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The Secret Of The Medicine Men Essay

, Research Paper Secrets of the Medicine Man: Why they’re better then ours. Thousand of years ago Man, and Beast lived in peace. Then Man grew hungry and decided to hunt beast. Beast grew angry and decided to send disease to man. Man grew weak and sick, and was close to death. Plant took pity upon Man and said, “Do not fear, for death will not visit you.

, Research Paper

Secrets of the Medicine Man: Why they’re better then ours.

Thousand of years ago Man, and Beast lived in peace. Then Man grew hungry and decided to hunt beast. Beast grew angry and decided to send disease to man. Man grew weak and sick, and was close to death. Plant took pity upon Man and said, “Do not fear, for death will not visit you. For every disease that Beast sends you, you will find the cure in us.” (Iroquois 34) This Iroquois folk-tale was used to explain the healing properties of plants. Plants have been used to cure all the aches and pains that have plagued mankind.

There is a large body of research into herbal medicines. Great progress has been made in the isolation and identification of the constituents of medicinal plants using high pressure liquid chromatography and gas chromatography. Research to identify the main active components is carried out either in a search for new drugs or to enable claims to be made for proprietary herbal preparations. Medicinal plants have been generally shown to have not one but a combination of active principles. Once these principles are found, the next step is learning how to synthesize it

The medical industry has been synthesizing medicine for years now. We have become so reliant on the industry, that the very notion of ingesting the plant matter has become sickening. People have even stopped eating balanced meals, in favor of neat multi-vitamins. Most of which have vitamins that cancel each other out. The problems with synthesizing medicine, out weighs the benefits. We should not continue to synthesize our medication.

The first factor that one should consider is the cost of buying synthesizing medication versus taking the natural approach. According to Forbes Magazine consumers spent an estimated $3.5 billion on herbal supplements, almost twice the amount as in 1994. (Forbes 28) However Goldenseal now costs $100 a pound, up from $15 a pound a decade ago. When one considers the fact that it costs $1 billion, and requires 10 to 15 years of R&D to bring out a synthetic drug, one has to wonder why put up with it. The Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI), a small, non-profit organization, estimates that medicinal plants and microscopic organisms from the Third World contribute between US $30-60 billion a year to the US pharmaceutical industry alone.(Brace 14).

On the other side of this discussion there are the United Plant Savers. They are a non-profit organization that is dedicated to saving medical plants. They believe herbs will soon be on the endangered species list. Representatives from the organization say, “There’s one sure way to halt the carnage, however. Just go back to using synthetic medicines made from good old chemicals in good old laboratories. Pop a pill, save a plant!” (Pappas 47) Sharply increasing demand, combined with diminishing habitat and a lack of domestic cultivation, puts

tremendous pressure on wild medicinal herb populations. The National Center for the Preservation of Medicinal Herbs uses the term critical to cultivate to describe medicinal herbs that have been overharvested in the wild to the point that their existence is threatened. They are critical to cultivate because the only way to ensure their future is to grow them, rather than continue to wildcraft them. Herbs valued for their roots—where the entire plant is harvested—are especially vulnerable and are a priority at the Center. Research is being conducted on organic propagation of plants, while wild populations are being protected and nurtured.

There are types of compounds that are, “Mother Natures kitchen, end of story.” (Medicine) These compounds are ones that can not be duplicated with chemicals, and can not be synthesized. These plants must be grown in pseudo-natural environments. However when it comes to rain forest plants, it is a different story. “Man cannot conceive of all the molecules that Mother Nature has developed,” said symposium moderator John H. Cardellina II, of the Council for Responsible Nutrition. (Forbes 28). There are more factors in the rainforest canopy then we can ever measure. Thus the plant must be harvested from nature.

Damage to the environment is another factor in this problem. First off every medical company sends out hordes of ‘biological pirates’. They are untrained hunters who locate medical plants, steal the plant, and return them to the company. The tribes that they were taken from receive no credit, and then are moved off to relocation camps. The problem is even worse is when a large supply is found growing. In an effort to create a monopoly on the product, the company will tear a road right up to the supply. The road will kill thousands of species, and perhaps even kill off organisms vital to the plant’s growth and development. Finally there is the damage to the native population. “ There were nine million natives in the rainforest. Than white man brings flu, small pox, and mescals. Now there are twenty thousand natives. Without counting on your fingers, how many did we shove in the hole!?” (Medicine) The sad truth is that researchers are not as careful as they could be when it comes to preventing contamination.

When one weighs the differences of natural versus chemical, one can see that natural has all the points. None of the compounds will cancel each other out. It is cheaper and funnier to buy the plants, rather then the pills. However when it comes to not damaging the environment, neither side can take the bow. We have caused Plant much harm, yet he still gives us the cures. God knows what will happen when he stops.

Works Cited

Ben-Ari, Elia T. The Future of Bioprospecting. BioScence, May 2000 v50 i5 p472

In text citation: Ben-Ari 472

Brace, Matthew “Power Plants (Pharmaceutical industry’s research in medical plants.)” Geographical, March 2001 v73 i3 p14

In Text citation: (Brace 14)

Forbes “Food Technology” Forbes Jan 11 2000 v54 i9 p 28

In-Text Citation: (Forbes 28)

Gunter, Bert and Dan Holder. “Statistics in Preclinical Research and Development.” Journal of the American Statistical Association. Sept 2000 v95 i451 p998

In Text citation: (Cole 998)

Iroquois folk-tale. “Creation of Medicine” American Indian Folk-tales New York: Penguin Group, 1988. P34

In Text Citation: (Iroquois 34)

Medicine Man. Videocassette. Dir ?? Hollywood Pictures. Sean Connery and Loraine Baracco, 1989

In Text citation: (Medicine)

Pappas, Ben. “Transparent Eyeball: Save the herbs. (Medical plants harvested too mush.)” Forbes, Jan 11 1999 p47

In Text citation: (Pappas 47)

Smith, Anthony Explorers of the Amazon New York: Penguin group, 1990

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Ben-Ari, Elia T. The Future of Bioprospecting. BioScence, May 2000 v50 i5 p472

In text citation: Ben-Ari 472

Brace, Matthew “Power Plants (Pharmaceutical industry’s research in medical plants.)” Geographical, March 2001 v73 i3 p14

In Text citation: (Brace 14)

Forbes “Food Technology” Forbes Jan 11 2000 v54 i9 p 28

In-Text Citation: (Forbes 28)

Gunter, Bert and Dan Holder. “Statistics in Preclinical Research and Development.” Journal of the American Statistical Association. Sept 2000 v95 i451 p998

In Text citation: (Cole 998)

Iroquois folk-tale. “Creation of Medicine” American Indian Folk-tales New York: Penguin Group, 1988. P34

In Text Citation: (Iroquois 34)

Medicine Man. Videocassette. Dir ?? Hollywood Pictures. Sean Connery and Loraine Baracco, 1989

In Text citation: (Medicine)

Pappas, Ben. “Transparent Eyeball: Save the herbs. (Medical plants harvested too mush.)” Forbes, Jan 11 1999 p47

In Text citation: (Pappas 47)

Smith, Anthony Explorers of the Amazon New York: Penguin group, 1990

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