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Should we do more research on medicinal properties of plants?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 01, 2011 at 7:04 PM

As a Paleo lifer (100% baby), I feel like it's my responsibility to pounce on any evidence that showcases the untapped, medicinal powers of wild plants.

There is mounting evidence to suggest that ancient alternatives found in nature are not only safer than modern pharmaceutical concoctions but often more effective at prevention and treatment of disease and disorder.

Don't worry, I'm not about to plunge into the rain forest in search of some magic herb that we can pack into a pill and cure all disease as I believe optimal human health hinges on an entire Paleo lifestyle where you exercise plenty, sleep as much as you can, eat well and think positive thoughts.

But I think coffee deserves some attention here for its potential benefits in fighting the aging process.

Coffee addicts and enthusiasts have reason to rejoice as a new clinical study now links coffee drinking to prevention of Alzheimer's whereas drug cocktails have missed the mark.

"No synthetic drugs have yet been developed to treat the underlying Alzheimer's disease process" said Dr. Gary Arendash, the study's other lead author. "We see no reason why an inherently natural product such as coffee cannot be more beneficial and safer than medications, especially to protect against a disease that takes decades to become apparent after it starts in the brain."

Imagine that? More coffee equals less Alzheimer's! That's a strong possibility according to conclusions drawn in this clinical study. Furthermore, the article in ScientificDaily.com states:

An increasing body of scientific literature indicates that moderate consumption of coffee decreases the risk of several diseases of aging, including Parkinson's disease, Type II diabetes and stroke. Just within the last few months, new studies have reported that drinking coffee in moderation may also significantly reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancers.

What do you think about coffee as a medicine against Alzheimer's and other degenerative diseases that seem to strike people in advanced years?

Do you think we should do more research into the medicinal properties of plants?

226b10cbb6b1d3530b00d2d84a2dc86e

(3313)

on July 02, 2011
at 04:43 PM

Thank you for the link! I will definitely read that book! I've been searching for a good botany reference.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 01, 2011
at 07:41 PM

To answer your question, yes, we should investigate herbal remedies. We can't count on diet alone to fix us.

226b10cbb6b1d3530b00d2d84a2dc86e

(3313)

on July 01, 2011
at 07:36 PM

That's fascinating! I'd love to learn more about botany. I rub raw Aloe plant on my face instead of lotion. It feels weird at first but it's a great skin healer and moisturizer.

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on July 01, 2011
at 07:26 PM

I dont think you are far off from suggesting a magic herb! my father in law was a botanist, working for harvard in the jungles of Colombia. He wrote several books all referencing plants and their uses, we use it for alot of things. He was always picking things off plants, trees etc and feeding them to me....hmm, wondering what he was trying to fix now that I think about it!

  • 226b10cbb6b1d3530b00d2d84a2dc86e

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3 Answers

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61a27a8b7ec2264b1821923b271eaf54

(3175)

on July 01, 2011
at 09:31 PM

Yes.

However, it is mind boggling how much research is already going on that will more than likely never result in anything useful to the average consumer. The research needs to turn up something profitable, and therein lies the problem. Let's say someone reads an old text citing birch bark as a cure for cancer. An investor would have to fund a huge project to see if it's true, see if it's dangerous, and then try to isolate the chemicals responsible. More than likely, it will be so expensive to produce a synthetic version it will be dropped as non-profitable. However, if they discover in their trials that all is needed to cure cancer is a hot water infusion and to drink straight birch bark extract, the public would never find out--because it would cut into the investors profitable line of other cancer treatments.

Have you ever read a book such as http://www.amazon.com/Identifying-Harvesting-Edible-Medicinal-Plants/dp/0688114253 ?

I think the knowledge is there, just need a reason to exploit it--or learn how to harvest it yourself.

226b10cbb6b1d3530b00d2d84a2dc86e

(3313)

on July 02, 2011
at 04:43 PM

Thank you for the link! I will definitely read that book! I've been searching for a good botany reference.

3
11dff0119e8ca2babb4acf40a5ef6ac4

(233)

on July 01, 2011
at 08:50 PM

I have a bad history with taking prescriptions for things doctors want to treat, so I tend to look for things I can do or take on my own before I resort to mainstream medical treatment. (Forget diamonds; PubMed is a girl's best friend.) There are a ton of things in the foods we eat (or should eat) that can be used to treat all sorts of stuff.

As for the coffee.... Coffee has been linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and there's some interesting stuff on coffee and insulin sensitivity. Since there's a lot of talk about Alzheimer's being a type of insulin resistance of the brain (or as some are referring to it, type 3 diabetes), it makes sense that coffee might extend some protection in that direction.

For the record, I have arthritis, which I now totally control with diet, curcumin, and grape seed extract. Food is medicine.

2
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 01, 2011
at 07:40 PM

BAMBAM, I think coffee may indeed be very good for a large group of the population. Ray Peat has a lot of good things to say about coffee on his website, so you might want to check out some of his articles there. UNFORTUNATELY, I tend to be rather sensitive to coffee. I could drink it in small quantities every now and then, but I love it so much that it is difficult for me to consume it in small quantities. Just last week, I was visiting one of our lovely Paleohacks Torso Chicks and we shared a couple of cups of coffee together. Even though I consumed the coffee before Noon, I was up almost the entire night. If I drink like that over a period of weeks, I will develop high blood pressure.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 01, 2011
at 07:41 PM

To answer your question, yes, we should investigate herbal remedies. We can't count on diet alone to fix us.

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