Ancient Wisdom Passed Down: Is it all Fact or Fallacy?
What is your opinion about insights from the past? Superstitious mumbo-jumbo, or insightful wisdom?
Here, let’s learn to cherry-pick the wisdom of the ancients for what science may inadvertently miss today.
Current societal prejudice teaches us to ignore the past and believe only what science tells us. Yet the more science investigates what the “ancients” knew, and what the “wives” did, the more they find veracity in ancient wisdom and common sense.
Ancient practices and wives’ tales provide an important basis for a deeper understanding of how to be healthy. They are often reflected of deep nutritional truths.
Ancient Wisdom: Laughing at Humour?
Before we discredit old beliefs such as the humours, red-sky-in-the-morning-sailor-take-warning, lime in the coconut, honey for stings and wounds, count your blessings, and chicken soup, let’s understand how they know something valuable – even more than science.
We might fare better to cast our jaundiced eye (bile—choleric humour) at the medical history of poisoning people with arsenic and mercury enemas. Vioxx, anyone?
Science and modern medicine first laughed at folk remedies before admitting their wisdom. They labeled them as primitive, ineffective, superstitious, and even dangerous. After all, what could “the wives” possibly know? They were banned from attending medical school?
Ancient Wisdom: Leaches Are Peachy.
Take slimy leaches for example. Leaches saved lives and limbs. Science validates that leeches inject an anticoagulant, hirudin, to ensure the tasty flow of blood. Hirudin, a complex natural compound, works exceedingly well in local applications without side-effects. Today’s science has yet to duplicate its efficacy or safety.
Maggots Snag It.
We think, “Ewww” to a maggot’s curettage ability to remove diseased tissue while leaving healthy tissue alone. Modern surgical theaters, computer-guided lasers, and magnification are hard-pressed to score even 85% effectiveness compared to what the humble fly larva accomplishes.
Nature has high standards and brilliant adaptations.
This is important in light of George Santayana’s quote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Or in this case, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to make new mistakes.” Mistakes we can’t afford.
Today’s modern trend is to trust science implicitly. Alarmingly so. Blindly so. Even dangerously so. This message is “not so fast, please, lest we through the baby out with the bathwater.”
Today, we are amok with contrived scientific studies, subterfuge, and wool-pulling with scientific studies where their conclusions were specified at the onset, not discovered as scientific truth. Whistleblowers are lining up to purge their guilty consciences for skewing data about pesticides, herbicides, and drug safety.
Science is on the razor’s edge of responsibility. With advanced technologies—CRISPR gene splicing, nanoparticles, superbugs, and climate manipulations—humanity needs full vision and broad perspective. Not deliberate exclusion of common sense.
Without a perspective of history and natural health principles, science is a horse wearing blinders, a handmaid wearing “wings”—a bonnet that blocks peripheral vision. Science becomes blinded to Nature’s truth that mastering a molecule in a test tube is not the same as how the body employs that molecules.
Studies are often short-sighted. Correcting blood lab values with a synthetic vitamin is not the same as improving health. It’s just a safer drug.
Ancient Wisdom: Pied Piper Science
So why do people today follow Science where ever the corporations want to lead us? Is it because we equate technology with science?
Technology is rapidly changing the world: how we think, play, and make a living. It’s difficult to live a day without gratitude for what technology brings to our standard of living. All hail technology.
If we were to apply nature’s precedents—the precedents that the ancients respected, we might ask, “Technology—At what cost to health?” Then great scientists might create a flexible plastic that does not poison the oceans and disrupt human hormones. We might get a non-stick skillet without Teflon’s toxic impact. We might get a carpet without neurotoxins.
To honor health, humanity requires unbiased science about 5G wireless technology, genetically-modified foods, hydroponics, and the impact of vxxxxne adjuxxxxs (can’t even say the “v” word anymore with prejudiced censorship) on the brain. Voldemort!
Science provides us with astounding insights into cellular health, cell membranes, epigenetics, DNA, cell longevity, and microbiomes. Knowledge and new understandings are rocking the health world.
Ancient Wisdom: Model For Health
A good place to start is with the Ancient Wisdom. Then, see what today’s Science reveals. THEN, make decisions about applying the insights safely and correctly.
This is particularly important for our nutritional health. Science brings us new and improved standards. What feeds our gut-microbiome and cells is now foundational to our health.
To hammer the point, our health is foundational to our life experience, joy, longevity, and fulfillment. It’s foundational to future generations—socially, economically, and personally.
Science has a dubious track record—actually that’s to be expected. The 1980’s scientific “healthy heart diet” of grains and carbs launched more obesity and metabolic syndrome than any program to date.
Margarine instead of butter? We smugly laughed at our science “fooling Mother Nature” while arteries and brains became more inflamed with trans-fats.
Now fake meat is touted as humane and necessary to feed a hungry world. The true cost is more pesticides, lower quality of food molecules, and loss of biodiversity in agriculture.
