March 9, 2013
It’s past time for conventional medicine to step down from its hubristic stance to realize that they don’t know better than nature, that they cannot beat nature, and that they must work with nature, not against her. Until they do, they’ll be no different than any of the other soul-sucking industries that exist by raping the earth of her bounty.
Picasso’s Guernica with Petri Dish Culture superimposed (Petri Dish photo by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)
by Heidi Stevenson
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is again screaming about yet another antibiotic-resistant disease. The latest, a mouthful called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) is resistant to nearly all—possibly all—antibiotics and kills one in two people who get it. That makes it one of the most dangerous infectious diseases known.
The increasing number of antibiotic-resistant diseases is terrifying, but the fact that we need to face up to is that these diseases are all caused by the treatment that modern medicine has relied on as the primary excuse for its existence for decades: antibiotics. These drugs were supposedly the greatest invention ever made. They were going to rescue us from all infectious diseases. We were entering a new era.
And it’s certainly proven true that we’ve entered a new era—but it’s one of far worse diseases than those originally treated with antibiotics!
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) originally burst into headlines as the horrific flesh-eating bacteria. It’s still that, though it’s been given the gentler name of MRSA.
- Clostridium difficile (C diff) has a mortality rate that may run from 10% to 30%. It’s a severe, and often relapsing, disease that causes diarrhea, inability to eat, and lack of energy, not to mention pain.
- Escherichia coli (E coli) is a natural pro-bacterium that normally lives in the human gut. But it’s been turned into a killer disease with antibiotics.
Then we have drug-resistant tuberculosis, along with a range of other diseases that are out of control and more virulent as a direct result of modern medicine’s standard treatment, antibiotics. The age of antibiotics is turning into something entirely different than was envisioned. Instead of an infectious disease utopia, we’re seeing the beginnings of an infectious disease apocalypse—that is, we are as long as the modern medical paradigm stays in effect.
In terms of our individual lives, a few decades is a long time, but in terms of history, it’s a moment. The moment of antibiotics’ glory is passing, being replaced by a time of learning to deal with the horror diseases they’ve created. There is a way, but as Sayer Ji of Green Med Info notes:
Widespread drug resistance marks the end of a certain type of cavalier, medical hubris, and the start of authentic humility within the medical culture. Not only is the conventional medical establishment throwing up their hands in surrender against the “simplest” of organisms – germs – but they are being forced to return to Nature for instruction.
Sayer refers to an example from the Korean Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology titled, Black raspberry root polyphenols exhibit antibacterial activity against drug resistant bacteria. He notes that the root—not the berry—of the black raspberry plant “contains polyphenols which are lethal to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (CRAB), and Bacillus anthracis (Anthrax).” The roots contain these polyphenols because they dig into soil, a potentially hostile environment, while the berries don’t have it because they serve as food for animals that help spread the black raspberry seed.
The fauna and flora of Gaia—our earth, our home—have learned over eons how to survive. Yet medicine presumes to know better. Antibiotics were first used in wars because the most common means of death in war isn’t wounds, but the infections that develop from them. For this purpose, antibiotics worked brilliantly. But it must be noted that wholesale war is a uniquely human quest. Such pursuits in animals exist only momentarily and occasionally, not on the mass scale that we humans engage.
Unlike Sayer, who foresees a new humility coming over modern medicine, I see more of the same. The drug culture of medicine is driven by one thing: greed. The greed of Big Pharma’s profits have always utilized nature’s bounty. They have stolen it, sliced it, diced it, analyzed it, and sterilized it, taking only single molecules and calling them the “active substance”—a piece of nature that does not act alone, but rather acts in concert with the entire plant in cooperative symbiosis. But that allows them to patent that single part of nature, and then to find ways to synthesize it, mass produce it, and charge obscene amounts. And now, government agencies, such as the FDA in the US and the MHRA (Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) in the UK, are eliminating access to the plants themselves and handing sole rights to Big Pharma.
Aspirin is a simple example. It’s derived from the bark of a willow tree. The stuff you buy in a store has little relationship to willows. It is, instead, a mass produced chemical called acetylsalicylic acid. Note that even its name comes from the natural product, as the taxonomic name for willow is Salix. While it has the ability to alleviate pain and inflammation, it does so at great cost with adverse effects that can kill. Willow tree bark, though, is a safe natural product that’s been used through the ages for pain relief.
The cordyceps mushroom has been used in Chinese medicine for ages. Now, though, Novartis AG has patented a chemically-altered substance made by the mushroom and named it fingolimod for use in treating multiple sclerosis. Under their patented brand, Gilenya, they have exclusive rights to sell it and to charge the price they wish. That price is $4,000 a month—$48,000 a year—per patient! In the UK, all Chinese medicinal herbs are now banned. So, anyone in the UK who wishes to take advantage of this beneficial mushroom must either find it on the black market or pay for it. (It may get approved for use by the National Health Service, making it free or very inexpensive, but the reality is that the people pay for it through their taxes.)
Through the saga of the cordyceps mushroom, we can see the reality of how modern medicine’s cohort, Big Pharma, is stealing the gifts of nature, twisting them into “purified” and isolated drugs, and then using governments to eliminate our access to the natural products.
What’s Been Wrought
So now Big Pharma and Big Medicine are stealing our access to natural medicines, as the same old clearly faulty paradigm of suppressing symptoms through powerful and dangerous treatments continues. We’re now entering an apocalyptic world of diseases far more virulent than their ancestors, both in terms of severity of disease and infection aggression. But we’re left with fewer resources, as natural products are being systematically taken from us. That leaves us solely at the mercy of rapacious Big Pharma and Big Medicine’s greedy grasp.
The parade of apocalyptic diseases is on the march. Big Pharma’s pipeline of treatments is fading, other than through the theft of nature, which had always been freely available to us, but is now being withheld through tricks of semantics. If a plant provides a healthy benefit, then it’s redefined as a drug and banished … but then handed over to Big Pharma for profiteering. And the benefits of Big Pharma’s products tend to be illusory, full of life-destroying adverse effects, while we’re unable to access safe and health-producing natural products.
It’s past time for conventional medicine to step down from its hubristic stance to realize that they don’t know better than nature, that they cannot beat nature, and that they must work with nature, not against her. Until they do, they’ll be no different than any of the other soul-sucking industries that exist by raping the earth of her bounty. Gaia’s life, and ours, depend on that paradigm shift.