We may often take it for granted that herbs and medicinal plant supplements are around. But soon this may not be the case – if the planned legislation roles out!
Natural medicines are soon to be regulated in South Africa according to western drug companies manufacturing standards. This may be good for quality control, but lethal to most small to medium health companies that can not afford the hefty sums needed to comply with these regulations-the result of which will be many natural product companies will close down and the natural product market will reduce significantly in size.
So what do we do? As a herbalist I would say then, that to teach oneself about herbs and the healing properties of plants and to make ones own remedies is imperative. The same goes for our food: we need to start growing our own plant foods-you will be surprised as to how much diversity one can add to ones meals from the garden-blueberries being my favourite.
In this way – quietly, we as a society are increasingly being disconnected from plants and nature-that is ourselves. Through smart phone technology and modern day success and busyness we are easily forgetting the garden and what plant foods are good for.
Some may think that all this “herbal medicine stuff” is a fringe interest (that is in fact conditioned beliefs spread by mass media interests) – but if one thinks about it, plant foods and medicines have been our pharmacy, our pantry and our home for millennia, -that is until a few hundred year ago with the rise of the industrial revolution. So at present, the more disconnected we are from plants and nature the faster we are becoming machines-if we let this trend continue.
So are plants unsophisticated?
Hawthorn berry-excellent remedy to prevent heart disease and reduce high blood pressure
We are seeing now through scientific research that plants are not simple or unsophisticated – they produce complex healing substances that work on many different body systems and that they effectively treat many conditions such as cancer with cannabis for example. The issue is most people do not know that infections, stress, heart disease weight problems etc can all be prevented with plants! Ginger is remarkably effective against stomach bugs-boiled fresh -1cm piece in cup boiling water 2-3x a day will stop a gastric-tummy bug, Ashwagandha or Withania somnifera is excellent for preventing stress, Gotu Kola or Centella asiatica that can be grown in the garden easily is great for boosting memory, and what about Hawthorn for heart health, it is proven to prevent heart disease and to help regulate blood pressure…so why don’t most people go the plant route?
The answer is marketing and education. Most people have been flooded with messages from Western Pharmaceutical advertising so that is what they know.
There is not much money in advertising ginger is there-
So let’s become aware that soon most natural products will disappear off the shelves and then it will be up to us to educate ourselves on what plant medicines exist and how to use them.
Empower and Transform Yourself with Natural Medicine!
Jean-Francois Sobiecki B.Sc. Hons. EthnoBot. (UJ), Dipl Clin Nutr. (Aus), is a qualified ethnobotanist-medicinal plant researcher and nutritionist whose research on African medicinal plants is gaining international interest and support (ESPD50-Dr Dennis Mckenna). Jean-Francois holds regular workshops, full day training and private consultations on medicinal plants and nutrition in Johannesburg, South Africa.