Seems we all need a set of precedents to guide us. There are too many misleading corporate-sponsored, studies.
When did trustworthy science become so dishonest?
Let’s look at some ancient wisdom and create a basis for human nutrition and health. Right here in the Nourishment category of QuirkyHealthTips.
The ancients didn’t have the internet and cell phones, but they were plenty smart. Four-hundred years ago, they did not have microscopes to peek at wee-beasties, but they had many effective health practices.
Of course, they had their challenges too – sanitation was a big one to Europeans as they turned cities into dung heaps and endured plagues. But not the ancient Arabs who were pioneers of sanitation and cleanliness.
The ancient Romans built roads and aqueducts to last 1500 years. Today’s road construction can’t keep the potholes away. But the Romans also used toxic lead for water pipes.
The ancient Aztecs performed brain surgery. They also restricted chocolate—a great biohack for PMS, now proven by science. Of course, human sacrifice is a bit undesirable (though one might think of suggesting a few volunteers.)
Ancient Persian algebra set the stage for winged flight. Then King Darius met Alexander, and Xerxes met Leonidas. But they did invent the fountain pen—so much mightier than the sword.
All cultures exhibit great glories as well as feet of clay. We can learn from both. The best culture can do is to make a noble effort to learn from the past and try to avoid mistakes. In natural health, our plea is to do just that.
Ancient Wisdom: Old Wives’ Tale? Really?
Can you see how the term “Wives’ Tale” denigrates women as being occupied with useless and trivial matters?
A comeuppance today? Give befuddled men the job of rubbing ice chips on “the wife’s” arm during childbirth.
There’s double joy in exonerating the wisdom of wives’ tales. In fact, if we think about it, it’s “husbands’ tales” that have more doubtful veracity. “That fish that got away was thiiiisss big.”
- Chicken Soup. Science used to laugh at “mum’s chicken soup” as a panacea for colds and flu. Modern medicine quickly labeled it a “wives’ tale” to promote antibiotics.
In October 2000, The American College Of Chest Physicians wrote:
“Chicken soup may contain a number of substances with beneficial medicinal activity including an anti-inflammatory mechanism that could ease the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections.” Kudos to science for allowing us to accept what we already knew was true.
Ancient Wisdom: Herbs Ridiculed
Science used to poo-poo herbs as superstitious trifles—mere flavorings for chicken soup of no therapeutic value. Now, the herbal research is so compelling—proven effective—there’s an on-going pharmacological witch-hunt to denigrate herbs. Herbs are de facto acknowledged as the superior competitors to many drugs.
We’re not supposed to know that 80% of all prescription drugs are synthetic isolates of molecules found in herbs. Problem is, without the whole-herb synergists, buffers, and balancers; drugs cause unwanted side effects and fail to elicit curative responses from the body. Nature makes it better. Those witchy-women were right all along.
- Heartburn during pregnancy points to a hairy baby. This old midwives’ tale is proven true by science at John Hopkins University. Obviously, bald baby’s mums did not eat enough jalapeño poppers.
- Tough labor reveals the likelihood of a male baby. Another midwives’ tale is that a long, difficult labor indicates the likelihood of a boy baby. Today scientific statistics reveal that male babies are larger and heavier. Like waiting for the TV meteorologist to tell us that it’s raining outside.
- Apple-A-Day Keeps The Doctor Away. Granny used to sing-song the apple-a-day aphorism while Science laughed at the silly notion. A 2013 United Kingdom study revealed that if people over 50-years-old ate just one (preferably organic) apple per day, (not the new GMO Arctic™ apple!), they could actually prevent or delay 8500 heart attacks and strokes per year.
Seems old Granny Smith was really right.
Seeing how iatrogenic is in the top three disease killers of humanity, let’s munch on an organic apple right now!
- Gonna rain soon. I feel it in my bones. Granny’s bunion is an accurate predictor of weather. Seems rheumatic joints respond to changes in the barometer. If only the TV meteorologists would employ granny, they’d improve their accuracy.
Ancient Wisdom: What’s the point?
To learn what is the most optimal diet for an individual human being, we must first start with the Ancient Wisdom. Let’s allow Nature’s own voice to weigh in, and see how it applies today.
The next few blogs will address the big picture. Things like: what is the purpose of eating, the cellular importance of variety, the cell’s metabolic attunement to variation, the role of seasonal foods, and other dietary practices that are part of our survival genes. These are cardinal rules. These are precedents that, if neglected, result in less-than-optimal health.
Let’s start with what Hippocrates, the father of Natural Medicine, had to say some 2500 years ago. Let’s look at BOTH the Ancient Wisdom and Modern Science.
We can identify our body’s nutritional foundation. We can determine what is right for ourselves and build a solid foundation on nature’s great principles, and not on shaky sand of modern science sound bites.
Stay tuned for great dietary adventures to come.