Traditional medicine: Does it really work?

by  Negash Alamin


I remember when I was a child I had this infection on my face that wouldn’t go away. And my parents who I can’t call educated but had this super parental love for me; took me to a traditional healer and he gave them some sort of herb to be applied on my face. My parents are high school graduates and never read a book in their lives; atleast not that I know of; thus, cannot be called sophisticated. But, have so much love for their son; they will do anything to save him from ailments and dangers. My father is a businessman and my mother is a house mother. My family is not intellectually inclined; they are by far superstitious and traditional. The immediate reaction for an illness is let’s take this boy to a traditional herbalist or a mystical exorcist. This plainly indicates that the society and family I was born and raised in is extremely backward, irrational and enthusiastic. Anyways, eventually this herb worked and my injury was healed. I did not how that herb worked but it did. But, I also remember a family member who had a thyroid tumor and was being treated for it in scientific medicine; but, enthusiastically choose to try out traditional ‘alternative medicine’ and died the next day. So, we can say that the problem with herbalism is specificity; modern science started as alchemy, witchcraft etc. and was refined through the application of logic to become modern medicine.



I know many people that have been cured by herbalists and also killed by herbalists. We do not know how it works and how it kills; we don’t know how the drug and body interact; the dosage etc. It is shrouded in mystery and this is the very reason we have fields called pharmacology and toxicology; to study the therapeutic and poisonous effects of drugs on the body. This is the very reason why the scientific method was formulated; to separate the quacks from the healers and the medicine from the poison. It exists to clear this ambiguity in healthcare; it attempts to be specific and state plainly what the active agent of a specific herb is and what its interaction with the body is really like I believe this scientific approach is called pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics in pharmacology.



Anyhow, several cures came from plants like Aspirin for fever, Artemisinin for malaria, Morphine for pain, Marijuana extracts for epilepsy, and so on. But, the problem with traditional herbalists is that they are secretive, mystical, and enthusiastic. This is a huge hinderance to the pursuit of truth. It hinders our investigation in finding out what the active ingredient of a herb actually is. It will create that vagueness and mysticism I mentioned earlier which acts as a cover for quacks to exploit and derail the common people. It will hinder the identificaton of truth and the categorization of pseudoscience and euscience accordingly. It will hinder the formulation of dosage to body ratio; the formulation of side effects related with the drug and other mechanisms. We should remember that herbs are also drugs. They are made up of atoms and molecules; they need to be studied openly and understood just like other chemicals.


So the overall conclusion is that traditional medicine does work in certain instances as was the case for me; but, it is not objective and rational. It also kills and cons people as is the case with quacks and self-appointed ‘healers.’ We should be careful in categorizing two dicotmies of alternative medicine here:


1-Traditional medicine (material science without rationalism)
2- ‘Spiritual’ healing (zealotic immaterial madness)


Now, herbalism is atleast better than the so called faith healings or should I say faith killings or spiritual healing. Because, in faith healing there is no material foundation; the spiritualists are delusional. There is no material to experiment with like in plant based herbalism. So the so called spiritual healing is total garbage for me. Herbalists atleast deal with something physical like plant leaves and roots etc. But, Pastors are detached from the material world; and loose themselves in zelotry in an attempt to ‘heal’ the patient. Which is a very wrong approach and might cause more morbidity and mortality than what they attempt to solve.The patient or should I say the victim of ‘faith healing’ might drop dead right there; drolling all over the floor rather than be whole again. He might acquire more diseases than what he already has. He might go in for diabetes and might come out as psychotic. But, herbalists are atleast realistic they deal with something material but their error lies in methodology; they only need to be rational inorder to join the mainstream material sciences like pharmacology.


I think it is very important to realize that it does not matter whether it is called traditional aka alternative medicine or conventional scientific medicine; we are dealing with the material world. Patients who are made up of atoms and drugs in the form of atoms. And these drugs whether concocted in a plant form or refined specifically as a pill are compounds and molecules that need to obey the scrutiny of the scientific method. This will bring alternative traditional medicine into mainstream medicine; it will force it to be a material science; which will be safer for patients.


Zeoltry, enthusiasm, mysticism and secrecy which shrouds tradtional medicine are the signs of weak intelligence; an intelligence that is frail and incapable of refining its sometimes effective medications in detail; the field of alternative medicine needs to be dymystified and rationalized. It should not represent a field incapable of figuring out specific mathematical drug dosage, drug interaction, absorption and excretion of its remedies. But, if it does embrace logical methodology; then, I think traditional or alternative medicine can contribute so much to the world considering where most modern drugs come from.



