Green Pharmacy

Green Pharmacy

Green Pharmacy. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.

My wife and I a big advocates of natural foods and medicines. We both believe that nature has provided everything we need for what ails us. Former USDA Botanist Dr. Jim Duke has spent his life learning about herbs and store bought drugs and his Green Pharmacy Garden is an extension of his research.

DUKE: We call this a teaching garden because we’re not taking anything off for sale although occasionally we’ll take something off to eat or to self-medicate. And we like for the student to see the plant as it changes its energy. In this garden we’ve got 80 plots, each for a disease and we’ve got the best herbs for those diseases that we can round up. In some cases they are very competitive with the pharmaceuticals.

In fact a great deal of pharmaceuticals you take for various ailments are based on an herb or other natural compounds. Duke says these are familiar to your body.

DUKE: I think that you co-evolve with the chemicals, the thousands of chemicals in all these plants and your body knows them and uses them and if it needs it and you give it that food it will grab that like it’s a menu and so your body selectively mines the herb with its 5000 chemicals all genetically familiar to you.

Natural compounds would be much more likely to be accepted by the body as opposed to chemicals that are artificially created. He says the body would take what it needed and reject what it didn’t need.

DUKE: It wastes vitamin C if it doesn’t need it; it goes off in the urine. And that’s what we can homeostasis, grabbing what’s needed and excluding what’s unneeded. And I believe strongly in homeostasis and I believe that’s why a single pharmaceutical is not nearly as liable to do you some good as one food plant.

After a 32 year lucrative career examining plants for the Department of Agriculture, this scientist uses his pharmacy garden as a teaching ground for those studying herbal medicines. This lifelong quest for Duke began during a stint in Panama.

DUKE: I had to learn everything the natives in the jungle were eating in case we were to dig a canal through there with nuclear devices. In that period I learned from those Indians with whom I was working, their whole pharmacy came from their forest and I said there must be something to this folk medicine and I spent the rest of my life trying to prove that the folk medicine is very often right and believe me the older I get, I think the wiser I get, the plants are better medicine than what we are usually getting.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Northwest Ag Information Network.


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