Chicken Soup

Updated: Jul 25

About Holistic Medicine and Homeopathy

By: Farah Farhat

“You might think that holistic medicine is all about home remedies and DIY cures; however, that is not always the case.”

Our world is getting more complicated by the day, especially during this pandemic! As a result of human evolution, medicine also adapted to our developing lifestyles. In Ancient Greece, for example, blood-letting and leeches were examples of treatments given for the common cold [1]. Much later on, we discovered viruses, and then realized that the rhinovirus is essentially the most common cause of a cold [1].

Our future seemed bright, but at the same time, the dark side of the moon hid medicalization, which is the process in which we were unconsciously conditioned to think about normal human conditions; balding and infertility were defined and treated as medical conditions that required prevention and treatment, and overprescription of drugs would ultimately lead to epidemics like the opioid crisis in the USA [2].

There’s always the good, the bad, and the ugly in every approach we take in healthcare and medicine, but don’t you ever wonder what life would have been like if we just stuck to chamomile tea and our grandmas’ miraculous chicken soup?

This kind of approach, which is called the holistic medicinal approach, is based on the belief that love and emotional support are the ultimate healers that any ill person would ever need [3]. It focuses on the individual’s overall physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being, and disidentifies the person from the disease [3].

If your mother ever chose to give you chicken soup instead of an Advil as a child, she might have not thought that deeply about her approach, but she probably felt that chicken soup would cause less harm or risk to your health. The fact that she focused on optimizing your health instead of focusing on how to get rid of the cold is what makes this approach holistic [4]. You might think that holistic medicine is all about home remedies and DIY cures; however, that is not always the case.

“Holistic therapy is an umbrella term for all treatments that attempts to treat the individual as a whole person, to relieve symptoms and restore health [4].

Holistic therapists have a strong belief that (1) chemicals pollute and disturb the peace inside of the body, and (2) there’s always another way to treat a disease without jeopardizing a person’s overall – and when we say overall, we mean physical, mental, emotional, and SPIRITUAL – well-being [4].

Such treatments range from massage therapy, exercise, diet change to psychotherapy and spiritual counselling [3]. On the other hand, treatments like opioids, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and antibiotics are definitely the furthest away from ‘holistic’ [3].

A practitioner may or may not use the holistic approach, depending on the preference of the patient as well as the severity of the condition or disease. One common type of holistic medicine is homeopathy, which is considered an extremely safe healing process and focuses on relieving symptoms [4].

Homeopathy works mostly on acute conditions, but can also treat chronic conditions like autism and depression [5]. Using primarily natural sources like plants and minerals, homeopaths take into consideration that medications cause health problems as easily as they attempt to fix other health problems, leaving the patient in a cycle of trying to find a cure that could fix everything, but doesn’t.

Figure 2

A recent study published by Oxford University substantiated that St. John’s Wort, a type of herb that many homeopaths prescribe for patients who suffer from depression, was as effective as Prozac and even SAFER in treating patients with mild to severe depression [5]. So this makes you wonder, why is it that we still succumb to costly, overprescribed medications when safer, cheaper, and more natural alternatives exist?

There are always unanswered questions, and there is always a possibility of inaccuracy or bias in research studies and reports. Alternative solutions should not be disregarded purely because they are unconventional. And most of all, we should consider chicken soup when we have a cold.

Editors

Mouayad Masalkhi, Nichole Dai, & Rhea Verma

Designers

Majd Al-Aarg & Richard Chen

Additional Credits

Header Image by Ipajoel from pngtree

References

  1. Kelly J [Internet]. London (UK): BBC News; 2020. The age-old fight against the common cold; 2011 Oct 4 [cited 2020 Aug 21]. Available: https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-15095924

  2. Med.nyu.edu [Internet]. New York (NY): New York University Langone Health; 2020. Medicalization: scientific progress or disease mongering?; n.d. [cited 2020 Aug 21]. Available: https://med.nyu.edu/highschoolbioethics/briefs/medicalization

  3. www.webmd.com [Internet]. New York (NY): WebMD; 2020. What is holistic medicine?; 2020 Mar 18 [cited 2020 Aug 21]. Available: https://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/what-is-holistic-medicine#1

  4. www.ichelp.org [Internet]. McLean (VA): Interstitial Cystitis Association; 2020. Holistic medicine vs homeopathy… is there a difference?; n.d. [cited 2020 Aug 21]. Available: https://www.ichelp.org/holistic-medicine-vs-homeopathyis-there-a-difference/#:~:text=That%20is%2C%20instead%20of%20treating,well%2Dbeing%20before%20recommending%20treatment.

  5. Ullman D [Internet]. New York (NY): The Huffington Post; 2020. Homeopathy: a healthier way to treat depression?; 2010 Sep 9 [cited 2020 Aug 21]. Available: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/healthier-ways-to-treat-d_b_740720

  6. Ullman D [Internet]. Berkeley (CA): Homeopathic Educational Services; 2017. Why homeopathy makes sense and works; 2017 Jan 23 [cited 2020 Aug 21]. Available: https://homeopathic.com/why-homeopathy-makes-sense-and-works-3/

  7. www.mayoclinic.org [Internet]. Rochester (NY): Mayo Clinic; 2020. Common cold; 2019 Apr 20 [cited 2020 Aug 21]. Available: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/symptoms-causes/syc-20351605#:~:text=Although%20many%20types%20of%20viruses,sick%20coughs%2C%20sneezes%20or%20talks.

  8. Bloom S [Internet]. Santa Monica (CA): LEAFtv; 2020. Holistic medicine vs. Western medicine n.d. [cited 2020 Aug 21]. Available: https://www.leaf.tv/4592968/holistic-medicine-vs-western-medicine/

  9. Ipajoel. Delicious Chicken Soup Background With Potatoes Boiled Egg Chinese Onion And Chili Vector Illustration [Internet image]. 2019 [cited 2020 Aug 21]. Available from: https://pngtree.com/freebackground/delicious-chicken-soup-background-with-potatoes-boiled-egg-chinese-onion-and-chili-vector-illustration_1157953.html

  10. Woodville W. Medical Botany [Internet image]. 1794 [cited 2020 Aug 21]. Available from: https://www.pinterest.nz/pin/398357529522622761/

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