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eliminate 99% of all medication with permaculture polyculture?  RSS feed

 
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If eating well cured everything, why did herbal medicine develop?

I have no doubt eating good food grown from good soil makes for a good life but lets not push it past the point of reality.
 
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I think some people see medicinal plants as part of the diet, grown in a perennial polyculture.

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."

– attributed to Hippocrates
 
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Michael Bushman wrote:If eating well cured everything, why did herbal medicine develop?

I have no doubt eating good food grown from good soil makes for a good life but lets not push it past the point of reality.



This is actually a really good question, and I think why the title of this thread is "eliminate 99%" not "get rid of all".

The very first post in this thread mentions some authors, including Michael Pollan, who write about how the modern diet is directly related to a whole host of diseases like heart, cancer, diabetes, &c. Give them a read, there is some interesting stuff there.

So, if there is a correlation between industrialized food (aka, The Western Diet), where societies on traditional diets who have very low cases of these illnesses, change to the Western Diet, and suddenly have shockingly high cases of these illnesses... then what about the other way around? What if people stopped eating an industrialized diet, and returned to (as close as is possible in this day and age) a pre-industrial diet where they make their own cheese, eat organic, home grown foods, &c. Do they get healthier? Yes. There are plenty of studies that show that in just a few months, the negative effects of the modern diet are reduced and the body begins to heal.

What if we took this and added permaculture to it? The theory is that permaculture polycultures can make plants more nutritious than their monoculture counterparts. So maybe there is some benefit there. We also know that a polyculture diet is more beneficial to our health than just a few staple foods.

So why did herbal medicine develop? Because not everything is fixable by diet (that 1%). Broken bones, external illness vectors (malaria, TB, typhoid, war, famine), environmental (open cook fire with poor ventilation, storms, earthquakes), &c. All sorts of things are not preventable via diet alone. A good number of these are no longer relevant (at least not where I live, they are elsewhere) in The West. Sanitation, lack of war, backups to reduce the effect of food shock and crop failures, &c. This eliminates a huge number of possible illnesses we get, leaving us with the modern, industrial diseases... which are, if not always curable, we can at least mitigate their effects and prevent the next generation from having the same problems: via diet.

So yah, lots of reasons to have herbal medicines. That's what the 1% is for.
 
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I agree, diet goes a LONG way in producing great health, but genetic factors beyond the scope of diet can also cause some problems.

And I think it's important to remember, even before processed foods, there were still unhealthy habits - smoking tobacco and opiates, alcohol - I just recently read a story about an ancient civilization in the mountains that drugged sacrificial children over the course of several months to prepare them for their ritual.

Even outside of that, herbal medicine was used for common ailments that just came with natural hormonal fluctuations, like headaches, migraines, menstrual symptoms, etc. I was just reading about how mountain sagewort was used by the Indians as a menstruation remedy.

Diet goes a long way, but genetic and environmental concerns definitely fall into that little 1% category as well.
 
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I quote POGO "we have met the enemy and he is us"

Humans today have created a world built around; cramming people together, eating has become convenience eating (fast foods, very processed foods), Sugar and fat are the biggest part of these readily accessible foods.
Then there are the stress factors coming at us from all directions, work, traveling to and from work, house work, visiting family and others, breathing polluted air, drinking polluted water and many more things.
The hectic pace civilization has demanded also leads to monetary stress (how do I pay for all the luxury items I want/need, how do I get enough rest, etc.)

It is no wonder then, that humans are for the most part unhealthy, it comes from all avenues of how the status quo demands us to act/ live.

Herbal medicines came about as a natural method of resolving body issues that come up from time to time as a result of living life.
If you can live in a stress free (not even way back when was this possible) eat a fully comprehensive diet of all natural foods, then you perhaps would not need herbal medicine to bring the body back into balance.
In the ancient times in the Americas, there were stresses such as wild animal attacks, famine, lack of game because it moved faster than humans could, other humans attacking to take what you had or another reason.
Weather also came into play for stress as it does now then there was the time to move on, so you had to pack everything up and go find another suitable space to live until it was again time to move on.
Since stress is a part of the human condition (as it is for all living things) it would be impossible to only use food for being healthy.
Balance is the true key to healthy living, if this approach is used, then stress is balanced along with everything else.


So, yes humans could stay well through just diet but you would not be happy since to do so would mean being a hermit and the lack of contact with other humans would end up being a stress factor.
Plus you would end up with stress when the wild animal came to investigate those tempting smells you created with the food you gathered around you.

