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Typologies in herbal medicine - what are herbalist already doing?
21 March 2012
1:37 pm
Mark Jack
Forum Posts: 77
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1 March 2012
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I just thought I would kick this section off by asking how we as herbalists already use typologies in our approach. For example, I reckon at that all herbalists will use the most simple typology to some extent from time to time: is the client masculine or feminine? And another common one would be is the person a hot or a cold person, or slow or hyperactive. Then there are the body types, the doshas, and such, and the much more complex systems. A later discussion could be how we integrate them and find out the best approach, and what some herbalists are already doing in this regard.

21 March 2012
6:59 pm
Forum Posts: 47
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Constitutional medicine is one of the greatest gifts of Eastern medicine (and traditional Western).

Well there’s Sheldon work with ectomorph (vata), endomorph (kapha) and mesomorph (pitta).

The Chinese system is a dance of hot/cold and damp/dry in 8 pattern systems and then there is the 5-element system which is very rich.

The Ayurvedic and Tibetan systems (very closely related) have the beauty of closely integrating exercise, spiritual and psychological treatments, and community/interpersonal aspects. Very integral systems. I have a strong draw to these because they are steeped in Buddhist understanding as well and can even be related to the 3 poisons of hate, greed and ignorance, which are foundational to buddhist psychology. The Buddhist Psychology I’m studying will therefore integrate very well with an herbal constitution approach inspired by the Ayurvedic and Tibetan approach. 

Western Galenic has its richness as well. Today we have various psychological typing methods and some of these have some correlation with pathophysiological patterns. So there is much to explore on this front as well. We also have the beginning of genetic medicine and the growing recognition that different people have different physiologies and that they metabolize drugs in different ways.

I have not extensively explored Unani-Tibb, however it was a very eclectic and open approach having exchanged much with the medical systems of the far-east including Tibet, India and China. I do have a little familiarity with Sufi medicine, however am not sure of constitutional approaches.


The 2nd layer of this will be seeing how the different constitutional types fit together with stages (such as the spiral dynamics)!

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