Part #1. Experience vs. Experiment
Historically, the Chinese have been the only people to develop an organized method for recording and documenting the effects of herbs, although there are many sources cataloguing herbs to some degree (usually 100 to 200 varieties). The Chinese – over the last 5000 years – have specialized in understanding thousands of herbs and their effect on the human body. They are specialized in the usage of herbs. Their health, long life and medical philosophies reflect this herbal knowledge.
The Chinese study of herbs began with one man eating an herb and recording the effects on his body. Through the years, this information was categorized and organized until it was an exact Chinese science. Their gathering of information is “observed experience.” Today, scientists “experiment” with animals that theoretically respond like humans. From these reactions, the scientists draw conclusions about future human response. Then, as humans use the product of this experimentation, experience shows whether the scientific conclusions were healthful or harmful. Please note the difference between experience and experiment. The Chinese took the first approach. Their knowledge is based on 5,000 years of experience with herbs have on the human body.
With this experience, the Chinese have classified all herbs into three groups. The first is called food herbs. These herbs do not control the body, but as food, will feed the body nutritionally and support proper functioning and self-regulation. The second group is called medicinal herbs. These herbs will control body functions similarly to the drugs commonly used in the medical profession today. The third group is poisonous herbs. These herbs will cause death or extreme illness. With this categorical approach to herbs came two health approaches. The Philosophy of Regeneration states that the human body is fully capable of building a strong, healthy, balanced body, when the body obtains proper whole food nutrition. With good nutrition, the body creates the energy necessary to function properly. Add good eating habits, exercise and positive mental attitudes, and a person can develop excellent physical strength and health.
Part #2. Regeneration vs. Substitution
An opposing philosophy is Substitution, which states that when a body function does not work properly or ceases to work at all, it becomes necessary to institute “crisis management.” The use of controlling substances (herbs or drugs) either stimulates the function so it works, or gives it a rest so that it might regain strength to begin functioning on its own. It is called Substitution, because a drug, herb, or chemical is used as a substitute for a function the body was designed to perform on its own. Both principles have their place. Regeneration creates health when the body has proper nutrition, exercise and mental attitudes. Substitution is used when the body, through lack of proper nutrition, has lost its ability to function properly, thereby creating the need for outside control to help begin solving the problem.
Let’s consider an example of the body’s digestive system. To operate properly the digestive system needs hydrochloric acid. After going to the doctor, it is found the digestive problems stem from lack of hydrochloric acid. A prescription is given for pills with synthetic hydrochloric acid. After taking the pills, the digestive system works! The stomach problems seem to be gone. That is, until the hydrochloric acid in the stomach leaves, then the ache comes back and it is necessary to take more pills.
The body is a self-regulating mechanism and is designed to create its own hydrochloric acid when given the proper nutrition. The question is, does substitution solve the problem of the body’s inability to produce hydrochloric acid? No, it is substituting the acid so the body does not have to create it on its own.
Unfortunately, substitution tends to create some negative effects and the problem is not solved. First, it creates greater weakness of the body function. Like your muscles, if a body function isn’t used it weakens until it dies. This is called atrophy. Secondly, when the function ceases to operate, the body creates a dependency on the substitute. Third, substitution rarely only affects the function it is intended to help. There are almost always side effects, many of which are dangerous to good health. If you take a substitute to help with high blood pressure, it may cause nausea. If you take a substitute for nausea, it may cause dizziness. If you take a substitute for dizziness…, it goes on and on.
Part #3. The Philosophy of Regeneration
Now, let’s apply this same example of digestion to the Philosophy of Regeneration. The Chinese have found from experience that specific food herbs feed specific systems of the body. Now suppose you have a stomachache. You decide to see if giving proper nutrition can regenerate the digestive function. You eat the food herbs the Chinese have used for centuries to feed the Digestive System. As the digestive system receives nutrients it is now, once again, able to produce hydrochloric acid on its own.
The higher challenge is for the human mind to change its conditioned way of “Substitution Thinking” to be “Regeneration State of Mind,” whereby we feed the whole body with the awareness of bringing about greater harmony and balance between all its systems and functions.
This is Regeneration – The body obtains the proper nutrients through whole foods and then utilizes the energy and elements necessary for the body to function properly and regenerate itself. This concept can be reduced to three major principles.
Principle #1 – Our bodies have the innate ability to create balance, order and health when proper nourishment is put into the body and toxins are cleansed from the body on regular basis.
Principle #2 – Proper nourishment should come from a wide variety of whole foods, not chemical isolates.
Principle #3 – We must be willing to accept responsibility for our health and fitness.