Friday, October 24, 2008

Advantages and Future of Sri Lankan Home Remedies

One of the advantages of the home remedies is that they have been practiced for many hundreds of years in Sri Lanka and in India. Another advantage is that there are no adverse after effects or side effects or danger of drug poisoning.

It is a matter for regret that Sri Lankan practitioners of Western medicine have paid so little attention, if at all, to the many useful and simple medicines of our native medical men. In India on the other hand the interest of Western medical practitioners was drawn to ayurveda as far back as the early 19th century.

However, the Sri Lankan research workers of the early 20th century are worthy of mention. They are Dr. Emmanuel Roberts and Dr. John Attygalle. Emmanuel Roberts was born in 1864, became a doctor at 23 years of age and entered Government service. He left Ceylon in 1902 to study in London and Glasgow. On his return to Ceylon he gave up his career in Government service and settled down to do General Practice and Research. The outcome of his research was "The Vegetable Materia Medica of India and Ceylon" which he produced in 1917. This book brought ayurveda to the home by giving several simple prescrip­tions within the reach of any Ceylonese home.

It is heartening to see that the Government is promoting research in this vast field due to the interest shown in the revival of the ancient Sinhala Medical system. This is specially due to the fact that the treatment is much cheaper than Western Medicine and effective as well.

It is interesting to read what Robert Knox had to say on this subject. He says "Here are professed Physicians but all in general have some skill that way and are Physicians to themselves. The woods are the Apothecaries shops, where with herbs, leaves and rind of trees they make all their Physic and plasters with which they do notable cures." That is history. Now let us try to go back to those herbs at our door steps which will certainly keep us healthy and wealthier too.