Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ancient Healing Secrets

Book: Ancient Healing Secrets - Practical Cures that Work Today
Author: Dian Dincin Buchman
Publisher: Orient Paperbacks
Pages: 192
Price: Rs 80

Eisha Sarkar  
Posted on Mumbai Mirror on Thursday, December 02, 2010 at 12:31:14 PM
Posted on Times Wellness on Monday, December 13, 2010

Do you know that in southern France villagers drank onion-and-milk to cure themselves of hayfever? That desert Arabs would apply henna to soothe heat-related swollen ankles and scorched feet? That ancient Egyptians used blue eye-liners to discourage infection-carrying flies that cause blindness? And did you know that Vikings would cure hiccups by grasping and pulling their tongues out?

Bizarre they may be, but some of these ancient remedies are still practised today and are known to be quite effective in curing pains and ills that plague mankind. New York-based natural health expert Dian Dincin Buchman journeys into antiquity to discover hundreds of practical secrets from ancient China, India, Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, Egypt, Africa and the Americas to bring forth the book, Ancient Healing Secrets.

While some of the traditional systems of medicine such as acupressure, Ayurveda and elements of Greek and Egyptian medicine are popular and have been used as the basis for modern medicine, there is a lot of ancient medicine that still remains mystery. For example, you wouldn't really know why Russian peasants used frozen white bread to clean out the dust and dirt from the eyes or why Ukrainian villagers used mustard paste on the heel of the foot to abort a runny nose!

Buchman has compiled this book by studying old family recipes from all over the world, reviewing work of many botanists, extracting information from ancient texts, including those by Pliny the Elder, the ancient Roman historian who "left a 37-volume encyclopedia of the Roman world in which he describes the uses of vegetable cures' and ancient Greek physician Dioscorides' Materia Medica, 'the first-known textbook of pharmacology'.

The author writes on various problems from acne to wrinkles, arthritis to diarrhoea and then provides their natural cures divided into parts: Acupressure/Massage, Body 'n' Earth, Herbal Remedies, Water Cures and Animal Products. Each part comprises remedies from different regions of the world. The book offers you safe, simple and inexpensive ways to brew tonics and teas that fight fatigue, discover the remarkable powers of healing plants and oils, use rare soothing touch techniques, use water, the world's oldest and easiest remedy and practise the ancient healing secret of breathing with awareness. Each entry includes simple preparation tips and may help in the case of many health problems. However, the author makes the point that the book is intended as a reference resource only and readers should not use any remedy without consulting their doctors.

On the face of it, Ancient Healing Secrets is a handy guide of kitchen remedies, teas, poultices, infusions, decoctions and plasters for common health problems. It's cheap, easy to understand and completely practical. But it also is a rich compilation of cultural secrets that have not been out in the public before. You can't miss the fact that in spite of the distances between these ancient places where these forms of medicine developed, there is a similarity in the cures. Onion, garlic, basil, mustard, vinegar and pepper were widely used all over the world as cures for various illnesses, in spite of the little or no globalisation that took place back then. It is interesting to note how so many different peoples from different parts of the world, without having much contact with each other, were still able to think alike!

Light, interesting and fascinating, Ancient Healing Secrets makes for a good read.

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