In the United States, medicinal plants don’t get the respect they deserve…
Are natural remedies going up in smoke thanks to Big Pharma’s greed?
Over the past 100 years, Big Pharma has taken over health care with its mass production of synthetic drugs.
Because that’s where the big money is.
You see, Big Pharma can’t get patents on herbs or other natural remedies. So they can’t make any money on them.
But they’ve found a way around that…
They modify them — ever so slightly. They add artificial ingredients. They manipulate molecules.
And in the end they come up with a new synthetic compound that they can patent.
Their latest experiment is with marijuana.
The FDA is reviewing a cannabis-based drug called Epidiolex. The drug is made from an ingredient in cannabis called cannabidiol, or CBD. It does not contain THC, the mind-altering part of cannabis.
The drug will be used to treat children with rare forms of epilepsy. That makes sense since earlier research showed compounds in marijuana could help reduce seizures.1
But turning this plant into a money-making drug is just the latest sneaky grab by major corporations. They’ve done this sort of thing before…
Since 1981, there have been 847 new drugs and 275 of them were derived from natural products.2 Today, about 25% of all drugs are derived from plants. And since the 1940s, 60% of new anticancer drugs can be traced back to natural products.
Here are just a few examples of plants turned into drug profits:
- Two hundred years ago morphine was produced from opium extracted from poppies. These flowers were used for thousands of years to fight pain and promote sleep.
- Before recorded history, molds were used to treat infections in Greece, Egypt and India. In 1938, penicillin was derived from molds to become the first antibiotic.3
- Herbalists used the herb foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) for congestive heart failure. Today it’s used to make the drug digoxin for atrial fibrillation.
- The cancer drug Paclitaxel comes from the bark of the Pacific yew tree (Taxus brevifolia). This bark was used by Native Americans to make anti-inflammatory treatments.
Every year, I log over 20,000 miles searching the world for natural herbs and remedies to bring back to you.
And there are thousands of them…
Millions of people around the world rely on natural herbal remedies. They use flowers, barks, herbs, fungi and more.
In Africa, up to 90% of people depend on traditional medicine. In India, 70% use natural remedies as their health care. In China, more than 90% of general hospitals have units for traditional medicine.4
Two Traditional Cures that Work as Well as Big Pharma’s Pills
Nature’s medicines are more affordable and less toxic than Big Pharma’s synthetic chemicals. Here are two traditional remedies I recommend instead of their test-tube versions.
- White Willow Bark: Herbal Aspirin. As far back as 400 B.C., Hippocrates had his patients chew on bark from white willow (Salix alba). It relieved pain, cooled fevers and reduced swelling. Its active compound is salicylic acid, the basis for today’s aspirin.
The respected Cochrane Collaboration did a review of 10 clinical trials on white willow bark. They found it relieves low-back pain fast. In fact, it was just as good as the drug Vioxx.5 It also relieves arthritis pain in knees, hips and other joints.
White willow bark won’t upset your stomach or cause GI bleeding like aspirin might. And it stays in your system longer for more lasting relief.
To help with fevers, drink three cups a day of white willow bark tea. Also look for white willow bark extract in capsule form. Get an extract standardized to 120 mg or 240 mg of salicin. I recommend 240 mg per day. You should notice results in about a week.
Just one caveat… Don’t take white willow bark if you have an allergy or sensitivity to aspirin. Also avoid it if you have a peptic ulcer or kidney disease.
- Cod Liver Oil: Nature’s Omega-3. Cod liver oil has been used for hundreds of years to treat appetite problems, rickets, tuberculosis and even a weak heart. It’s rich in omega-3 fats, as well as vitamins A and D.
In 2004, the FDA approved the drug Lovaza. It isolates ethyl ester compounds from omega-3s in fish oil. It’s sold as a prescription source of omega-3s.
But you don’t need the drug. You get as much omega-3s from cod liver oil. And since it’s not patented, it doesn’t cost as much.
Look for cold-pressed oil with a lemon flavor. One tablespoon a day will give you over 1,200 IU of vitamin D.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Kolikonda MK, et al. “Medical marijuana for epilepsy?” Innov Clin Neurosci. 2016;13(3-4):23-26.
2. Newman DJ, Cragg GM. “Natural products from marine invertebrates and microbes as modulators of antitumor targets.” Curr Drug Targets. 2006;7:279–304.
3. Dougherty TJ, Pucci M. Antibiotic Discovery and Development. Berlin: Springer Science & Business Media; 2011:79-80.
4. Wachtel-Galor S, Benzie IFF. Herbal Medicine: An Introduction to Its History, Usage, Regulation, Current Trends, and Research Needs. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 1.
5. Gagnier JJ, et al. “Herbal medicine for low back pain.” Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006;(2):CD004504.