Modern Drugs Made From Ancient Herbal Remedies
Gloriosa superba - Jean-Jacques MILAN
Traditional herbal medicines - like Garlic, Qinhaosu, Periwinkle, Gotukola and Gloriosa - are being used to make new "wonder drugs" by modern pharmaceutical companies!
An interesting verse in the Christian Bible - in verse 9 of the first Chapter of the Book of Ecclesiastes - is as true today as when it was first written in the time of King Solomon.
'History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new'
How topical is this ancient piece of wisdom when one reads in the popular medical press and on the internet about some of the latest drugs being marketed by the technologically advanced western pharmaceutical industry.
Qinghaosu, Artemesinine and Malaria
Take for example, the medicines used to treat malaria. After years of using powerful drugs such as Quinine, Chloroquine and Mefloquine to try and destroy the malaria parasite, medical science has had to grudgingly acknowledge a basic fact: this wily Malaria parasite Plasmodium possesses the uncanny ability to develop resistance to every new remedy that can be flung at it almost as fast as the drug companies get these remedies out on the market.
Hope however has now returned to the horizon in the form of a completely new drug that appeared on the scene a few years ago. The Director General of the World Health Organisation at the time of its introduction even went so far as to describe it as “a dramatic step forward for health.”
Closer examination of this "new" antimalarial drug Artemesinine, however, reveals that it is simply an extract of an ancient Chinese herb called Qinghaosu, which has for eons been used in ancient China as a traditional remedy for fevers. The “drug” was originally described in classic Chinese texts of traditional medicine written more than 2000 years ago!
Medical Benefits of Garlic
With recycling being the fashionable thing to be seen doing these days, the pharmaceutical industry has mastered the art of recycling many age-old remedies from traditional Asian medicine into marketable commodities.
The humble garlic bulb, for example, which has been used by Sri Lanka's Ayurvedic physicians from time immemorial to treat upset stomachs, control flatulence, cure earaches and even keep devils away, is now available in the form of pills - whose greatest virtue is that they are as effective as raw garlic bulbs without having the same offensive effect on noses of the people near the garlic eater. Moreover, folk no longer need to feel guilty about that peculiarly Asian habit of swallowing a clove of garlic whole on an empty stomach each morning to keep their blood pressure under control. As one allows garlic fumes to emanate from every pore of one’s body during the rest of the morning, one can take comfort from the fact that it is all part of this modern concept of "evidence-based Medicine." Scientists have proved that garlic contains wondrous chemicals which exert beneficial effects on blood pressure and clot formation, and help regular garlic eaters to avoid getting heart attacks.
Gloriosa superba, National Flower of Zimbabwe
Another good example is Gloriosa superba, a wild plant that flourishes in moist tropical environments like Zimbabwe, southern India and Sri Lanka. Traditional Ayurvedic medical practitioners in Sri Lanka utilise a paste derived from its roots to treat scorpion stings and insect bites. While all parts of Gloriosa contain the alkaloid Colchicine, which is well known as a remedy for gout and rheumatoid arthritis, the highest concentration is found in the roots. Today, the seeds and roots of Gloriosa provide Western drug companies with colchicine to treat gout sufferers.
As for that generations-old panacea bees’ honey - a computer search of the current medical literature reveals several scientific research papers from around the world describing how to use ordinary bees’ honey as a salve for burns - with results that are even better than those obtained by using standard dressings!