It is has only been in the last 119 years that the switch to synthetic medicines has taken place. In that short period of time much of western society has grown to trust and rely on these medicines. Most of society now does not even consider that there is any other way. Many more of us assume and trust that this switch was necessary and better, but are these synthetic marvels of science really superior to the traditional herbal medicines used for thousands years before them?
Take a moment to ponder the potential of natural remedies.
Modern medicine operates under the protocol that when a plant shows bioactivity in humans, that it is attributable to a single, predominant compound in the plant. Scientists label that specific compound the active principle. Drug companies then isolate it, synthesize it, and make a pharmaceutical out of it. The plant is then forgotten. Most of the time they do not even take the time to study any of the other compounds in the plant or their complex interactions. This belief persists for two reasons.
First, it makes research and production much easier. Single compounds can be studied using clinical techniques much easier than whole plants that could contain dozens of active components. In addition it is much easier to manufacture and package single compounds in pure, standardized dosages.
Second, and in my opinion clearly the major reason, it makes drugs far more profitable for drug companies. Isolating and synthesizing a single molecule allows a drug company to patent that molecule. Making slight chemical modifications allows companies to file additional patents. Such exclusivity can be worth billions, whereas a whole plant, produced by nature) offers little opportunity for profit.
While these single compound drugs are easier to take, and are very convenient, they are expensive and rarely do they yield better results than the whole plants they came from. The fact is, the natural, whole plant often is fare superior in both medicinal bendefits and safety.
For example, Dr Andrew Weil did an ethnobotanical study in South America, researching native uses for coca leaf, which most of us know only as the source of the isolated, problematic, addictive drug cocaine. For Andean Indians, whole coca leaf is the number one medicinal plant. They use it to treat gastrointestinal disturbances; specifically, for both diarrhea and constipation (Weil, 2011). From the perspective of Western pharmacology, this makes no sense. Cocaine stimulates the gut, it increases bowel activity, so obviously it would be a good treatment for constipation, but what could it do for diarrhea except make it worse? However, if you look carefully at the coca leaf’s molecular array, you find 14 bioactive alkaloids, with cocaine in the greatest amount. While cocaine acts as a gut stimulant, other coca alkaloids can have precisely the opposite action, they inhibit gut activity. The complex interactions of the 14 active constituents work with the body to allow the body to determine what it needs.
Another example is aspirin. Aspirin was officially invented in 1899. It was the first pharmaceutical. For thousands of years before many cultures used plants that contained Salicylic acid as a pain killer. These plants included willow and meadowsweet. Willow bark has some definite benefits over its synthetic cousin. It does not damage the stomach lining, as Aspirin is known to do in some cases. And, while Aspirin can reduce the tendency for the blood to clot, willow bark does not and for some people that’s a major benefit.
Whole plant medicine provides the opportunity for the body to benefit from multiple active constituents. This means that when you take the whole mixture into the body, the potential is there for body to decide what it needs and what to use. In addition many plants have constituents that mitigate possible side effects. There are hundreds of examples that demonstrate that whole-plant remedies act fundamentally different on the body than synthesized single component drugs. In my opinion whole plant remedies are the better way to treat illness. Western medicine operates by forcing the body to act in a certain way by using powerful compounds that make bodily systems act in a certain way without consideration for the body as a whole.
Don't get me wrong, modern medicine definitely has a place. The science and inventions of modern pharmacology are both valuable and needed. For example, during a case of anaphylactic shock, there is no time for the body’s receptors to select specific effects, so a drug such as pure epinephrine can be lifesaving. When the body is so far out of alignment that it would take to long for natural medicine to work, modern medicine can save lives. However a vast majority of the diseases that plague our society today, such as, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and other chronic, degenerative diseases, there is time to allow the body to participate. As the body heals it will find it own new balance that will not only help it cope with stress in the future but strengthen itself against future attacks.
Bear Berry Essentials LLC is a family business created to fulfill the dream doing something you love to do. Here at Bear Berry we want to provide you with the opportunity to find the healing power that comes from nature. We only carry organic or wild crafted (super organic as we like to call it) products. Join us today in ‘determining our future health’.
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