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Rasa Shastra: The Hidden Art of Medical Alchemy, Andrew Mason
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I’m fascinated by medicines and traditional remedies of past times and other cultures. Though mice wrapped in flannel for sore throats etc is a little too off the wall for me!! its still intesting reading how people came to the ideas for these remedies, and though we rely very much on chemical cures, so many are still based around old herbal ones. Think about how silver is now used in dressings, honey also has bveen found to have anti bacterial properties and used for wounds. That one was a favourite of my grans, though she also swore by cobwebs added to it too and iIm really not fixed on that one! My old horse, who had arthritis used to nibble at my willow tree on some days. Willow bark was what Aspirin, a pain killer and good for arthritis, was originally derived from. Animals, given the choice, will often seek out from nature what they need for health. All dog/cat owners will have seen their pets eat grass sometimes – it makes them sick, and maybe they do it when they’ve stomach ache/fur balls or something? Maybe in past times we had that same instinct, but our reliance in Science and all things artificial has overtaken it. Not that I’m anti modern medicine – thankfully chemo kept me alive, and pain meds keep me moving, but there’s much to be learned from the past that without books such as this could get lost.
Alchemy to me is the straw into gold, search for immortal life type of thing, and yet in this book we see its far more, that there are real scientific bases to the use of crystals, metals and the like in medicines. I’ve got books on such things as crystals for healing, and a few years back was chatting to Son no 1 about this. He’s a complete sceptic when it comes to things like that – if science can’t explain it it doesn’t happen for him, so when I’d said the theory about water taking on the properties of different crytals for healing was a step too far, even for some one open minded as I consider myself, I was astonished when he disagreed. He’s a huge IT/Web/Science fan, proven facts are Gold Standard for him, and he told me there were uses for water in computers, as water has been proved to hold a memory – so once again my perceptions had been broadened.
So this book – a tome really, not a book!! – is so packed with information, research, stories, that it’s not one for reading through, but one for dipping, for reading sections that interest at the current time, and for reference purposes. If the pursuit of knowledge, history, other cultures and beliefs interest you you’ll be glad to read this book. I can’t begin to imagine how Andrew managed to take so much information and put it all together in such a readble way. I keep thinking of how hard it must have been to research, how thorough he must have been in his reading, finding people to talk to, in putting it all together. It’s one of those books that though I have the Kindle version I think – like most reference books – it would be better to have in traditional print form.
Stars: Five, a fablous book full of interest to those with an enquiring mind.
ARC supplied via Netgalley.