I’m old enough to remember a time when the pharmaceutical industry was concerned about social responsibility. During the 1970s and early 80s, middle managers and executives were attending regular workshops on the subject. While market domination was the underlying goal, the managers were supposedly being taught to achieve it through quality products that would benefit the individual, and presumably society as a whole.
Judging by the recent news in WDDTY and elsewhere, it would appear that social responsibility has become a dirty word. In its place is a constant assault on natural products and, through powerful lobby groups in the European Parliament, the complete destruction of herbal and natural remedies that have been with us for many generations. I fear for all our grandchildren and the health choices they will be offered.
For myself, now 74 and a survivor of several cancer operations, these attacks just trigger a desire to learn as much as possible about what our forebears used to do, especially in rural areas when many could not afford to pay for a doctor in the days before the advent of the National Health Service.
To give one example of good natural cures and preventatives, for some years we have grown and eaten globe artichokes and steamed them for dinner and drunk some of the juices. These and horse tail (a useful weed in many gardens) infusions are useful ways of giving the liver a cleanup. Likewise, spring nettle soups and infusions from dried leaves, mixed with wild and cultivated dandelion leaves for salads, are part of our own efforts to keep our kidneys healthy. Last Sunday night, the day before we received the latest WDDTY magazine with the report on the draconian attack on health supplements, we read in our gardening lunar calendar that the best days for treating the liver are those before a Virgo sign, and the kidneys benefit most if treated a few days before Libra. These occur in the week before full moons.
We have no proof this works – other than the knowledge that they have been tried and tested by our ancestors for thousands of years before us. And that’s good enough for us.
Just off to water our cultivated plot of nettles transplanted from the countryside before modern man has the chance to kill off the patch with a chemical herbicide!
© Clodagh and Richard Handscombe, www.gardeninginspain.com, authors of fourteen books including ‘Strategic Leadership – The missing links’, ‘Growing Healthy Vegetables in Spain’ and ‘Growing Healthy Fruit in Spain’.