I think the best we can do is to reduce our stresses to at least a manageable amount, eat the best grown foods we can, and keep a medicinal garden for when we need to get back into balance.
A body that is in balance is a healthy body. Stress is the great attacker of balance and it is nearly if not totally impossible to live life and not encounter stress on occasion.
 
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paul wheaton wrote: ... Right now, do you take vitamins?  Herbs?  Medication?  Do you eat a certain way in order to mitigate some health issue? 

... The organic food you buy at the store:  was it grown in monocrop rows?

When you plant your gardens this year, will it be in rows?  Even if you use companion planting, will you have one or two companion plants or dozens?

...


Hi Paul, I don't know if you really want answers to those questions. But anyway I'll answer.
- All vitamins I 'take' come from the food I eat, including herbs (fresh and dried).
- The food I buy is probably grown in monocrop rows, it isn't from permaculture.
- So I do my best to grow food in my garden, where I do my best to get a 'miniature food-forest'. So no monocrop rows, but all kinds of plants / shrubs / trees companying eachother. This will take several years, it is not yet as I want it to become ... but it's going the right direction
-B.t.w. I did not take any pharmaceutical medication since many years. There was no need for that, because I wasn't really sick / ill. The last time I had a 'flu' was about 8 years ago, for only 2 days (which I survived easily without any medication).
 
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Michael Bushman wrote:If eating well cured everything, why did herbal medicine develop?

I have no doubt eating good food grown from good soil makes for a good life but lets not push it past the point of reality.



The term "cure" has become the epitome of misinformation when it comes to nutrient dense eating. I think it's been spun into something it never was. Eating well is more about prevention and/or feeding the body what it needs to heal damage, not necessarily a "cure".

For example, I can spin my dad's health into miracle cures easily. I put him on a diet straight out of a couple of popular plant based eating books. Five months later, while he was on chemotherapy this was the reality:

His stage 4 kidney disease was reduced to stage 2 and he was no longer under threat of dialysis.
His heart disease healed so rapidly he was removed from all statins, high blood pressure medications and accompanying supplements.
His intestines and colon started working again to the point his constipation medication was cut in half and he didn't need it every day, but he had to back up those "working too good" days with absorbent undies.
And the most important medical improvement of all; the leaky heart valve he'd had for 17 years healed well enough that it was pumping blood at a normal rate and pressure. His cardiologist for 15 years even noted on his records "Congratulations on the diet".

So, is this a cure? No it's not. I wouldn't consider anything that should be common sense to be a miracle cure. However, eating properly can absolutely be very powerfully healing. My dad was a living, breathing example of what Gramma used to say, "You are what you eat.". If you don't consume enough healing properties from food to repair the damage subjected on your body daily that's when illness and disease can develop. I liken the "cure" thing as similar to the "miracle" of childbirth but there are many people who disagree with my opinion.

Everyone has their own view of "reality". It doesn't make theirs any less or more accurate than anyone else's.

Do I agree with Paul's assessment that 99% of all medication can be eliminated? I'm more in the 90% crowd because there are other factors such as exposure to pollutants, stress and such but I definitely agree that we aren't going to get there via ginormous commercial farming and food production.
 
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i am sorry that i did not have time to read this whole thread. i have worked with more than 100 folks with end stage cancer. this means that their doctors had sent them home to die. what i found with those folks which may be relevant to this thread.

1) they lead very busy lives, which i might call rat race lives. part of my work was to have them find what they really wanted to do with their lives, eventually what work they found rewarding.

2) I asked them to eat a lot of vegetables, mainly green organic vegetables. I did not know them (1986 - 1990) what i know now in terms of growing vegetables.

3) i worked aligning their body energy fields which can occur with homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic and a lot of other methods.

