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The healing power of nature

July 01, 2018 Curro Cachinero RSS Feed

 

 

Today we are once again talking about the healing power of nature. One must always make a clear distinction between what is evident, what is plausible and what is pure speculation. For example, it is evident that Cistus extract inhibits HIV, Ebola and Marburg viruses in vitro. This does not yet mean that this is also true in humans, i.e. "in vivo". But it would be plausible.

Now polyphenols, flavonoids or whatever molecules can be held responsible for this efficacy. That's interesting in itself. For me, I like to look at it in historical perspective. What distinguishes a wild plant from a cultivated plant? Why do wild plants in particular seem to be the most medicinal?

Around ten thousand years ago, we started to practise agriculture. We grew cereals from a simple grass. Just about everything on our menu today is the result of intensive breeding. This, of course, made it possible to increase yields. On the other hand, the cultivated plants were increasingly "pampered", meaning they would be less and less viable in the wild.

It makes sense to me. A plant that has to hold its own, that has to show strength and adaptability, is likely to be more medicinal than a cultivated, perhaps even a hybrid variety. The hybrid variety may be more productive in the first generation - but it would not be able to survive in the wild. This is exacerbated by genetic engineering, which is now being introduced everywhere. Thanks to the successful lobbying of corporations, genetically modified food is now found everywhere.

I think this is highly problematic because we have absolutely no idea what the long-term consequences will be. It will be even more extreme once we have created our very own plant varieties, as is already happening in the field of synthetic biology. I don't even want to think about in vitro meat, i.e. "meatballs", which are created in nutrient solution.

Let us return to the line of wild plants, cultivated plants, hybrid varieties, genetic engineering, synthetic plants from the laboratory. On the one hand, alleged advantages are increasing, such as nutrient content, yield, alleged resistance to certain diseases, etc. On the other hand, plants are becoming weaker and weaker and completely unable to survive in the wild.

At the same time, our diseases of civilisation are increasing dramatically. From diabetes to cancer to burnout and cardiovascular disease. Is there a connection between our increasingly denatured and industrialised diet and these diseases? There is a lot to be said for it! Maybe we eat too much fast carbohydrates and sugar, maybe we lack the very substances we have successfully bred out of our diets?

Why are wild plants now the more powerful medicinal plants? Because they grow in their natural environment? Because they have to assert themselves in the "struggle for existence" and have developed mechanisms for surviving in the wild? Does this evolutionary "fitness" transfer to us when we use these plants? To me, this is plausible.

Why does rockrose produce so many polyphenols and flavonoids? Because it uses them to protect itself against UV radiation, fungi, viruses and other parasites. What happens when I eat this plant? Either the plant's substances protect me from unwanted invaders or - and this is exactly what needs to be researched - the plant "trains" my immune system. By stimulating my immune system, the plant gives rise to self-healing powers in me, which then overcome everything else. There is still a lot to explore!

 

 



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