The Importance of Local
I believe we should all have the ability to walk into our backyard and pick what is needed for any minor home emergency. Western medicine and natural therapies have become polarized un-necessarily. It can be inappropriate to give away our power entirely in either direction. In the case of our current society’s infatuation with Western medicine, many have let go of their personal power and lost their herbal birthright. This has led to a situation where every health decision — along with our personal and financial security — is given over to someone in a white coat. It can be frightening to assert our independence and take back our decision-making ability in this area.
As a new mother, it was my intention to exercise this independence, but it meant I took on the responsibility of the health and safety of my child in ways that I wouldn’t have needed to otherwise. We maintain a balance in our home that is the central theme of the book I would like to share with you. We take care of most of our health crises at home with herbs and other natural methods. In each situation, we weigh what Western medicine has available to us against the severity of the situation and what we can do ourselves. Western medicine is very good at quickly addressing symptoms and averting disaster in very dangerous and serious situations. If one of us has a broken bone, we will head to a hospital. Natural first aid does not need to set one method of healing against another; instead, it should incorporate the best of all worlds. If we can take care of something here at home, simply and without subjecting ourselves to waiting room bacteria, we will do so. Couldn’t everyone have these basic skills? As health care systems come under pressure, we can find ways to allow citizens to take responsibility once again for their health. This will relieve both overburdened staffs in clinics and hospitals and overburdened family budgets.
Who gets to be self-sufficient? Is it only the “crunchy” families who have some land and the desire to homestead in the current sense of the word? I don’t believe so. Self-sufficiency does not have to be an all-or-nothing prospect. Instead, it should be scalable. Self-sufficiency in home health is attainable for the apartment dweller as well as the farmer living on 100 acres.
Sustainability is a hot button topic right now. Very simply, the way we practice health through the Western medical paradigm is not sustainable. As we continue to chase the next symptom, our bodies become more and more structurally unsound. We need to get back to fixing the foundational issues we have in our lives rather than only seeking a quick fix.
As patients of the Western medical system have become accustomed to demanding an instant result, we have created a self-perpetuating cycle within our communities. We expect doctors to be godlike, holding them accountable in a legal manner for that which they should never have been responsible. In defense, Western medical practice and education tried to act godlike, dispensing from on high and brooking no questions. In an effort to provide the patient with what he/she wanted rather than what they needed, our medical establishment has overreached itself. Both sides must change in order for healing to begin. We cannot demand that someone else inappropriately take responsibility for our personal health and then chastise them for damage that is created when they do so.
We can take back both our responsibility and our power. Western medicine can again be a respected profession when doctors are consultants to an informed patient who is responsible for their own actions and decisions. In the meantime, we can begin to fill the void that this disentanglement will cause. We have lost much of our traditional knowledge of home care. This has happened as a large medical system has struggled to gain more power and attempted to discredit traditional knowledge. This has also happened as our culture has attempted to pull families out of the home and into full-time professional employment while discrediting the contributions of home caretakers.
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This is an excerpt from Heal Local: 20 Essential Herbs for Do-it-Yourself Home Healthcare. To read our review click here.