Herbs vs Pharmaceuticals

In many cultures herbs are medicine and the only medicine used.  Only here in North America are they considered to be simply a flavour additive.

Many herbs have amazing healing compounds, in fact alot of the synthetic drugs that are available and widely prescribed are isolated compounds of a herb. The issue here is that most herbs work best as the entire compound, as nature intended.  Isolating certain properties from them, combining them with synthetic properties and selling them as pharmaceutical drugs is done simply because you cannot put a patent on nature. You can’t “own”or have a patent on white willow bark but you can isolate it’s pain relieving compound salicylic acid and combine it with other ingredients and call is aspirin, which you can patent and sell as your own. Here is a list of a few other medicinal herbs that are used in commonly known drugs:

  • Atropine, used to treat irregular heartbeats-from belladonna leaves.
  • Colchicine, used for gout-from autumn crocus.
  • Digoxin (Lanoxin), the most widely prescribed heart medication-from foxglove, a poisonous plant.
  • Ephedrine, used to widen or relax the airways-from the ephedra plant.
  • Morphine and codeine, potent narcotics-from the opium poppy.
  • Paclitaxel (Taxol), used to treat metastatic ovarian cancer-from the yew tree.
  • Quinine, a drug for malaria from cinchona bark.
  • Vinblastine (Velban) and vincristine (Dncovin), anticancer drugs-from periwinkle.

In no way am I advising you to stop taking any prescription drugs you are currently on but I feel that a need to open your eyes and know what is actually going on is extremely important. Read, research and learn what alternative therapies are out there to help and treat whats going on. More and more people are learning the benefits of herbs and foods as medicines and are reaping the benefits without having to deal with the side effects of today’s “modern medicine”.

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