Herbs vs. pharmaceuticals: Understanding the effectiveness of natural medicine

(Natural News) Few would argue over the importance of trace elements when it comes to human nutrition. Though only a small amount of these essential nutrients is required, they are nonetheless integral to your well-being. Trace elements include nutrients such as copper, iron, manganese, selenium and zinc.

But when it comes to natural cures, it often seems like the importance of trace elements is forgotten. While it is quite true that many plants contain medicinal compounds, the notion that trace elements aid in the therapeutic effect of plant medicines has been widely ignored — especially by the pharmaceutical companies who isolate medicinal compounds from plants for profit.

The idea of this synergy between medicinal plant compounds and trace minerals is hardly far-fetched; research has consistently shown that some nutrients work extremely well together. For example, vitamin C is known to help support iron absorption. It’s well within reason to suspect that trace elements have a similar effect on medicinal plant compounds — and now, researchers are hoping to confirm this suspicion.

A study published in the African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines looked at the trace elements in a number of plants commonly used in herbal medicine. Snow lotus, goji berry, saw-wort and black wolfberry were included in the study, and the researchers analyzed the content of five trace elements in the four plants. Levels of copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), selenium (Se) and zinc (Zn) were measured for each plant.

Ultimately, the researchers posited that these trace elements play a significant role in the therapeutic capacity of traditional herbal medicines. In fact, they note that up to 205 trace elements may contribute to the plants’ medicinal uses. Their research also led them to conclude that the four plants “provide a beneficial source of some elemental micronutrients.”

As the researchers contended, “Whereas the studies of pharmacological properties and chemical composition have been mainly researched, little attention has been paid to the inorganic components of the rare medicine. Unlike synthetic drugs, herbal medicine is a synergistic system comprising multiple and complicated components.”

The team stated further, “Trace elements play an important role in the plant metabolism and biosynthesis as cofactors for enzymes, and also play an important role in the formation of the active chemical constituents present in medicinal plants.”

Though more research is needed to fully understand how trace minerals interact with medicinal plant compounds and expand their efficacy, past research has also indicated that trace nutrients are indeed of great importance.

For example, research from 2016 showed that a number of trace elements played a substantial role in the blood glucose-lowering effects of plant medicines commonly used to treat diabetes. Researchers from Eritrea looked at the trace elements found in a native aloe plant, Bengal sage, Garden cress, black mustard and fennel — which are all used in traditional diabetes treatment in Eritrea. They found that trace elements like zinc, chromium, manganese and selenium were critical to the plants’ medicinal benefits….

https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-31-understanding-the-effectiveness-of-natural-medicine.html

I guess they’re using “trace elements” and “trace compounds” interchangably.   In any case, in a way it’s only common sense.   Nutritional synergy and complexity seems to be the rule rather than the exception.   People don’t eat carbon or selenium or vitamin A for breakfast.   The reason that dirt isn’t as nutritious as the plants that grow from it is that the plants combine the nutrients into more bioavailable compounds, which degrade or biodegrade with time after the plant dies.   We’re riding the crest of a wave of complexity fueled by solar energy.   No wonder a gut microbiome is so important, we’re carrying around a bit of that environmental complexity with us.    If we only had a light source in there ….

Profound revelation #7: avoid processed foods and seek out herbal alternatives to pharmaceuticals.   And farm organically without soil depleting runoff.   And stop supporting the corporate AI which is poisoning you.   And pick up your room.

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