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Indian Traditional Medicines

You might be skeptical in trying folk remedies, but in truth, this is actually the basis of modern medicine. For thousands of years people have relied on plants to cure diseases or treat afflictions, now pharmaceutical companies just use concentrated extracts to produce the same effects. The World Health Organization describes traditional medicine as the [...]

You might be skeptical in trying folk remedies, but in truth, this is actually the basis of modern medicine. For thousands of years people have relied on plants to cure diseases or treat afflictions, now pharmaceutical companies just use concentrated extracts to produce the same effects.

The World Health Organization describes traditional medicine as the “sum total of the knowledge, skill, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness”.

Amlaki (or Indian gooseberry) is a sacred Hindu tree, believed to house Vishnu, one of the most important deities. The fruit, round, light green, offers a combination of flavors – sweet, sour, pungent and bitter. All parts of the plant are used, including seed, leaves, root, bark, and flowers. A comparative study found that Amla contained the highest concentration of antioxidants among the 278 fruits and 303 vegetables examined.

Vitamin B15 or Pangamic acid is a controversial compound that claims to treat a number of health issues, including alcoholism, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease etc. It can found in a number of seeds (apricot, pumpkin, sunflower), rice or brewer’s yeast. It must be mentioned that the FDA does not recognize it as having health benefits.

Amygdalin, also known as Laetrile or vitamin b17, is a natural chemical contained by many seeds (apricot, almond, apple, peach, plum). It has been promoted as an alternative cancer treatment supplement, though there is no actual scientific data to support this claim.

Particularly popular in India and China, Gotu Kola is a plant used both in cooking and for medicine. Daoist master and herbalist Li Ching-Yuen, who reportedly lived between 197 and 258 years, supposedly took it daily and was the secret for his longevity. While those claims have not been proven, there is some evidence that it can help with circulation and digestive problems.

As a final note, while traditional medicine does have some merit, it should not be taken as a substitute for modern medicine, but rather as a complementary approach.

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