herbalism


#1

Is herbalism compatible with Catholicism?


#2

I would think so. Some of the earliest herb gardens were grown by Monks.

Kim


#3

By the Wiki’s definition, I don’t see there is anything wrong with using herbal for treatment. That is how my ancestors used to cure themselves, and in fact, many are still using it today.

Herbalism is a traditional medicinal or folk medicine practice based on the use of plants and plant extracts. Herbalism is also known as botanical medicine, medicinal botany[1], medical herbalism, herbal medicine, herbology, botanical medicine and phytotherapy. Sometimes the scope of herbal medicine is extended to include fungi and bee products, as well as minerals, shells and certain animal parts.


#4

The use of herbs for healing or prevention is fine. The use of herbs for mystical potions, spells etc. is not. In other words the question to be asked is are these being used as a benefit of the bounty of nature that God intended or are they being used to seek help outside of God? BTW home rememdies are not usually potions. I don’t want to imply that some age old family recipes may be potions. That would be like saying chicken is good for you but chicken soup is evil. lol
Take care
Dennis


#5

how does OP define herbalism? if it means use of herbal remedies it is fine if done by someone who knows what they are talking about. if it means quasi-religious beliefs and practices connected with herbs, there could be some conflict especially if herbalism in that context implies superstitious or magical uses for herbs.


#6

On a non-spiritual note I would also like to add that one should excersize great caution in working with herbs. You can kill yourself just as easily and painfully with herbs as you can with chemicals.


#7

The Church teaches us that we must be good stewards of the health of our bodies and not deliberately damage them. That would include taking the advice of reputable and qualified doctors rather than charlatans.

Taking echinacea for a few days when you have a cold will probably do you no harm if you’re otherwise healthy (though it won’t help you either). Taking herbs in preference to proven, standardised treatments of known composition, when you have a serious illness, is abuse of your body.

Of course it depends on the circumstances too. If you are an impoverished African peasant far from the nearest doctor, it may be justifiable to use traditional folk herbal medicines until you can get to see a doctor. Unfortunately the use of such herbs is usually tied up with shamanism and superstitions.


#8

The most High hath created medicines out of the earth, and a wise man will not abhor them. Ecclesiasticus 38:4 DRC


#9

Oh no, Peter. I get to argue with you again :slight_smile: Certainly, I agree that for some things you absolutely need pharmacuticals. Antibiotics come to mind. For other things, herbs can be the answer.

For example, I have rheumatoid arthritis. My doctor started me on ibuprophrin. Eventually I was up to 3200 milligrams a day and still in horrific pain and having stomach problems. Then she put me on Methaltraxate (spelling?) which, as you know, is an abortifactant. She made me promise that I wouldn’t get pregnant. This was at a Catholic clinic, too. There were some other medications in between, but they all did horrible things to my stomach.

Finally, I said enough. I’m tired of poisoning my body and not getting any results. I found Dr. Andrew Weil’s books. He recomended Feverfew and Ginger. Within a few weeks, I was in remission.

I do agree that you need to find qualified advice. It’s preferable to use a licensed Herbalist. Here, in America, that’s a little hard. Andrew Weil is an M.D. as well as an alternative physican, so I follow his work. Sometimes natural can be better.

Kim


#10

Herbs **are **pharmaceuticals. Anything which is potent enough to have a beneficial effect on the human body will necessarily also have some undesirable effects on the body.

For example, I have rheumatoid arthritis. My doctor started me on ibuprophrin. Eventually I was up to 3200 milligrams a day and still in horrific pain and having stomach problems. Then she put me on Methaltraxate (spelling?) which, as you know, is an abortifactant. She made me promise that I wouldn’t get pregnant. This was at a Catholic clinic, too.

No moral problem with that, as long as they checked that you weren’t pregnant before giving you the methotrexate, and as long as you didn’t use contraceptives.

There were some other medications in between, but they all did horrible things to my stomach.

Finally, I said enough. I’m tired of poisoning my body and not getting any results. I found Dr. Andrew Weil’s books. He recomended Feverfew and Ginger. Within a few weeks, I was in remission.

I do agree that you need to find qualified advice. It’s preferable to use a licensed Herbalist. Here, in America, that’s a little hard. Andrew Weil is an M.D. as well as an alternative physican, so I follow his work. Sometimes natural can be better.

