News: Some drugs smell bad; most doctors don't know
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Yes, this is exactly what this news article is about.
"A physician may prescribe a drug and as far as seeing the drug, they may never have seen the tablet before and certainly never tried smelling it," said J. Russell May, a co-author of the clinical observation and a professor at the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy in Athens. Ga.
So, in addition to having no clue whatsoever about how a drug actually makes you feel, most doctors don't even know what they smell or taste like. I suppose none of this is surprising; it does seem like a minor but clear indicator of the problems with the detached, dualistic foundation of Western medicine. Compare with the origins of Chinese herbal medicine:
According to the legend the origins of traditional Chinese medicine is traced back to the to three legendary emperors/mythical rulers: Fu Xi, Shen Nong, and Huang Di... Shen Nong, the legendary emporar who lived 5000 years ago is hailed as the "Divine Cultivator"/"Divine Farmer" by the Chinese people because he is attributed as the founder of herbal medicine, and taught people how to farm. In order to determine the nature of different herbal medicines, Shen Nong sampled various kinds of plants, ingesting them himself for to test and analyse their individual effects. According to the ancient texts, Shen Nong tasted a hundred herbs including 70 toxic substances in a single day, in order to get rid of people's pain form illness.
Or, more recently, the research style of Alexander Shulgin:
After judicious self-experiments, Shulgin enlisted a small group of friends with whom he regularly tested his creations, starting in 1960. They developed a systematic way of ranking the effects of the various drugs, known as the Shulgin Rating Scale, with a vocabulary to describe the visual, auditory and physical sensations. He personally tested hundreds of drugs, mainly analogues of various phenethylamines (family containing MDMA and mescaline), and tryptamines (family containing DMT and psilocybin). There are a seemingly infinite number of slight chemical variations, all of which produce variations in effect—some pleasant and some unpleasant, depending on the person, substance, and situation—all of which are meticulously recorded in Shulgin's lab notebooks. Shulgin published many of these objective and subjective reports in his books and papers.
So phenomenologically-savvy science isn't dead, but it is certainly pining for the fjords...