samedi 20 février 2010

A new member of "Herbalists sans frontiers"

We were in Santiago at the end of our 10 week trip and I had an inkling that we had to go to a certain hostel for a reason, as we approached the hostel, there was the reason; "Salud Integral", Ricardo Nancur Poblet's centre of alternative therapies just next door to our hostel.
With the help of Lorelei's translating skills, I asked Ricardo if he would be interested in joining our cross cultural group of International herbalists and if so would he mind me interviewing him, he was very positive and eager to communicate about herbal healing......perfect!

Ricardo is a herbalist and gerontologist, which means that he is a specialist in ailments that effect elderly poeple. He created his consulting rooms in Santiago, 12 years ago, and is now, along with a group of alternative therapists, that he works alogside, very active informing people about herbalism.
He told me about the Chilean ministers decree bought out two years ago stating that herbalism can be used safely and with very good results alongside conventional medicine, this is a good point and a step forward for Chilean herbalists, however the decree goes on to state that a basic scientific formation is needed in order to practise, the draw back here being that plant based herbal knowledge in Chile comes from the local Indian population (indigenes), who are penalised by a decree of this sort.
Ricardo uses dried plants for herbal teas, which he sources personally from organic plant producers in Southern Chile. He also uses herbal extracts in capsule form, he creates the mix of plants he want, his recipes target of course problems of old age, and the small laboratory he works with makes them up with organic plants.
He works closely with a local radio, with whom he helps inform the public about the different alternative therapies available etc and from here he gets quite alot of his clientelle, as well as from word of mouth from satisfied clients. He doesn't yet work directly with hospitals and old peoples homes, he says they are not ready yet as they still consider herbalism to be unscientific. There are however two hospitals in the Santiago region, that since the decree have created information centres based on informing people about available alternative therapies.....another step forward.
I asked Ricardo to briefly describe his philosophy,he said "I am from a scientific background originally, I decided to concentrate on herbal medicine due to a great respect for nature. The most important thing for me regarding herbal healing is the interaction that occurs between each patient and each plant and this with the planet as a whole. Also the fact that plants don't leave secondary effects or produce disease through their interaction with each other is another reason that I chose herbalism.
Ricardo's favourite plant is Taraxacum off (Dandelion), when asked why, he told me it was an ancient plant that showed great resistance ( it resisted the glaciers for example).

The link with Ricardo is more than just a link with a herbalist from Santiago, its a link with a whole group of professional therapists with scientific backgrounds working together to promote alternative medecine in Chile. The idea of being able to exchange knowledge and techniques with them is very exciting, for example Richard's specialisation of working with the elderly, the Chilean flora that contains Amazonian plants is most interesting and perhaps our knowledge of essential oils for example could be useful for this group as aromatherapy is only just begining in South America........the future looks promising

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