Podcast 099: Don’t Let The Perfect Be The Enemy Of The Good
Our ideas about health are often context-dependent, and clinging too tightly to rules about what is “good” and “bad” can really get us into trouble when context changes. It can also get in the way of communicating and sharing knowledge with people who live in contexts that are different from our own.
Like many herbalists, we teach and practice the avoidance of sugar in most situations. Most… but not all! Recently we posted a video about how to make an elderberry syrup with sugar, and got a lot of negative feedback. “You should only ever use raw local honey!” was a common refrain in these comments. But sometimes, there are good reasons to make your syrup with sugar – it does result in a non-alcoholic, shelf-stable product, and that could be necessary for some people. And in the end, an elderberry sugar syrup is better than no elderberry syrup at all!
Similarly, there are sometimes reasons to make your liniment with rubbing alcohol, or to work with herbs in ways that are unusual or uncommon. Oftentimes, these are in fact uncommon or unusual only in a given cultural or historical context. Getting too hung up on the “perfect” method can blind us to “good” methods that someone else teaches.
Purity tests help no one, and actively discourage collaboration and collective evolution. So listen in as we push on some dogmas… including some that we ourselves have espoused in the past! We’re not perfect either, but we do try to be good. 🙂
Mentioned in this episode:
- Effects of honey and sugar dressings on wound healing. Mphande et al. J Wound Care. 2007 Jul;16(7):317-9.
- The Holistic Herbalism Podcast, Episode 088: Sweet Herbs & Their Medicines
- Mountain Medicine: The Herbal Remedies of Tommie Bass, Darryl Patton
- The Art of Nothing (video series), Tom Elpel
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