Sunday, 26 June 2016

Gifts From Mother Nature


**This piece is my first published article and it was featured in one of the last issues of
"Treating Yourself Magazine" in 2012.




Aspirin, otherwise known as Acetylsalicylic Acid, is one of the most commonly ingested preventative medicines today and it came from the bark of the White Willow tree. In the time of Hippocrates, as far back as 400 BC, patients were advised to chew on that bark to reduce fever, pain, and inflammation. In these our days of pre-packaged and ultra-sterile consumerism, few of us remember this fact, along with the fact that so many other commonly ingested medicines  came from plants. In 1829 the compound in the bark called Salicin was used to develop Aspirin. And now its hard to find a person between the ages of 50 and 90 who isn’t taking at least half a pill a day to prevent heart attack and stroke. We give credit to Bayer and a German chemist named Hoffman for this wonder … yet we should be thanking Mother Nature herself.

This example is but the first of so many other examples of how today’s medicines came from something that grew or grows out of the ground. Some people even choose to continue using medicine in its natural form when possible. Rather than making appointments to see M.D.’s, these people visit Naturopaths, Homeopaths, and Herbalists, among others. It’s their choice really … the jury is still out on which keeps us healthier in the long run, and at times it is personal preference alone that decides.

So it follows, that it is possible for us to find medicine in even today’s plants. Google Scholar would tell you that more than 150 new plant species were published in academic journals in 2012, though it’s estimated to be far greater. With technology moving with mach speed momentum, it even follows that we could find medicine in an already commonly known plant or weed.  That’s excitin’ if you ask me!!

This article is about just such a plant. This plant has been around for more than 5000 years and has seen as many changes in societal popularity as a Hollywood starlet. Like most starlets, this plant too is misunderstood. This plant is like the White Willow tree in that it also has medicinal compounds coursing through its organic body; up to one hundred different compounds! In the days of old, the regular practice with most plants was to dry it, boil it or to burn it—not always in that order. Teas, tinctures, and infusions were made and used widely with success. And the beauty was that we all could be our own alchemists, be self-sufficient, grow our own medicinal plants and process them in our own kitchens.

It’s curious to know that ‘grassroot chemists’ of today, who create their own medicine out of this plant are faced with the same challenge Hoffman was faced with almost two centuries earlier: How to get those miniscule moleculesof medicine out of this plant, and into a safe, stable and easily-ingestible form of medicine.

Alas it took a compassionate and loving, Tilly hat-wearing Canadian from down East to do this for us with this plant. ‘This’ being the safe collection of these medicinal compounds into a concentrated form that results in a sort of oily medicine that kills pain, inflammation, and cancer… just to name a few. In this oily medicine are the many compounds I mentioned earlier, in varying degrees depending on what strain of this plant used to make it. Some people are even eating in salad, or juicing in juicers, the leaves of this plant!

This plant unfortunately has a legality issue that has kept it from being discovered as a safe medicine. Most developed countries including our own have programs allowing chronically ill and/or dying people to use this plant, some countries like our own even allow some card-holders to grow this plant.

I have many questions that I ponder and want your perspectives on. Firstly, can we Canadians boast free choice, and not be provided with it? Can you ban something saying it’s for public safety, yet allow other proven dangers like tobacco to be sold openly? The powers-that-be feel that for our safety, cardholders can no longer grow this plant. Meaning, they can no longer make their own medicine, because buying it from some large and approved grower will bankrupt all but a few of the “grassroots chemists” I mentioned earlier.

How long will it be before we’re no longer allowed to make our own food? Will home-made chicken stock be banned because we can’t be sure of the safety of those little bones? I make my own yogurt. How long before that  is banned because the bacteria could somehow go rogue and kill me? Kill me that is, before the tobacco can…. Cough cough. I remember having a mad case of poison ivy as a child. No calamine would cut it so my mom was told by a farmer she worked with, to boil this certain plant and dab my rash with that infusion. How much longer will this still be allowed? What about that ‘bread and milk poutice’ dad used to joke about? Could I someday be a criminal because I choose to use turkey-turds and rain water to treat my acne?

Basically what all of this says to me is that I should buy from someone else, what I can make myself. Are we sacrificing self-sufficiency for what is called a ‘good economy’? So in other words, we Canadians are free as long as we don’t do anything to jeopardize the income of those in the fields of ultra-sterile, pre-packaged consumerism.

This plant is Cannabis. Can we all forget the stigma that surrounds this plant? This weed? Can you for a moment forget every picture you've ever seen of a person smoking this plant? Because that’s not what this is about. This is about a plant that cures disease and diminishes symptoms and side effects rapidly and safely. It’s just a plant like Chamomile and Echinacea, Eucalyptus and White Willow. And it has finally been made into an edible, highly- concentrated form of safe medicine that is saving and/or extending the lives of humans, canines, felines, and loved ones from all sorts of illnesses. And the best part is that we all can make it ourselves.

Finally I ask you this: If they found that rose petals lowered blood pressure, would roses be banned from all gardens? It’s time stop the insanity, stop burying our loved ones, and stop allowing someone else to treat our ills.  With this Cannabis plant, we all have the power to heal ourselves.