Sunday, November 22, 2009
Day One of Galenical Menu-making~
As promised, ahead are 5 information packed days of pulling from the past history of herbals to bring us into today's understanding and usage of natures gifts.
There really are no rules in this project, read, respond, ask questions...whatever you feel like offering will be accepted in gratitude.
We will address Galenical Menu-making later in the week...but first a bit of history.
One of the earliest Chinese herbals-Shen Nong's Classic of Materia Medica dating from the first or second centuries A.D.-listed 365 healing remedies, most of them plants but including a few mineral and animal extracts.
The Greek physician Dioscorides, in first century A.D. writings, mentioned 400 herbs.
Today the list of plants with known medicinal properties is rather longer; about 5,800 in the Chinese Materia medica, 2,500 in India, at least 800 regularly collected from the tropical forests of Africa, 300 currently listed in the medical profession in Germany.
Western herbalist generally find that about 150 to 200 plants is more than enough to cope with most human ailments.
Herbs are defined as any plant that can be put to Culinary or Medicinal use and include those we associate with orthodox drugs, such as foxglove and opium poppy, as well as everyday plants such as garlic and sage.
The one truth that runs through the threads of ancient history is a non-separation of food and medicine.
One of the basic tenets of traditional healing is the belief that the cause of dis harmonies and "dis-ease" should be treated rather than the effects.
To have good health, one must be balanced in all functions of the body.
To be balanced, one must live in harmony with what nourishes our physical and spiritual bodies....food.
Origins Of Western Herbalism~
Egyptian papyri dating back to about 1700B.C. reads that many common herbs such as garlic and juniper, have been used medicinally for at least 4,000 years.
Hemp was used for eye problems just as it may be prescribed today for the treatment of glaucoma, and poppy extracts were used to quiet crying babies.
Hippocrates categorized all foods and herbs by fundamental qualities-Hot, cold, dry or damp. Good health was maintained by keeping qualities in balance, as well as taking plenty of exercise and fresh air.
The Greek model saw the world as composed of four elements; Earth, air, fire and water. These elements were related to the seasons, to four fundamental qualities, to four bodily fluids or humors, and to four temperaments. In almost all individuals, one humor was thought to dominate, affecting both personality and the likely health problems that would be suffered.
Tuesday we will look at the four fundamentals a bit closer.
Hot, Cold, Damp and Dry.~
Remember to leave a post to be entered into the prize drawing at the end of the week.
Have a great evening and a greater tomorrow~