By: Daniel Lebo
Many years ago, I heard that the Amazon rainforest was the single most important place for modern medicine. The plants, herbs, and botanicals found in this legendary region hold the keys to healing some of our most life threatening illnesses. When disease and infection creep their way into our lives, we instinctively turn to our trusted medical professionals for much needed relief. But historically, who do these professionals turn to for the answers to our health issues? Mother Nature and Father Time. The intent of this article is not to disparage the work of our scientists, researchers or the medical community as a whole. My intent is to raise awareness about the healing properties found in nature. A subject that effects every being walking the earth. The more we as a society grow to value our natural surroundings, the more we will collectively uphold our responsibility to the planet we call home. The human body is composed of elements that can be found in nature, and once this knowledge is acquired, a walk in the park is a more enriching experience than just a way to burn some calories.
Every flower, tree, leaf, root, vine and berry become an object of wonder. Our ancestors learned some very hard lessons through trial and error. I can only imagine the first time a human came across poison ivy or some of the worlds deadliest plants. Those that came before us have passed on some valuable information via herbal remedies, folk medicine and natural cures. To quote the late great Amadou Hampâté Bâ “When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground.” I absolutely love technology and the advancements of our modern day world, but I maintain a sincere concern over the possibility of a future that is not anchored in the foundation that previous generations have built.
According to archeologists, we have been using plants for medicinal purposes for more than 60,000 years. So often our society is quick to dismiss such an amazing feat with the label of folk medicine, alternative medicine, quackery, etc. Yet with a little research and our friend Google, one can find generations of knowledge and historical data that speak to the power of the plants that we all take for granted. So I implore you dear reader, don’t take it from me, do your own research and come to your own conclusions. Dig deep and you will find that at the beginning of the 21st century, eleven percent of the 252 drugs considered “basic and essential” by the World Health Organization were “exclusively of flowering plant origin.”