Monday, September 3, 2012

Local, local, local

It drives me crazy when I hear about chinese this and japanese that and how this african tree is perfect for whatever.

For people who live in those areas, sure. However, I have always felt that it's better to use what's around us. First, if you can't afford the latest miracle cure from the depths of a tahitian jungle, your knowledge of the local herbs might make up the lack. Second, if those things are no longer available, for whatever reason, you still have other things to fall back on.

Many people rely on the foreign and exotic, when in most cases there are things immediately around them that have the same or nearly the same effect. Mahuang, otherwise known as ephedra, otherwise known as brigham tea, grows wild in the deserts of the western United States. Aloe, recognized as a semi-tropical and tropical shrub, has relatives in most climates all over the world.

Often in herbal books I see a statement that this plant grown in some faraway place has medicinal properties but the local versions are unproven to have those same properties. Apparently, until they are proven to be identical they are not sufficient, in spite of nearly identical chemical properties. Or this version, available in small quantities from some other place, has been shown to work in medical studies while that version, widely available and often growing as a weed, has not been the subject of medical studies and is therefore suspect.

So again, exotic is better. So say those who are peddling the exotics.

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