Vis medicatrix naturae
(also known as natura medica
) is the Latin
translation of the Greek
, νονσων φνσεις ιητροι, a phrase attributed to Hippocrates
but which he did not actually use. The phrase sums up one of the guiding principles of Hippocratic medicine which is that organisms
contain “healing powers of nature”.
Hippocrates believed that an organism is not passive to injuries
, but rebalances itself to counteract them. The state of illness
, therefore, is not a malady but an effort of the body to overcome a disturbed equilibrium. It is this capacity of organisms to correct imbalances that distinguishes them from non-living matter.
From this follows the medical approach that “nature is the best physician” or “nature is the healer of disease”. To do this Hippocrates considered a doctor’s chief aim was to help this natural tendency of the body by observing its action, removing obstacles to its action, and thus allow an organism to recover its own health. Neuburger, M. (1944) "An Historical Survey of the Concept of Nature from a Medical Viewpoint" Isis 35 (1): 16–28... Read More