D. A. A. Quraishy
I am not thinking of vitamins and micronutrients that we receive from the vegetable, including the tubers and the fruits, but those that come to our rescue when we are indisposed – a precious gift of nature to mankind –plants with medicinal properties.
Most of these precious plants also decorate our earth with flowers, fragrance and aroma that attracts lovely, floating, friendly fairies of the landscape – the butterflies in the daylight and flurry, delicate moths.
And no plant, none, is without some alkaloid or a group of alkaloids many of which are waiting to be discovered.
Pakistan has 205 families, 1157 genera, and 5691 species of flowering ones; among them are those that do not flower but have their own specialized code of propagating themselves. I sincerely hope this figure still holds good in the habitats which has been drastically eroded, exploited, degenerated and burnt to clear the patches for agricultural purpose.
Now comes the bomb shell: out of this medicinal arsenal only 400 are being used by the ayurvedics and herbal physicians. There are several others which are found in other climatic conditions of the globe with medicinal values and are being used for several centuries to improve the quality of life and to restore health; their, history is thousand of years old.(Read about the evil Hemlock?)
Hippocrates, considered the father of medicine, wrote about them in460 B C. Later IbneSina (Avicenna of the European) wrote a much-improved version named as Cannon of Medicine and was used as a text book in the European universities for seven hundred years. From it developed the rational technology of allopathic and in the part of the modern Pharmacopeia. Later a branch of treating various illnesses in Homeopathy by Dr. Hahnemann in the last century.
I had very poor opinion about his method of treatment until I was cured by one of the homeopathic medicines. I became curious and studied it and was surprised to find that great many of them were derived from plants alkaloids.
It is impossible to enlist them all but listed here are a few which are found in our country in the wild.
Aconite: reduces fever, is anti depressant, and relieves inflammation. Angutura derived from the bark of a tree in South Americarescues cramps, headaches; arnica reduces swelling, giddiness, hot headedness and is used in127 different types of symptoms.
Asarum’s root cures confusion, pain in the ear and reduces euphoria.
Belladona (also a term for a pretty girl in Italian) cures obtuseness of senses, muddled head, confusion, headache, loss of sight (that is the word they used), long sightedness, ( can not see clearly at close quarter), sees flames, stammering, nausea, releases suppressed urine, cramps, lassitude,fever, cures foolish ,ridiculous ideas, bites, spits and is used against other 287 symptoms.
Byronia alba cures swaying to one side, lachrymation, gingivitis, stops voracious appetite, shooting pain when writing and talking in sleep. Camphor from camphor tree cures chrinic diseases, giddiness, contracted pupils, scalding urine, and is used against 69 other symptoms.
Cannabis (growing wild in Pakistan and around Islamabad is used against dryness in the nose, pinching in the abdomen region, tightness in the chest, pimples, hysteria, drowsiness, feeling forlorn indifferent to everything around including the wife and children, rage and against 68 other symptoms. Capsicum (lalmirch)--- throbbing pain around temples on walking, does not know himself, fissured lips, bloating, tenseness, throbbing pain in the chest, sleep full of dreams.
Let me inform the readers that after a good sleep, one does not remember any dream and if one does, he had a shallow sleep which is bad for the mental well being.
Carbo vegetebill is (wood charcoal—do not underestimate please, it is a recognized drug and the color of the medicine is not black as one would like to allude to the color of the charcoal) pressure in both temples, ringing in the ears, falling of hair, frequent sneezing, fatigue, pain in the body, paralytic sensation in the left leg.
Comomillia (juice of matricaria, also a lovely seasonal plant) used against joyless obtuseness (tooth ache, nausea, cyctitis, staggering, tightness in chest, ladies dropping things, oedema weeping and howling in sleep, going nuts, sitting like a statue.
Chelidonium is used for sensation in the ears as if wind is rushing through out of the ears, lumbago, loss of power in thighs and depression.
China (Chincona bark, out of which quinine is extracted) a drop of diluted tincture made out of grain of cinchona barkin a 1/1000000000000000000000000 quadrillianth is a strong dose; used against confusion pain in front of the head, blushing, lachrymation, chipped lips, speechlessness ( is different from dumbness) burning of tongue, loss of appetite, laziness after dinner, goose skin, stomach ulcer, pain in abdomen, hacking cough, palpitation, exhaustion, lose temper,, yawning, nonsensical dreams, loss of initiative, and other 228 symptoms. China is also effective against pain in the jaw, violent sneezing, short breath and pain in the arms.
Cicutavirosa (water hemlock) is used for inability in swallowing, convulsions, epilepsy, getting satisfied like child.
Coculus is used to stun sun fish for easy catching, against headache, tightness in the right chest, numbness in the limbs, fear of ghost cuttingand witty jokes.
I can go on with more drugs and symptoms, but the point has been made that plants play a major role in making homeopathy successful, but it is not all; they use gold, sulphur and silver in the form of nitrates or sulfattes for quick absorption and assimilation. One of the most important parts of this technology is the potency of any drug. Dilution for example of thirty will cure a disease but a dilution of hundred will not.
It baffles the allopath that how could a diluted drug to the extent of a hundredth of a drop could cure a malaise, but a drug diluted to hundreds and thousand can work wonders. I was told by a scientist once that it was due to the magic of molecular breakup that produces the strength. The truth is that a single dose of homeopathy can achieve what a week’s treatment by an allopathic medicine can not. Homeopaths can potentially break kidney stones, cure Prostatitis and prevent huge expenditures and misery lasting for months.
My very wise, highly experienced and educated friend, late Dr Mekhri told me, “Look, you take one pinch of homeopath medicine, drop it in the Indus from the bridge, go a mile below the river, fill up a bottle and that is your medicine!!”
He was not joking but making it clear that the potency has a definite role to play for curing an illness and there can be a myriad of dilutions of the same medicine.
Here only experience counts and perhaps insight.