Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Food as Medicine


Hippocrates wrote, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

I haven’t needed to use Omeprazole (Prilosec) in over a year. A few years ago I went to a German doctor who told me that I would never be able to be off medication for acid reflux. I believed him because German doctors are not as inclined to prescribe medication as most doctors are in the US. He told me that I needed a gastroscopy every three years to examine if I had pre-cancerous cells in my esophagus. I think my restriction of milk and meat is one of the best health decisions I have ever made. I also had gallbladder issues for a long time and that pain is gone as well. The problem is that healthy and dead people are not valuable to pharmaceutical companies, but chronically sick people are a trillion dollar a year business.

The following is a quote from one of my botany textbooks:

Natural plant medicines usually can’t be patented, making financial incentives for needed research much less likely to be forthcoming than they are for the development of pharmaceutical drugs which can be exceptionally profitable to investors. Also, plants can vary widely in the amounts of medicines they produce.

The textbook contains a list of plants in the appendix with medicinal uses. Bloodroot was at one time used against ringworm and as an insect repellent. Many plants have an effect on women’s hormones and can function as a birth control. Cotton root bark was used by black slaves and Native Americans to induce abortions. Horseradish can supposedly be used to treat infections of the urinary tract. Joe-pye weed root is said to prevent formation of gallstones. St. John’s wort is used as a treatment for depression, and in Germany it can only be gotten with a prescription.  

We live in the best time in human history to be healthy. Most people in this country don’t have to worry about contracting cholera or dysentery from contaminated water. We are not prey for large animals or even tiny parasites. Because of antibiotics, there is little risk of dying from infection. In the not so distant past, a freak snowstorm or extra rainy summer created a situation where starvation was a real threat. Nobody should suffer from malnutrition in this country from lack of healthy food, but oddly many obese people are malnourished because of high-calorie nutrient poor foods. What we eat can help us or harm us and it is mainly our choice to use the opportunities we have to be healthy.    

1 comment:

  1. The text books for the Higher Secondary First and Second year students are now available in digital format. In the changing scenario of present day, as the class rooms becoming hi tech, it becomes necessary to adopt similar changes in the case of text books also. DHSE Kerala +2 new Syllabus SCERT/NCERT text books are followed in the State syllabus. While the SCERT books are prescribed for some subjects, NCERT books are followed for certain other subjects.