4) i advised them to drink healthy water. water from springs is healthy water. there are methods of making structured water that imbue water with life force.

what value i see in permaculture polyculture vegetables comes from vegetables that are not irrigated and not fertilized. there is something called the briggs scale which measures sugars in the plants. in an organic carrot or chemically fertilized carrot the reading might be 5. in a permaculture carrot which is not fertilized or irrigated it might be 30. i hear these tests are not always accurate for what we want, as variability can happen.

what is important here is what makes some vegetables more nutritionally valuable or vibrant than others. the dynamic accumulator effect of many vegetables and weeds growing together in conjunction with increased carbon content in the soil because of soil microbiology can mean mineral content in the plant, which briggs is somehow measuring. there are probably some tests (expensive, i would assume) that would measure micromineral content. the biodynamic folk have some ways to measure life force of the plant, a discussion for purple permaculturists.

something which is not talked about a lot in permaculture is that too much water can cause problems just as too little water causes problems. in traditional indian agriculture the term wamphasa is used. it means a damp place where the plant roots can draw moisture. this is also a whole other discussion about the 10,000 year history of sustainable agriculture in india and the relationship between hunter/gatherer and agriculture where the agriculture is in a sustainable ecosystem.

so what is really happening in a system where a balanced ecosystem is working, the soil is alive, there is wamphasa. The plants are not being pushed. what do not pushed plants look like. plants do not have a mechanism for shutting down too much food. they are accustomed to getting their food from mulch. when they get too much of something, say phosphorus they take it up in their cells. then they are out of balance and then they want a lot of water to balance the phosphorus. when they get this water they have a lot of new growth. however this is out of balance and attracts plant diseases and pests. the plants are not healthy. i read about this mechanism in a scientist's book, “Regenerating the Soil” by Claude Bourguignon. Eventually some scientist will follow this up to what happens to the humans eating these vegetables. Since most science is funded by Big Ag or the people who make money from selling us things, i have not seen this happening yet. personally in my life i have not waited for scientists to come up with the mechanisms for my food needs. I want to eat the healthiest food I can and in this case it is polyculture vegetables, polycuture grains, polyculture fruits and nuts, etc.
 
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Just personal experience here, after approximately 7 years and a horrendous health crash....

Eating 'better' can make a serious difference. I am almost totally off all commercially produced foods. I had to cut out sugar, salt, and wheat/rye/barley and go vegan for medical reasons. I reversed or am controlling three issues with just diet and one is a lot more easily managed. A so called 'western' diet is not good for you, and the last 30-40 years is where varieties changed as well as processing methods and additives, and turned things into the modern nightmare.

Growing your own, and sourcing for stuff (aka 'true organic') and doing more of your own processing/cooking so you know what you're eating; can make a massive difference. Food can be 'medicine' in that it can make you healthier and keep you healthier. It is controlling what is going on within and without your own self by what you eat. I eat various herbs as well, as they are beneficial in helping me deal with what is going on. Some of my issues are genetic, and were off the chart on that medication wouldn't touch it, and it would kill me. As I said I was alone as western medicine couldn't help. I had type II diabetes for four years, I am now considered 'normal'.

My spouse has changed some of his eating habits too and is appreciating a measureable and noticeable difference in his overall health and life as well.

You can make things better. I am a realist, I am still under the care of a very good western medicine doctor (who is for less than more, medication), but, by the same token, managing a much better quality of life with less medication. My emphasis has had to be balancing nutrition, but. My garden is now feeding me this year, more than ever. You might be able to significantly reduce your need for additional treatment, yes. (I am down from 7 medications plus blood sugar testing, to one, which may be for the rest of my days. Beats what I had). Also, no nutritionist was able to help me, I had to learn on my own, build my own diet plan, and have things checked for am I truly balancing my diet (blood testing, extensive blood panel) and am returning that I am indeed doing things properly. I have also learned I can say no, even to my doctor. There is enough information out there now, that one can do their own research. Hence I went for non-medication methods of controlling what was going on, and succeeded.

What you eat is definitely a 'medicine' in that it helps you stay healthy and feel better. Permaculture is a low impact local way to provide such. Yes, Polyculture is a new and old weapon in the battle. You ARE what you eat. I don't consider this a 'cure' I consider this 'management'. I took control of and MANAGE my life and my health much better through a better diet.
 
r ranson
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Deb, thanks for sharing your story. I've had a similar experience to yours, which I control through diet.

Deb Rebel wrote:Also, no nutritionist was able to help me, I had to learn on my own, build my own diet plan, and have things checked for am I truly balancing my diet (blood testing, extensive blood panel) and am returning that I am indeed doing things properly.



This is exactly the problem I'm having. When I learned about my diet, I quickly out paced the ability of a nutritionist to help me. The ones here are trained to recommend pre-packaged foods and follow the government dietary guides. They don't know where the food comes from, or that MSG is (usually) made from something I'm allergic too - first thing I learned. Going through the food journal, they want to know what brand of xyz I ate, then get totally baffled when I said, I made the pasta, I made the cheese, I grew the vegetables and the eggs... they don't know what to say.

