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Fun Fact Friday!

Did you know that many medications, OTC and pharmaceuticals are created from plant isolates?

For instance, Vicks vapor rub contains isolated terpentine, camphor and menthol as well as eucalyptus oil.  Icy hot contains menthol, methyl salicylate and camphor. 

We learned about the Rockefellers in history as becoming rich from extracting oil from the ground.  He started modern medicine with making tonics from coal tar.  He was the first billionaire and used his fortune to dismantle holistic modalities through education and science which brought about modern/western medicine.  “He hired Abraham Flexner to report to congress in 1910 where it was concluded there were too many doctors and medical schools  in America, and that all the natural healing modalities which had existed for hundreds or thousands of years were unscientific quackery.”   Interesting right?

I remember my last boss encouraging holistic modalities.  How much research do you see that says “folklore,” or folk medicine.  I thought it was false, like fairy tales.  Once my interest was struck by my own research, I couldn’t stop researching.  There were way too many claims in the essential oil realm that were promising versus the “snake oil” claims.  It interests me that one American billionaire could change medicine and the way many of us see it.  It interests me even more that is was just over 1 century ago.

“Scientists, through research and careful study and testing, can isolate the chemicals in plants and animals that cure certain ailments. Over time, they’re able to create those substances artificially and use them to produce medicines.” The reason for doing this is because you can patent the synthetic isolates and there is money to be made.  The problem is that these synthetic isolates come with their own set of issues.  We have all seen the pharmaceutical commercials with the side effect listings.  Not to say that plant medicine cannot have side effects, they are just not as common and possibly not as severe.  Many speculate this is due to the synergy of the whole plant. It is possible that while linalool is a relaxant another constituent helps keep that in balance in our bodies and helps us to not have the side effects that could come with just the linalool?  Take a look at wintergreen with about 98% methyl salicylate, this is likely the most contraindicated essential oil on the retail market, could this be because it is almost one pure constituent?

Most of us know that penicillin was created from a specific type of mold. Its discovery, along with many plant medicines, were found by accident.   Willow bark was used back in the times of early Egypt but made into aspirin with the study of the isolate salicyclic acid.  Bayer introduced willow barks synthetic, aspirin, and in 1899 it was a common drug store item around the world.  Recently we see synthetic medications created on the basis on cannabis, Sativex, Marinol, Cesamet are all FDA approved synthetics.  There is Epidiolex, also derived from cannabis but uses highly purified natural CBD isolates.  If you follow Dr. Robert Pappas at all, you will see he is experimenting with isolating natural components such as beta caryophyllene which has been seemingly beneficial in a higher efficacy for at least one purpose.

The research with whole plants is seriously lacking, and needed.  We have synergies with plant medicine, I feel the whole plant is a synergy gifted to us as it is.   I do believe modern medicine has a place and in many circumstances would be wonderful in conjunction with holistic helpers.  I wish there were more qualified holistic health practitioners, or that holistic health was required research with professional medical training.  I will leave you with these questions… Are we too quick to use modern medicine?  Could we have health benefits the same way our ancestors did if we sought natural remedies first?  Would we be healthier in the long run?