For years, pharmaceutical companies threw away the best bits of the plant while the plants themselves 27 looking for that magic bullet. This problem was refl ected in a lesson learned in 1995: fl a vonoids are a component of many plants, but these compounds had been regularly discarded for twenty years.
Flavonoids are now known to be antioxidants— a now old buzzword among the more nutritionally aware. Anti-oxidants are known to inhibit and treat a wide range of illnesses and conditions including cancer, strokes, heart disease, emphysema, late-onset diabetes, rheumatism, arthritis, ulcers, cataracts, Crohn’s disease, senility, arteriosclerosis, and old age; fl avonoids do this by preventing our cells from “rusting” or aging.
In hindsight, this lesson was indeed a bitter and costly one. Now pharmaceutical companies are looking at multispecies herbal formulas, using many herbs in mixtures that are then tested. This is how herbalists have always worked! Our ancestors grazed plants in the days of hunting and gathering, ingesting a broad range of plant species, which kept them well. Now science is beginning to look down this avenue in the hope that its next billion lies at the end of it.
It may well do, but I feel we can graze for ourselves. When some drugs come to the end of their patents and therefore their value as revenues expire (which will be soon, in some cases), the pharmaceutical industry will, no doubt, make an even greater investment in “natural” Green pills.