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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The power of the east

The power of the east. Have you ever wondered what truth lies in the legends of the east? Great warriors battling apocalyptic wars. Medicine men healing gut wrenching ailments.  Treatments for things westerners hardly know about. Which leads me to the power of eastern medicine.  

I have been using all the prescribed creams, ointments, etc. used in western medicine to treat my psoriasis  - an autoimmune disease that essentially attacks your skin.  There are a lot of harsh chemicals in these treatments – such as steroids, but I’ve been using them nonetheless.  Psoriasis is thought to be caused by stress.  It can also be heredity, although it does not run in my family. I appear to be the first one to have it.  I remember when it was just one ‘lesion’ (that’s a horrible word, by the way. It sounds disgusting and I picture something oozing. There is no oozing involved).  I have what appear to be dry patches of skin – some patches are denser with a thicker patch of dry skin.  I first had what appeared to be ashy elbows, and then a few new ‘patches’ (that word is so much better) appeared.  It started to spread more, it seemed, when I started medically treating it (with western medications) - from my elbows onto my arms, down to my hands.  Simultaneously, it was also found on my scalp, legs, thighs, knees and feet. I was at loss for words.  It felt like almost overnight they spread everywhere.

Oddly enough, I've always taken pretty good care of my skin.  I hardly dealt with acne and got away with little to keep my skin clear.  In my mid to late twenties, I started using products and makeup more and noticed it definitely effected my skin. But nonetheless, I didn't think anything I was doing was out of the norm. I didn’t know what else to do - my skin appeared to be getting worse even after visiting my primary care physician and a dermatologist.  Psoriasis can really take a toll on you psychologically, mentally and emotionally – aside from physically.  I had a meltdown more than once.  Long story short – it was time to find a solution.  If it can’t be ‘cured’ as I was told, I knew it could be treated better than it was. 

So I leaned to eastern medicine.  I’ve always been a firm believer in eastern medicine.  The powers of the east are something I know about well, as an East-Indian from Fiji Islands.  Being Indian, you witness many healing cultural practices growing up – many that work magically – things westerners don’t know about – and are amazed to find.  Kind of like me.  Living in America for so long (26 years) I’ve become a westerner and through this journey, I realize I need to try much harder to hold onto my eastern roots.  My aunt, who has lived in Fiji almost her entire life, but who currently lives in New Zealand, told me that I needed to rub haldi paste all over my body.  Haldi is something Indians have used to treat ailments, including skin ailments, for generations. It is also something Indians commonly cook with.  It is used in almost every curry dish! Haldi is the Hindi word for Turmeric (Curcuma longa), a “rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family.”  Meaning it is a modified stem of a plant that is usually found underground (think of ginger root), that has leaves and stems that die down at the end of the growing season, and it lives for more than two years, differentiating it from shorter-lived annuals and biennials.   Turmeric is native to tropical South Asia – I would think it was brought by Indians to Fiji during British colonization and it thrives in the warm tropical climate to this day. The plant is ground into a deep orange-yellow powder, and as mentioned before, is commonly used as a spice in curries and other South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine.  In my research, I found that turmeric has been attractive for potential treatment of diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, and other chronic illnesses.  Makes sense why a haldi/turmeric paste could help my skin ailment.  Also makes sense that for generations, Indian brides have been covered in haldi paste as part of Indian customs the days prior to her wedding.  It is said that this helps the bride reveal a radiant glow – her skin will feel soft to the touch and be free of impurities. I can attest to this - I was covered in haldi paste a couple days before my wedding as well <3 I'll have to dig up a picture soon! 

Last night, I decided to try a haldi paste mixture for my psoriasis. 

In my kitchen at home, I made a nice haldi paste by slowly mixing water with the haldi powder I had in my kitchen cupboard.  I rubbed it all over my arms, legs, and anywhere there were any psoriasis ‘patches.’  I could feel the tingling sensation as the haldi paste seeped into my skin.  After it dried, about a half an hour later, I took a warm shower and washed it all off.  My skin definitely felt nicer after.  I lathered up with bag balm and my medicated ointment and went to sleep.  This morning, I woke up too much clearer skin.  Haldi does leave your skin with a slight yellowish stain.  I would assume this would be worse for those with fairer skin complexions.  I wore long work pants and a long sleeve shirt, but to be honest it isn't that bad, especially since I would say that my psoriasis reduced by 40-50%.  Seriously.  I sat there, on my bed, in disbelief – and I cried a little.  One time.  One time I tried an eastern treatment used for generations and I’ve seen amazing results.  One time.  It’s all natural – no chemicals – no side effects. I will take a slight yellowish stain on my skin (that will fade away in a couple of days) over the psoriasis flare ups I had just last night that already have dissipated drastically! 

I’m going to keep applying my haldi paste for the next few days and weeks and hopefully it only gets better from here! I also have an aloe plant in my garden.  I’m going to pluck an aloe leaf and derive 100% organic aloe right from the plant and lather my body with it after my next douse of haldi paste!

Moral of the story – follow the east.  There are so many amazing plants, herbs and natural treatments out there to heal our bodies, minds and souls - easterners have been exploring these natural remedies for generations and sadly, many westerners mock, frown upon and just don't belive in eastern medicine.  Why the FDA isn't looking at natural remedies that have worked over and over and over again - generationally, in many eastern customs in the world to treat ailments in western societies is beyond me.  I don't get it. Why continue to pump chemicals and crap into people's bodies even when they produce insignificant results. Ahh yes, the pharmaceutical companies. We all know the story with big bad pharma, so I won't go into it.  I will just say this - do your research.  Know that there is so much out that there can change the way you look and feel - know that so much of it is NATURAL, organic and chemical-free!

I’m definitely a firm believer that when it comes to treatment, eastern medicine is the best! 


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