Connection: Bridging Eastern Medicine and Western Science
In 2001, a friend gave me a book on Ayurveda called The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies by Vasant Lad. The author is a Master of Ayurvedic Science and served as a medical director of the Ayurveda Hospital in Pune, India. He served as professor of Clinical Medicine at Pune University College of Ayurvedic Medicine.
The concept of Ayurveda (meaning Science of Life in Sanskrit) resonated with me in the first few pages of the book. It felt familiar in a strange way, although the words like doshas, ojas, agni and dhatus were foreign to me. I wanted to learn more.
So began my journey from a western science perspective to learning an eastern perspective.
The Path is Never a Straight Line
When I began formulating Biostar supplements in 2007, I included some Ayurvedic plants that I knew were harmonizing to the body system into the formulations. There was pushback from customers: Ayurveda sounded strange to a lot of horse owners, and plant names like Tulsi and Ashwagandha were unfamiliar to them.
I retreated for a while to a more westernized approach to formulating supplements, and focused on imbalance. Meanwhile, I kept studying and learning about Ayurveda and applying the Ayurvedic principles and plants to my own horses and dogs, and myself.
Luckily in the past decade, more and more scientific studies in the west were being conducted and published on Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine plants, fungi, spices, and foods. This research has demonstrated that many of the plants and fungi used in ancient medicine traditions have validity and efficacy.
Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, and Western medicine
Ayurveda is all about balance: how food, plants, and lifestyle can counteract current imbalances or disharmony in the body. The focus is not just on one organ or body system that is out of balance; the focus is on all the systems that are connected to the imbalanced element of the body. This is the triad of mind-body-spirit. It is one of the big differences between Eastern philosophy on healing and wellbeing, and Western medicine.
Ayurveda has been used for thousands of years, based on the doctrines of:
• All things in the universe, both living and nonliving, are joined together
• There is a deep connection between self and the environment,
• Balanced connectivity ensures good health.
Ayurveda centers around the five elements: space/ether, air/wind, fire, water, and earth.
Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic philosophies share many of the same fundamental truths. Like Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine has been used for thousands of years and is not focused on the disease or symptoms, but on harmonizing the body system and returning the body to balance.
Both of these Eastern medicine practices center around the five elements. In Chinese medicine these elements are: water, earth, metal, wood, and fire.
Chinese medicine focuses on balance between yin and yang, masculine and feminine, doing versus being. Qi (also referred to as Chi) is the circulating life force that binds together all things in the universe. Qi needs balance in order to maintain good health.
Western medicine focuses on the symptoms of the imbalance (illness, disease), and treating those symptoms. Benefits of western medicine continue to be shown in the many life-saving pharmacological medicines and treatments that exist.
Following the Heart Path
Little by little over the years, I began formulating based on Ayurvedic Medicine and Chinese Medicine principles. I also relied on Western science for validation and published research, plus a dose of intuition.
My heart resonates with Eastern medicine. I am no master of it, but I am a devoted student: listening, paying attention, and learning.
Connections of the Body and Mind
I no longer look at a horse or dog’s imbalance in a linear way. I look for the connections of body/mind (stress, lifestyle, food, environment) and the relationship of the varied body systems at large.
If a horse has a gastric ulcer, for instance, I look at the corresponding systems: adrenal gland, immune system, and brain. To focus on just healing the ulcer ignores the other components in the body that are affected.
It is the connectivity that is critical.
The concept of connectivity in the body reflects the connectivity all around us in Nature. Trees take care of one another via their root systems, mycelium in the soil provides the symbiotic network for beneficial bacteria, and delivery of minerals to support the plant roots. The webs of connectivity are the threads that weave through the universe.
East and west: We Need Both
For the long term health of our horses and dogs – and ourselves, we need the evidence-based structure of Western medicine. We also need the connectivity and balanced foundation of Eastern medicine.
We need pharmacology to target the disease and the specific condition. We also need the plants, foods, and fungi to support the body systems and re-harmonize the body/mind.
We need the Western modalities of ultrasound, shockwave, lasers, and surgical intervention. We also need the Eastern modalities of acupuncture, acupressure, massage, meditation, and yoga. (Meditation is useful for us humans who are the caregivers to our animals. When we de-stress, our animals de-stress. We are all connected!)
Biostar is launching a new division called Chi Solutions®. This new part of Biostar is a bridge between East and West. We will begin with a few new formulas this fall, and properly launch Chi Solutions in January 2022.
Featuring ingredients used in Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine, backed by western research and clinicals. We will also incorporate time-tested and honored healing traditions of fermentation into several new products. We will focus on products that address imbalances, while helping to re-harmonize the body/mind, focusing on connectivity.
New Chi Solution® Products
Remedium Nadi EQ: The first product in the Chi Solutions family is being launched September 1: Remedium Nadi EQ, formulated to support a balanced inflammatory response. Remedium is the Latin word for relief, and Nadi is the Ayurvedic term for channel of energies throughout the body.
Sunn-E 1,000: The second product in Chi Solutions® will be coming in November 2021: Sunn-E 1,000. This is vitamin E from non-GMO sunflower oil grown and processed in Spain. Sunflowers are called Surya Mukhi in India and have been used for centuries. Sunflower oil is in fact the most common oil in India.
Soy can be an allergen or irritant for many horses and dogs. The fact that so much of the soy used for Vitamin E production is from Genetically modified soy is not a source we will use at Biostar.
Palm as a vitamin E source has created an environmental disaster in Indonesia. The burning of one third of the rainforest for palm plantations has displaced the already endangered Sumatran tiger, Borneo elephant, and the orangutan. Palm plantations provide no biodiversity. Due to the environmental impacts of palm in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa, Biostar will not use this Vitamin E source.
Biostar is honored to be the first equine supplement company to offer potent vitamin E from sunflower oil. Sunn-E 1,000 provides 1,000 IU’s per serving. It will also be available in a smaller dose, packaged for dogs.
Making the Connection
When I walk in the forest at the farm with my dogs, I think about my steps on the forest floor, the network of life beneath my feet. I look up at the trees, the rooted sentinels that can talk to the sky. I think about their rhizomes deep in the earth, relaying information to the other trees, sharing nutrients, and providing support. The forest is both cooperative and connected.
Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine may be old, some may consider them “out-dated”, and not technologically advanced, but to me these ancient healing philosophies remind and return us to the essence of planetary life: we are all in this together … the plants, animals, birds, reptiles, humans, water, trees, rocks, soil, microbes, air.
May each of us be a bridge of connectedness.