Humans and plants have co-evolved, which is why our bodies intrinsically recognise and have mechanisms for accurately metabolising plant materials. Certain compounds in plants perform the same function in the human body; think of antioxidant polyphonic compounds that protect plant cells from oxidation – they also protect human cells from oxidation when used within a whole plant medicine. Knowing this, it’s easy to understand how plant medicine can be used for acute and chronic health issues – from treating the common cold and controlling blood pressure, to easing anxiety and balancing hormones.
Healing plant medicine goes back further than recorded history and has a proven track record spanning millions of years. Animals and insects also use plants as medicine – interesting observations have been recorded with primates, dogs, monarch butterflies and sheep ingesting medicinal plants when they are ill. Much of Western medicine has its origin from the plant kingdom. Aspirin was one of the first medicines to be based on an isolated plant constituent. Salicin, which is a precursor to salicylic acid, was isolated from white willow (Salix alba) and meadowsweet (Spirea alba) and converted into acetylsalicylic acid, or aspirin as it came to be known. Unlike the plant constituent salicin, which is converted in the gut to the active salicylic acid, acetylsalicylic acid would come into direct contact with the stomach lining and often lead to bleeding ulcers. Whole plant extracts have fewer side effects than isolated extracts of plants. Our aim is to make unadulterated whole plant extracts available to all.