I'm actually wanting to consult with a dietary expert again, since we've removed red meat from the diet (for other reasons). I feel my diet is unbalanced, but where to turn for help? Naturopaths are okay, but I haven't met one that is on top of controlling health through diet alone (no vitamin pills, allergic to the fillers).

I think there is a desperate need for nutritionists (the kind the doctor sends us to, so it's officially recognized) that understand a homegrown diet.
 
Deb Rebel
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R Ranson, purple mooseage me and I will be glad to share with you my efforts in replacing the protein with non-muscle-tissue sources. For me getting the daily protein was and still is the most difficult. I had to cut it out because of the cholesterol in hard protein. I am still using some suppliments but found fillers I can stand, and am still working towards a fully balanced natural diet. At least I have a base I can work from and am diligently doing so.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Robbie Asay wrote:.... For example, I can spin my dad's health into miracle cures easily. I put him on a diet straight out of a couple of popular plant based eating books. Five months later, while he was on chemotherapy this was the reality:

His stage 4 kidney disease was reduced to stage 2 and he was no longer under threat of dialysis.
His heart disease healed so rapidly he was removed from all statins, high blood pressure medications and accompanying supplements.
His intestines and colon started working again to the point his constipation medication was cut in half and he didn't need it every day, but he had to back up those "working too good" days with absorbent undies.
And the most important medical improvement of all; the leaky heart valve he'd had for 17 years healed well enough that it was pumping blood at a normal rate and pressure. His cardiologist for 15 years even noted on his records "Congratulations on the diet".

So, is this a cure? No it's not. I wouldn't consider anything that should be common sense to be a miracle cure. However, eating properly can absolutely be very powerfully healing. My dad was a living, breathing example of what Gramma used to say, "You are what you eat.". If you don't consume enough healing properties from food to repair the damage subjected on your body daily that's when illness and disease can develop. I liken the "cure" thing as similar to the "miracle" of childbirth but there are many people who disagree with my opinion.

Everyone has their own view of "reality". It doesn't make theirs any less or more accurate than anyone else's.

Do I agree with Paul's assessment that 99% of all medication can be eliminated? I'm more in the 90% crowd because there are other factors such as exposure to pollutants, stress and such but I definitely agree that we aren't going to get there via ginormous commercial farming and food production.


That's good news, Robbie, for your father and you. You were in time to start the 'healing process' of a healthy diet.
I tried the same for my husband (who had some different chronical diseases). But, I am sorry to say, for him it was too late. His body was too damaged by the life he led before we knew eachother (lungs, colon, blood-vessels by smoking, drug- and alcohol-abuse and unhealthy living in general). At least he added some better years to his life. At least, that's the opinion he and I shared. It wasn't only the diet, but also the spiritual well-being he found.
 
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After 42 years my wife still has trouble adopting my diet. Her family probably only did about 1/3 the homesteading my family did. So she succumbs to processed foods too often.
The dietitian trying to help her with diabetes finally gave her the ultimatum no more wheat. So my wife recounted my diet. When she got to my salads the dietitian responded "Well you know the bitterness in the dandelion leaves would be really good for your liver." With the growth of the natural food movement In the grater Seattle region dietitians have to be a little more progressive.
If you want to fallow along as I build my salad start here in the harvest photos. I did not include the long dandelion leaves but they are at the base of the snapdragons because that planter is leaking.
 
Deb Rebel
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Hans Quistorff wrote:After 42 years my wife still has trouble adopting my diet. Her family probably only did about 1/3 the homesteading my family did. So she succumbs to processed foods too often.
The dietitian trying to help her with diabetes finally gave her the ultimatum no more wheat. So my wife recounted my diet. When she got to my salads the dietitian responded "Well you know the bitterness in the dandelion leaves would be really good for your liver." With the growth of the natural food movement In the grater Seattle region dietitians have to be a little more progressive.
If you want to fallow along as I build my salad start here in the harvest photos. I did not include the long dandelion leaves but they are at the base of the snapdragons because that planter is leaking.



