All of creation is one; everything is connected. How we are as individuals reveals how we are as a society; as a civilization even. As a herbalist I work with ill people and the illnesses I see in individuals are reflected in the society as a whole – more to the point, I see common-sense parallels in the way personal and socio-economic ills are treated.
The current global economic system –neoliberal free-market capitalism – has provided great opportunities for many, (especially the 1%) and generously gave us the 2008 meltdown and birthed unfathomed social injustice. Free market flag wavers tell us we just have to accept the current system with all its booms and busts because there is simply no viable alternative: essentially, they say, there is no cure for social injustice. The only treatment for every economic problem is more of the same: let the markets decide. If the markets decide there should be a rise in food banks, homelessness and illness, so be it.
I treat many people with various conditions who see the same twisted logic at play in pharmaceutical medicine.
One condition I spend a lot of time treating is eczema; a condition on the rise. From 2005 to 2009 the number of people diagnosed grew by 40 percent and by 2011 nine in ten dermatologists and dermatology nurses named a rise in children with eczema as the biggest professional challenge they will face for years to come.
Eczema is the perfect metaphor for the illness that is our economic system: the effect is obvious, present at the surface, with the cause rooted deep within. Furthermore, the symptoms are not always present or necessarily identical. There are flare-ups: moments when the skin is redder, scalier, itchier than others; just as in the economy the illness is only evident when there is a bust or recession. We are told there is no cure for frequent recessions, and ditto for eczema.
The cause of eczema is rooted in the stomach; it is essentially a digestive illness. Damage to the digestive tract overloads the liver with toxin rich blood. Once the body’s elimination mechanisms are overloaded toxins are stressfully expelled via the skin.
Over the past few years I have seen an increase in the number of people coming to me desperate to be completely rid of their eczema, having experienced the temporary relief of steroid creams alongside their often permanent skin thinning side-effects, followed by eczema busts – more devastating flare-ups.
It is no coincidence that I am seeing an increase in eczema clients as selfies have exploded in popularity: people are sharing more photos of themselves and want to look their very best.
The appetite for natural, or so-called “alternative” medicine is increasing. Over 100 million people utilise it in the EU, including 9 million in the UK. Selfies are seen by some as a vain pastime, but such perceived vanity is leading more people to realise that conventional treatment cannot make them look as good as they want to feel. When they come to natural practitioners like me they start learning more about how the human body, mind and spirit work in harmony with their environment – socially, politically and economically. They are empowered to transform their own lives (even if the original motive was simply to look better for more Instagram likes) through new dietary habits that change the chemistry of their guts and strengthens their digestion. They become more active in changing the socio-economic system they live in by the simple conscious choices of where they source their food from.
It all comes down to the digestion – as our Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, and the famous Arab proverb tells us. Many in western civilization today have, at least, a gut feeling something is wrong, aroused by the likes of austerity, WikiLeaks’ revelations and the Panama Papers. Hence the rise in popularity of politicians like Corbyn and Sanders.
Human beings digest economic resources resulting in an economic system. If we want to stop the catastrophic “flare-ups”, we have to sort out socio-economic digestion. If selfies are the driving force behind systemic change, well, next time you see someone pulling their phone out and pouting, you might have good reason to not despair.
To find out more about how I cure eczema, click here.
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