Why Plants Are (Usually) Better Than Drugs

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Why Plants Are (Usually) Better Than Drugs

Postby gw » 22 Nov 10, 3:30 am

Why Plants Are (Usually) Better Than Drugs

I have always been fascinated by the difference between plants and the drugs that are isolated from them. This goes back to my student days at Harvard in the 1960s, where I received my undergraduate degree in botany, and then went on to medical school. It's rare -- too rare, I have to say -- for botanists to become doctors. The experience gave me a unique perspective on health and medicine.

For four decades, I've been skeptical of a prevailing belief in Western medicine: when a plant shows bio-activity in humans, we must attribute that effect to a single, predominant compound in the plant. We label that the "active principle," isolate it, synthesize it, and make a pharmaceutical out of it. Then, typically, we forget about the plant. We don't study any of the other compounds in it or their complex interactions.

This belief persists for two reasons. First, it makes research much easier. Single compounds can be manufactured in pure, standardized dosages, which simplifies clinical trials. (However, technology has largely solved this problem. Modern growing and processing methods make it possible to produce standardized, complex, whole-plant-based medicines. Clinical trials of these compounds have become quite sophisticated, especially in Europe.)

the rest of the story a huffington post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-we ... 85139.html

Re: Why Plants Are (Usually) Better Than Drugs

Postby Jack Flash » 22 Nov 10, 11:19 am

Human beings and plants have co-evolved for millions of years, so it makes perfect sense that our complex bodies would be adapted to absorb needed, beneficial compounds from complex plants and ignore the rest. This is an established fact in nutrition, but the West's sharp distinction between food and medicine somehow blinds us to these properties when it comes to botanicals. The most successful medical philosophies make no such division -- Okinawans, the world's longest-lived people, believe that the food they eat is "nuchi gusui" which roughly translates as "medicine for life."

I agree - not that that makes any difference ;)
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Re: Why Plants Are (Usually) Better Than Drugs

Postby cerina » 22 Nov 10, 5:46 pm

Another interesting article. :thumb: More and more time and money is being spent at 'revisiting' plants that were previously dismissed for one reason or another.
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