Tell your wife that changing her diet will give her many benefits that are SO WORTH IT. I am a reformed type II, doctor considers me 'cured' and I consider myself 'under control' and returning normal numbers with diet. It may return but right now everyone is happy. The diet will be worth it. If she cuts all the hidden sugars out, especially corn syrup in any form, and cuts the gluten, the sweet tooth and the cravings WILL go away. Returning an A1c of 5.1, down from 13.7, it's possible. Just do one day at a time. I eat a lot of things now I never could before, even my 'can eat anything' husband can't believe the change or that I learned to eat some of that stuff.

If she objects to the dandelions, there are specially bred 'salad' dandelions that more tender and have a bit better flavor than the common lawn ones. http://www.johnnyseeds.com/c-432-italian-dandelion.aspx Clio is very good. You have to keep after them to keep them from blooming and going to seed, just like you try to prevent your lettuce from bolting.
 
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Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:That's good news, Robbie, for your father and you. You were in time to start the 'healing process' of a healthy diet.
I tried the same for my husband (who had some different chronical diseases). But, I am sorry to say, for him it was too late. His body was too damaged by the life he led before we knew eachother (lungs, colon, blood-vessels by smoking, drug- and alcohol-abuse and unhealthy living in general). At least he added some better years to his life. At least, that's the opinion he and I shared. It wasn't only the diet, but also the spiritual well-being he found.



Oh I left out the bad because part of it wasn't relevant. At about 5 months into his new eating we were almost t-boned by a distracted driver but my car ended up totalled. The injuries he received forced him off all chemo because of infections, caused him to become very depressed and things progressed quickly from there. I am somewhat satisfied to say that he died(10 weeks later) before the cancer got him but not happy with how the length of what was left of his life was shortened and the quality of it was reduced significantly.

Prevention through eating nutrient dense foods, especially through sweat "equity", the loving energy of the sun and as natural as can be had is ALWAYS the better option.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Deb Rebel wrote:

If she objects to the dandelions, there are specially bred 'salad' dandelions that more tender and have a bit better flavor than the common lawn ones. http://www.johnnyseeds.com/c-432-italian-dandelion.aspx Clio is very good. You have to keep after them to keep them from blooming and going to seed, just like you try to prevent your lettuce from bolting.



Just FYI, Italian Dandelion is actually Chicory Cichorium intybus not true Dandelion Taraxacum officianale and may not contain the same nutrients.

 
Deb Rebel
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Tyler Ludens wrote:

Deb Rebel wrote:

If she objects to the dandelions, there are specially bred 'salad' dandelions that more tender and have a bit better flavor than the common lawn ones. http://www.johnnyseeds.com/c-432-italian-dandelion.aspx Clio is very good. You have to keep after them to keep them from blooming and going to seed, just like you try to prevent your lettuce from bolting.



Just FYI, Italian Dandelion is actually Chicory Cichorium intybus not true Dandelion Taraxacum officianale and may not contain the same nutrients.



Yes but it tastes pretty good. :) Hence I suggested it as an alternate.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Yes! And I've been able to grow Chicory but not Dandelions. Oh how I covet Dandelions!
 
Deb Rebel
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Yes! And I've been able to grow Chicory but not Dandelions. Oh how I covet Dandelions!



My yard is yellow. I'd be glad to save you some seeds. How many bags full do you want?
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Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Oh Robbie, I am so sorry to read about that car accident, and how your father died. Keep the fine memories you have of him.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Deb Rebel wrote:
My yard is yellow. I'd be glad to save you some seeds. How many bags full do you want?



A small padded envelope full should be sufficient. I'd be happy to swap seeds.
 
Deb Rebel
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Tyler Ludens wrote:

Deb Rebel wrote:
My yard is yellow. I'd be glad to save you some seeds. How many bags full do you want?



A small padded envelope full should be sufficient. I'd be happy to swap seeds.



Purple mooseage me and I'll get your address, thanks.
 
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i have been asked to post my own thread about how i treated 100 patients with end stage cancer with 98% of them overcoming the cancer totally.

this was posted on a new thread in food as medicine.

the thread is called 98% success fate with diet and attitude treating end stage cancer.
 
r ranson
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charlotte anthony wrote:i have been asked to post my own thread about how i treated 100 patients with end stage cancer with 98% of them overcoming the cancer totally.

this was posted on a new thread in food as medicine.

the thread is called 98% success fate with diet and attitude treating end stage cancer.



Here is the link to that thread.
Thanks for sharing your experience with us.
 
