Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ayurvedic Poisoning

There is a report in today's Grauniad about heavy metal contamination found in Ayurvedic medicines. This is not a huge surprise, there have been all sorts of things found in herbal and Ayurvedic medicine in the past.
Lead, mercury and arsenic, as found, are metals well known to be poisonous to pretty much everyone. Of course the dose makes the poison, which is why it can be safe to have mercury in your fillings and in vaccines. The crucial thing is exposure over a length of time. The difference with Ayurvedic medicine is that there is no label, no quality control, and no doctor or health professional capable of deciding when you've had enough because the basic analysis of what's in the stuff hasn't been done at the start. All there is really is a blind faith that because Ayurvedic medicine is ancient it must be good.
Our ancestors might not have known that lead poisoned you, so a lot more people developed lead poisoning than do now. There is something called progress, it's real, it brings benefits including better health for the whole population. For example you can't install lead piping for drinking water any more. Or use lead in paint, or petrol. These things benefit everyone whether they believe them or not.
So why ignore 2500 years of western science and progress? The way of thinking that the ancient Greeks gave us is so much more powerful than any number of supposedly ancient oriental mystical traditions and it is also very old. It's also come on a long way in the last couple of thousand years, but I think I'm going to start referring to science as part of a tradition stretching back to the ancient (Very) Near East. Maybe that'll give it more weight in some people's eyes.
Who's with me in taking the Ionian Way?

No comments: