Season 1, Episode 2

Healing Plants

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We know plants are healers, of course. But they’re also so much more. They have shaped our history. Just a few centuries ago, they drove exploration, started wars, transformed economies. Today, they are the bedrock of big pharma and traditional medicine empires.

We can’t fault the modern life-saving drugs that Western medicine has given us. But we wonder if something effervescent doesn’t get lost when plants become pills? Perhaps the traditional and holistic healing framework that medicinal plants once belonged to?

Time Markers (mins: sec)

  • 0:28 – Murder on the Karakoram Pass
  • 6:00 – Overview of the episode
  • 7:34 – Chapter 1: Plants as healers
  • 12:00 – Chapter 2: Plants as drivers of Empire
  • 19:00 – The story of healer Itty Achuden
  • 22:23 – Chapter 3: Plants as commodities
  • 23:40 – A visit to a Madras bazaar with a British surgeon
  • 29:16 – Chapter 4: Agents of conquest

Chatroom Episodes

7: An Ancient Pandemic Story

7: An Ancient Pandemic Story

A Sanskrit scholar narrates a tale from one of the oldest Ayurvedic texts, Charaka-samhita, that has surprising resonance with our current lives

5: Ayurveda Vs. Science: The Matchup

5: Ayurveda Vs. Science: The Matchup

Can the great divide between traditional medicine like Ayurveda and allopathic medicines ever be bridged? We look at the evidence with biologist Annamma Spudich

3: The Most Ancient Medicine

3: The Most Ancient Medicine

Folk Healing is the most ancient form of medicine. G. Hariramamurthi has visited more than 12,000 villages across India to document folk medicine practices


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