This post is about my understanding of Ayurvedic and chemically processed/synthetic products, and its role in a baby's early growth and development for a contest on IndiBlogger sponsored by Dabur. The topic of baby’s needs is something that has always been beyond my horizon. But the recent addition to our family has changed that. On the other hand, Ayurvedic versus chemically processed/synthetic products is something I have passionate views about. So let me start with my understanding of this topic followed by its specific relevance in the context of a baby’s early growth and development.
I see this topic having two facets which are closely intertwined– one is traditional system of medicine v/s modern systems of medicine and the other is natural products v/s synthetic products. Let us start looking at the fundamental differences between the two systems. Traditional systems developed at a time when there was very little knowledge available about the detailed anatomy of human body and it’s working and limited mechanisms available to carry our accurate diagnostics. On the other hand, modern medicine has the benefit of access to vast medical literature, specialists with deep knowledge in very niche areas and sophisticated diagnostic equipment. This difference has played a key role in the development of the two systems. While traditional systems are based on intuition and take a more holistic approach, modern systems tend to follow a rigorous cause and effect logic and have a very problem focused approach.
Since traditional systems depended on intuition, most solutions revolved around naturally occurring substances rather than specifically synthesized substances and it evolved over the years through trial and error. Since there was no way to exactly pinpoint a problem, most solutions were such that it strengthened the natural mechanisms of the body to address the problems by itself. That way one solution would address a multiple array of ailments – some kind of panacea for ills. This is the reason the traditional medicines tend to be holistic and promote general health. So these systems are best for general well being over a longer period.
Modern systems on the other hand could come up with exact reason for a specific problem using advanced diagnostic techniques. So it made it possible to develop precise solutions. So any modern medicine will have to have a planned chemical composition. Synthetic substance fit the bill here more than natural substances as natural substances are likely to be much more complex and have constituents other than what is required to solve the problem at hand as well. This kind of a system works best for a timely cure for a specific malady.
Now coming to the issue of growth of a baby, it is definitely not a specific problem to be diagnosed and fixed; a holistic solution is what is needed. So the traditional system is likely to work best. Also natural substances are closer to food and likely to interfere lesser with natural body system.
However one needs to keep in mind a couple of things while opting for an Ayurvedic product. While natural substances are good, it does not necessarily mean all plant based substances are good for the body. Many naturally occurring substances have toxins that can be fatal to the body. I am sure many of us would have heard warnings about consumption of unknown fruits or berries in a jungle. The other issue is authenticity of the preparation and even in case of genuine recipes, quality controls with respect to hygiene etc. Since traditional recipes are not backed by heavy literature and in many cases manufactured by establishments not necessarily adhering to rigorous government norms, in some cases it might be difficult to differentiate between something genuine and something being sold by a snake oil salesman. Going for branded products manufactured by recognized companies like Dabur and Himalayan pharmacies may remedy these issues to some extent.
To summarize, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. Modern medicine in my opinion is like giving a man a fish while traditional medicine is teaching him or rather his internal system to fish. But then if a man is dying of hunger, it would benefit him more to be given a fish than taught to fish. So we need to take a situation based call.