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i have posted a new thread under growies and permaculture called c "99% of people practicing permaculture are doing too much work". this begins to talk about how we can do this no till, no fertilizer, no irrigating way of growing.

another thread i started also talks about it
http://www.permies.com/t/56107/soil/story-microbes-accomplish-miracles-buy a story of microbes. . . .
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charlotte anthony
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this was posted by john weiland on another thread and is relevant because what if microbes are the secret to health in the human body. if we dine on polycultured foods will our microbes be different. i believe so and so do these scientists.

http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2015/150325/ncomms7505/full/ncomms7505.html
 
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Susan Monroe wrote:
Now we try to find cures for things that we shouldn't have.  And if someone did find a natural cure for cancer or the common cold, would the knowledge be spread far and wide, or suppressed so doctors and hospital administrators could make more money?
Sue



Doctors, and even hospitals are the little fish. It's the giant pharmaceutical companies who suppress cures so they can make the big bucks selling medicines to treat symptoms.
 
Deb Rebel
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Deb Stephens wrote:

Susan Monroe wrote:
Now we try to find cures for things that we shouldn't have.  And if someone did find a natural cure for cancer or the common cold, would the knowledge be spread far and wide, or suppressed so doctors and hospital administrators could make more money?
Sue



Doctors, and even hospitals are the little fish. It's the giant pharmaceutical companies who suppress cures so they can make the big bucks selling medicines to treat symptoms.



Some of the latest and greatest drugs of the last several years, $2 was spent on advertising versus $1 spent on research.

One type of HIV treatment, through normal channels cost about $35k a year. A company in another country started making knockoff meds, for $140. A year. Yes it cost to research and test and bring the drugs to market. At what point does it all collapse? So, in the end, do we really need all these miracle pills?

I've been without insurance for years, and now have the much more expensive catastrophic minimum that's required. With a horrendous deductible up front. Only caveat is if I hit that level, EVERYTHING is covered 100% no cap. So as I've done for years I have to deal with a lot of my health issues at home, using methods that my parents, grand parents, great grand parents, used. Most of the time, you can deal with your own. Common sense. Listening to your body. Eating 'real' foods, and eating a balanced diet, have really helped.

One side note, I had this passed to me recently. If you do buy produce in the store, look at the little code on the sticker. (4011 for bananas, for example). Organic is a five digit starting with 9, regular methods (with pesticides etc) is a 4 digit starting with 4, and GMO is a five digit starting with 8. So know what you're buying.
 
r ranson
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paul wheaton wrote:
Add in to all of that:  we are only beginning to barely understand what we need for nutrition.  Every few years scientists come up with some new thing that we didn't really know about before - something we need that isn't in food as much as it used to be.  So we find ways to compensate.  There must be hundreds or even thousands of things we still don't know about.  And for all sorts of problems we are perpetually medicating ourselves.   Maybe wiith vitamins or lotions, or herbs or chemical medicines either OTC or prescription.  It seems like damn near everybody it taking something for some problem.

With a polyculture .... mycelium excahnges wee bits of stuff with lots of plants for other wee bits of stuff.  So it makes sense that a carrot growing next to an onion would have a bit of exchange going on there.  A little bit of the onion would end up in the carrot.  And if there was an oak tree - a bit of that would end up in the carrot.  And if there were a thousand species of plants around the oak tree, then a little bit of all of those would end up in the carrot.  Including little bits of plants that we never would think to eat.

And I just wonder ....    what if damn near all of ickiness would go away if we just replaced row crops with polyculture.  The poly-er the better. 

Just a thought.



I've been thinking about this.

I have two greenhouses which I treat as experimental.  In one greenhouse I plant one to three species.  In the other, I plant the same species and toss in a bunch of random food seeds so that it has about 20 different things growing in it.  I alternate greenhouses and change the soil most years to make it more like a scientific experiment.  They get the same amount of water - about 20 minutes of drip irrigation per week.  They get an equal dose of llama berries each spring.  Basically, they are the same size and treated the same.  

In the greenhouse with the fewer species, I get an expected amount of harvest and an expected amount of taste.  These often have bug damage.  

In the greenhouse with multiple kinds of plants,  I get about twice the harvest of my main species as well as the harvest of all the other plants in there.  The flavour seems better to me.  

I don't know if one is healthier than the other.  But the polyculture grows better, has more harvest and tastes better than the mono/tri-culture.   I imagine that plants that thrive have better nutrition than plants that simply grow.  I also feel that the greenhouse with the polyculture takes less effort to maintain.  

Three years with this experiment.  I think I'll expand it to main garden next year.  
 
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