Friday, March 29, 2013

Natural Remedies Aren't

Recently I wrote about the only "natural remedy" there is: letting "Nature" do its job. Now the point was that there are other things – herbs to name one – that are branded as "natural remedies".

The problem I have with this is that: while they might seem like "natural" (coming from "nature"), and while they may or may not remedy an disease/illness/ailment (with not actually helping being quite likely), they are not "natural remedies". The point is those "natural remedies" have not evolved to help us. Evolutions does not work like that. Plants don't have the "intention to help us, they simply don't "want" to be eaten (with some parts of plants in the form of fruits being the notable exception), and develop (through evolution) defences against being eaten in the form substances that interfere with (among others) the metabolism of the animal/bacteria/whatever trying to eat the plant. Now these substances have pharmacological "side" effects that can be beneficial in some cases.

BTW: By the same measure we should brand penicillin as a "natural remedy", which should make obvious how ludicrous the term "natural remedy" is. A more appropriate term would be "traditional remedies" (if they actually are traditional, that is), which would do away with the image of the "kindness" associated with the word "natural". It still leaves us with an medicine with unverified profile of benefits and harms, as we know that people are superstitious and will believe all kinds of BS will help – just take a look what traditional remedies were against the black plague and then again tell me what is so special about "traditional remedies".

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