Kim

Indeed. Many effective medicines come from natural sources, e.g. morphine, digoxin. These drugs are extracted, purified and standardised and tested and proven so that we know exactly what is in them, how they work and what side-effects to expect. On very rare occasions, it is necessary even for those with access to the best of health care, to use raw herbal products because there is no pure drug available. But if you think that using raw herbs (like opium and foxglove) which contain literally thousands of different chemicals in unknown proportions, instead of pure drugs (like morphine and digoxin respectively) you are very wrong and to follow this idea in treatment is to abuse your God-given body.

Btw rheumatoid arthritis is one of the diseases which quacks love, because it’s a chronic incurable relapsing-remitting disease. i.e. you’re likely to seek their treatment when the disease is at the worse end of its cycle, then when it inevitably improves as it heads towrds the remission part of its natural cycle, the quack will claim the improvement was because of his treatment. Just another version of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy really.


#11

Ah, yes. I agree with you on most of your points. Definately, most of the synthic drugs we use were orginally derived from natural sources and some still are. And, of course, just because something is natural, doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous.

I won’t argue that one needs to be very careful about herb use. I would never recomend to go pick your own w/out a qualified herbalist to guide you. And, of course Floxglove and Poppies along with many others are on the big NO,NO list. I care for young children so I would never grow floxglove at my home.

There are charalatins out there. That’s why I say look for qualified specialists. Unfortunately, in America it’s hard to find licensed practictioners. I wish we could be more like Germany and China in that alternative therapies are considered as valid as the medical profession…

I don’t have anything against traditional medicine. My son has Epilepsy and ADHD. I relay on traditional medicine to help him. I don’t know of any herbal preperation that would compare to Depakote, and even if I did, I wouldn’t risk his health.

I just think there is a place for natural medicine. I would like the practices to become regulated and licensed in the US. That way the fakes could be weeded out.

Oh, yeah, your comments about RA… I definately see where you are comming from, but it goes the other way as well. The disease stumps the medical profession all the time. When mine disappeared the Rhuematologist said, “hmm, either you are in remission, or you never had it”:eek:What!!! She refused to believe that herbs could have helped. Rather than admitt that the herbs worked, she would say she misdiognosed me. Sadly, a lot of paitents miss out on the benefits of alternative medicine because of this kind of attitude. It’s possible I’m in a long remission, 5 years now. Or maybe I swelled up and walked like Qusimodo because of something else. What bugs me is that she never doubted her dx until it cleared up. :shrug:

Kim


#12

Use of herbs is not intrinsically evil. But they can be used for evil. So as long as they are being used for something good and in way that doesn’t intentionally cause any harm they are fine. Herbs that are abortifacient or contraceptive have been declared evil and ought not to be used.


#13

I agree with MOST of what you say here too : try not to be too shocked! :wink:

Unfortunately like many people you see a division between “natural” and “traditional” therapies. There is no such division. The only division that matters is between therapies that have been proven to work and therapies which are at best unproven, are almost certainly useless and possibly dangerous. Reputable therapists use proven therapies. Not because they are “traditional” (they may be centuries old or brand-new) but because they are known to work through scientific evidence-based proof (not anecdotes).

And no the answer is not to make sure that the herbalist is “qualified”. Who gives him his qualifications? Other herbalists! who believe/push the same nonsense! He doesn’t get qualifications through testing according to objective scientific standards.

yes there are some things which even the best scientifically based medicine can’t treat or occasionally even diagnose correctly. I know, I have a chronic condition which has left half a dozen specialists in different specialities stumped for a diagnosis or an effective treatment. But this does not make me want to waste my time, money and possibly further damage my health by trying so-called “alternative” therapies.
(And yes before you ask, I have been praying to be cured and have asked for intercession from the appropriate patron saints. God seems to be telling me that I need to endure my condition as my “thorn in the flesh” in reparation for my sins and a reminder against the pride I am prone to.)

The only other thing I would add re the OP’s question about “herbalism”: Like all “isms” this can be and often is elevated to the status of an alternative superstitious religion which may cause spiritual damage by making its devotees “believe in” herbalism etc rather than true religion.

I don’t have anything further to add really as I don’t wish to rehash an endless debate on “alternative” therapies. You can find such a debate on old threads if you are interested.


#14

Nah. I’m finished too. This was a good discussion.

Kim


#15

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