticulitis.

Just gimme that old-time religion. :)


 o
RE: Hippocrates

Over 2400 years ago Hippocrates changed the face of medicine and healing. Even with our advanced technology today his work is still relevant. Hippocrates favored the use of diet and exercise as cures but realized that some people, unable to follow such directions, would need medicine. His writings teach that physical handling could cure some physical troubles, like a dislocated hip, by the doctor moving it back into place.

On the biomedical methodology side, his writings provide the most detailed biomedical observations to date in the Western world. They also offer causal speculations that can be knitted together to form a theoretical framework for diagnosis and treatment. On the ethical side, their code of professional ethics is so well structured that it continues to stand as a model for other professions.

The most historically prominent theoretical scheme of the Coan writers was the doctrine of the four humors of the body: blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile (or sometimes serum). Health was defined as the balance of the four humors. Disease was defined as the imbalance of the humors. When imbalance occurred, then the physician might intervene by making a correction to bring the body back into balance. For example, if the individual were too full of phlegm (making her phlegmatic or lethargic), then the phlegm must be countered. Citrus fruit was thought to be a counter-acting agent. Thus, if one feels lethargic, increasing one's citrus intake will re-create balance. The treatment is, in fact, generally effective. Moderns might describe the therapy differently by ascribing the effect to vitamin-C, phosphorus, and natural sugar. This example illustrates the scope of the Hippocratic physician in this context: something like a cross between the modern roles of an herbalist dietician and a personal trainer. Nonetheless, the cures that were dictated by the four humor theory seemed to work well enough for this theory to extend to the nineteenth century (in various guises).

Here is a link that might be useful: Hippocrates


 o
RE: Hippocrates

So, are you saying that herbs should be taken in the context of the Hippocratic theories of humoral imbalance, as opposed to accurate modern knowledge of how they function?

P.S. If you're quoting an article, it still needs to go in quotes in addition to the link being cited.


 o
RE: Hippocrates

I'm referring to Hippocrates and his opinions on herbalism and medicine.


 o
RE: Hippocrates

Disease (or illease) is a result of imbalance. It takes the body a long time to get out of balance to the point where the "illease" finally manifests. Why anyone would think that we can swing the body/mind/spirit back into balance in an instant--particularly via herbs, many of whose actions are simply to aid in creating an environment for the body to find its rhythm again-- is beyond me. While modern medicine can perhaps stop the wild swing of an imbalance it doesn't necessarily create balance. Hippocrates realized this, eg., his humours theory & wholistic approach. Bringing the body back into balance isn't doing ONE thing. It could be a hundred-- at thousand--minute steps using our natural resources as well as techno interventions. And it is frequently argued that true balance can never be achieved because at the moment of apex, we are already out of balance again, so it is always on-going and rooted in self-awareness. Well-living or living wellness is LIFESTYLE. There are a lot of people I know I cannot help because they are not willing to make the commitment to the changes necessary to "shorten" or "even out" the swings of their imbalances. And when that become apparent, I tell them that because I don't want to give them false hope (I'm not selling snake oil) & frankly, I don't want to waste my time anymore either. We are each individually responsible for our lives & how we live them. When you put that onus on me as an herbalist or on the medical community or your spiritual advisor or anywhere other than on yourself, wittingly or unwittingly, you are denying yourself the most fundamental power for a balanced life that you have. Will I help you if I can-- yes, absolutely. I am as innately driven to help you as you are to survive. CAN I help you, though-- will depend as much on you as it does on me (or any provider). It's a shame that most people come to that realization when the survival instinct has kicked in because the body/mind/spirit's in desperate shape. (I am no different)-- but that seems to be part of humanity as well. We're dense. There's a lot of unused brain still up there. Luckily, we're still evolving. Maybe towards extinction, but...


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Herbalism Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here