The belief in a higher power drives primates insane: It encourages people to be indolent, irrational, enthusiastic, arrogant, violent and confines states as primitive civilizations

Mysticism and superstition have always been as said elsewhere an escape from the agony of analytical rationalism, thinking and natural investigations. It looks like one hundred billions neurons and trillions of connections of the brain are not capable enough to master nature and free humanity from its misery and wretchedness. This limitation and paucity compels man to become superstitious and dogmatic ―supplicating a fictive father figure. Dogma acts as a psychological and emotional firewall defense mechanism in the human soul against the excessive stretching of this limited human intelligence beyond its limit. Notwithstanding the agony of thinking rationally about our reality and natural surroundings; it appears that we do not have any other option but to do so. We are cosmic orphans and orphans fend for themselves.


The immediate reaction that is exhibited from society members when they hear the designation secularism or atheism; is libertinism and nihilism; they have an outdated belief that if people do not believe in a higher power than themselves then they will have nothing to fear and will be nihilistic. But, this misconception is so erroneous that we observe the opposite on the ground; the members of society that are markedly and prominently violent are believers that blow up buildings and train subways filled by civilians; while, an atheist lands on the moon and builds bridges on earth; because he knows that no one will do it for him. Even though, an animal and driven by the same laws and nature as the mystic a rational man is productive, innovative, and has a much advanced civilization than the mystic; who wastes his time not thinking about nature and providing remedies―but about fairytales, and myth that drive him and other people to psychosis.


Basically placed my argument is that if people believe in themselves and all of nature not in a fictive ‘higher being’ then I think their attention will be directed on nature and its manipulation which will create a strong state and a strong civilization. The virtue of the disbelief in some so called higher being is that —even though unsettling and depressing motivates people to look for natural solutions to natural problems; to be innovative, and self-reliant— not to mention healthy. As animals we all are inclined towards violence notwithstanding our status in society; but, a rational and sedulous animal who believes in nature is much, much better than a deluded and psychotic primate who is not productive or motivated enough to investigate nature; because he detests nature so much that it renders him lackadaisical.


In order to cover up the inept nature of pseudoscience; pseudoscientists paint a huge cross target mark on reason and free thought to blemish its image by linking it with libertinism and nihilism. The pursuit of health as in hedonism with nihilism and secularism with violence; this strategy seems like it has worked on the unsophisticated members of society and some so called leaders of states. Honestly stated reason and science have saved more lives in a decade; and cured many people than what― mysticism wiped out in the so called bloody ‘holy’ wars and terrorism attacks in the name of a fictive god within our societies in two thousand years. It has given the world lifesaving vaccines, better communication, transportation and defense. The only contribution of mysticism to our world is —indolence, natural derision, the demolishing of free thought, individual space and dignity as well as the god delusion and schizophrenia.


To make matters short ―I would state vociferously: let’s focus on nature the only entity that we are capable of understanding; let us not escape it because it is too hard and challenging to understand. Our salvation lies within our understanding of this force not in our derision and escape to an empyrean dimension that never existed, does not exist and will never exist― because it is the expression of our weakness. Enough with the indolence, dogma and superstition; it is time to master nature!

Big News! Mars Curiosty rover finds Organic matter!

by Negash Alamin


Finally! The big news that humanity was waiting for has been announced by NASA. The Curiosity rover detects organic matter outside Earth on the surface on Mars at Gale crater just after digging 5 cm into the surface according to some scientists. This breakthrough indicates that life in the Cosmos may not be unique to Earth after all. The Evolution of life on earth may not be ‘unique’ to our mother planet.
Considering the numerous number of planets in the goldilocks zone just in our galaxy; it might indicate that the Universe may be full of life; but, separated from one another by the mind blowing distance of space that light can’t even defeat. It may be the hugeness of space that is proscribing us from effectively knowing whether there are ‘others’ out there just like us evolved may be in the same manner or may be different manner that we have.



This announcement is a glimmering hope that breaks that weird isolation that we lived with for so many thousand years which indicates that we are not alone in cosmic isolation. In movies like Mars attacks (1996) we see an extremely advanced civilization more advanced and pugnacious than us who attempt to occupy our world kill our president and just create havoc on earth even though ironically they say ‘we come in peace.’ Composed with a sense of humor, and also admonition this movie indicates to us that Mars inhibitors are more advanced than us.


Even though the discovery today is not an advanced alien running a round firing laser at Curiosity rover; but certain organic molecules and methane gas on its surface; which might indicate there may be life deep inside the planet away in a safe zone from the blazing radiation; a life maybe of bacteria or microbes. If this is conformed to be true by microbiologists the discovery will be epic.

The rover was launched from Cape Canaveral on November 26, 2011 to explore a crater called Gale Crater on the planet and this is where the discovery was made. NASA scientists have begun preparing another rover ready for launch on the year 2020.