Jameel Kermalli (Sanford, United States)
These renowned Muslim Medical Doctors used herbs, lifestyle changes and dietary alterations as their three major tools in treating and preventing illnesses. Indeed, they were only practicing what the Holy Prophet (S) had advised, that an ounce of prevention is better than a ton of treatment. Nearly 100% of Prophetic Medicine was based on natural and spiritual issues.
Dr. Ahmed Elkadi, from the Institute of Islamic Medicine for Education and Research Panama City, Florida, USA writes in his article “Contemporary Definition of Islamic Medicine” that all these nutritional supplements have two medicinal qualities in them; One is that the effect deals with the underlying disease mechanism, such as an immune deficiency or dysfunction rather than dealing with the superficial symptoms. Consequently the effect is truly curative and not just symptomatic palliative in nature.
The second feature is that the therapeutic effect is restorative in nature regardless of direction of the abnormality. This is usually a common feature of natural herbs and other natural therapeutic modalities; unlike synthetic pharmacological preparations where their effect is usually in one direction and progressive with increasing doses beyond the desirable normal range.
Clearly, the 1st and 2nd International Conferences on Islamic Medicine devoted a lot of time to revival of old, natural remedies with a lot of optimism for the future (1981/82, Kuwait). The 3rd International Conference on Islamic Medicine (1984, Istanbul) also recommended the compilation of a traditional medical dictionary containing full information about the most outstanding Muslim Men of Medicine; showing ways of benefiting from medical plants and herbs through seminars.
Your body has a right on you, and as taught to us by the Holy Prophet (S) himself, we should go as natural as we possibly can, and we should not be willing to ingest chemical substances known to shorten life span, and engage in life habits and patterns which demonstrably build disease. Why would one abuse his system and make it so sick that it’s organs need to be eventually cut out?
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE PRACTICE
Natural Medicine Practitioners agree that the effect of herbal preparations and foods deal with the underlying disease mechanism, such as an immune deficiency, toxicity or dysfunction rather than dealing with the superficial symptoms. Consequently the effect is truly curative and not just symptomatic or palliative in nature.
The second feature is that the therapeutic effect is restorative in nature regardless of direction of the abnormality. This is usually a common feature of natural herbs and other natural therapeutic modalities, unlike synthetic pharmacological preparations where their effect is usually in one direction and progressive with increasing doses beyond the desirable normal range.
The medicinal quality of herbs have been confirmed by Imam Ja’fer Sadiq (AS) when he says that the characteristics of herbs are similar to drugs – they penetrate down into the joints, eliminate waste products and toxic matters, and so forth. Natural medicines used by the Holy Prophet (S) were simple and non-artificial remedies. Neither he, nor any of his companions even used any synthetics, pharmaceutical or composite chemicals (al-Akili, 1993). Clearly, Hippocrates preferred and prescribed herbal remedies first, and if these didn’t work, he resorted to alternative methods, mostly drugs (Becker, 1990).
It is the following SIX principles that distinguish the Alternative Medicine profession from other medical approaches. The call is made to Medical Doctors to understand and incorporate into their practice the following beliefs and methods to establish a successful medical setting whereby incoming clients are not just viewed as PATIENTS and SYMPTOMS, but HUMANS, WITH AN UNDERLYING CAUSE OF THE COMPLAINT.
- The healing power of nature. vis medicatrix naturae
The body has the inherent ability to establish, maintain, and restore health. The healing process is ordered and intelligent; nature heals through the response of the life force. The doctor’s role is to facilitate and augment this process, to act to identify and remove obstacles to health and recovery, and to support the creation of a healthy internal and external environment.
- Identify and treat the cause. tolle causam
Illness does not occur without cause. Underlying causes of disease must be discovered and removed or treated before a person can recover completely from illness. Symptoms are expressions of the body’s attempt to heal, but are not the cause of disease. Symptoms, therefore, should not be suppressed by treatment. Causes may occur on many levels including physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. The doctor must evaluate fundamental underlying causes on all levels, directing treatment at root causes rather than at symptomatic expression.
- First do no harm. primum no nocere
Illness is a purposeful process of the organism. The process of healing includes the generation of symptoms, which are, in fact, an expression of the life force attempting to heal itself. Therapeutic actions should be complimentary to and synergistic with this healing process.
- Treat the whole person. The multifactorial nature of health and disease
Health and disease are conditions of the whole organism, a whole involving a complex interaction of physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, and other factors. The doctor must treat the whole person by taking all of these factors into account. The harmonious functioning of all aspects of the individual is essential to recovery from and prevention of disease, and requires a personalized and comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment.
- The doctor as teacher. docere
The doctor must work to create a healthy, sensitive interpersonal relationship with the patient. A cooperative doctor-patient relationship has inherent therapeutic value. The doctor’s major role is to educate and encourage the patient to take responsibility for health.
- Prevention. Prevention is the best “cure”
The ultimate goal of any health care system should be prevention. This is accomplished through education and promotion of life-habits that create good health.