With earth was the human being created. All the elements served mankind and, sensing that man was alive, they busied themselves in aiding his life in every way. And man in turn occupied himself with them. The earth gave its vital energy, according to each person's race, nature, habits, and environment. –Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), Medieval polymath
Approximately half of the top ten prescription medications in the U.S. might not exist if it weren't for the spectacular biodiversity of the wild natural world.
Modern pharmacopoeia still contain at least 25% drugs derived from plants and many others which are synthetic analogues built on prototype compounds isolated from plants. Since so many of our modern medicines were also derived from plants and such a small percentage have been accurately analyzed chemically, it is certain that there are many more to be discovered. –Professor Sir Ghillean Prance, FRS, Director, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, London
The world's developing countries tend to rely more on what are called "traditional medicines"– or in other words, plant remedies rather than medicinal drugs. Sir Gillian Prance goes on to say:
The World Health Organization has estimated that 80% of the population of developing countries rely on traditional medicines, mostly plant drugs, for their primary healthcare needs.
The drug cortisone comes from wild yams from Mexico and Guatemala and is the active ingredient in birth control pills. Vincristine, derived from the Rosy periwinkle, is used to treat childhood leukemia. Pacific yew, a conifer native to the Pacific Northwest, is the origin plant of a somewhat new medicine for cancer.
Dr. Jim Duke, author of The Green Pharmacy, headed the USDA program seeking anti-cancer drugs in the rainforest for many years with pharmacists and physicians in the rainforests of Costa Rica. MedicineHunter.com says about Dr. Duke,
Dr. James A. Duke's preeminent contribution to USDA and the world is his integrated view of using plants for food, medicine and fuel; informed by his lengthy study of how people in remote jungles successfully use plants for all aspects of their economic existence. You might say that the author of the popular The Green Pharmacy was 'green' before the rest of the world recognized our need to use resources more efficiently. Another important contribution of note: Dr. Duke showed that almost all edible legumes contain estrogenic isoflavones, key cancer modulators.
PHYTO5 relies almost completely on flower and plant essential oils and extracts for our skincare formulations. Synthetic chemical formulations don't make sense to us when nature is so abundant with every healing, nourishing, restoring gift imaginable.
Some of the unique and natural ingredients in our seasonal Fire element line for Summer for example, include: marine algae, essential oils of lavender, lemon, cypress, sweet marjoram, thyme, ylang ylang, corn seed, rosemary, Sylvester pine, grapeseed, jojoba, avocado, rose hips, and peppermint, plus extracts of capsicum and rosemary. Visit the seasonal line of your choice and click through the product image for the list of unique ingredients specific to that product and their health and wellness benefits.
Despite all their promise, fewer than 10 percent of tropical forest plant species have been examined for their chemical compounds and medicinal value. In addition to the tropical plants, there are plants maybe right in your own backyard or in your local park or preserve that are among nature's most exquisite healing benefactors.
We haven't even scratched the surface of the cornucopia of healing gifts the earth has to offer. It's all there waiting for us to discover.
Watch for our next blog post about the mental component to healing and the synergy of mind and natural medicines.
Bingen, Hildegard Af, and Priscilla Throop. Hildegard Von Bingen's Physica: The Complete English Translation of Her Classic Work on Health and Healing. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts, 1998. Print.
United Kingdom. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Global Initiative for Traditional Systems of Health. Medicine Plants for Forest Conservation and Health Care. Ed. Gerard Bodeker. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 1997. Print.