Thursday, 19 October 2017

Pukka Herbs Sell Out to Corporate Giant

In 2001 herbalists Sebastian Pole and Tim Westwell founded Pukka Herbs, specializing in Ayurvedic herbal teas and a small range of practitioner products. I used to sell the teas at clinic as they were generally of excellent quality, but also because of the company's ethically-focused fair trade and sustainable organic farming policies. As of 2017 Pukka have become the world leader in herbal teas with a £30 million market and 30% growth according to NPG.
It was therefore deeply disappointing to find the company had been bought out by transnational behemoth Unilever. Given Unilever's dreadful track record all the sugar-coated excuses and wet corporate remonstrances from Pukka's former owners are meaningless. Many small independent health stores will soon find they cannot compete with the big supermarkets, which will lose them custom. Another nail in the coffin of the ethical business model. I will no longer be stocking their products.

Herbal Safety & Pharmaceutical Exploitation

The Alliance for Natural Health have come up with a fascinating new infographic about herbal medicine safety in comparison to pharmaceutical drugs.

View and download the graphic here.

An accompanying article highlights the growing issue of biopiracy, whereby a pharmaceutical company may exploit the knowledge of traditional practitioners in the ongoing search for novel compounds with which to patent the next generation of drugs. This biopiracy effectively steals the intellectual property of traditional people and herbal practitioners, seemingly without consideration or compensation.

The generation of new pharmaceutical drugs appears to be more concerned with profit than helping to heal. And when all is said and done, just how many people are being actually healed by drugs? Managing symptoms with drugs is not the way to heal the body, indeed the longer drugs are used, the more risk of side effects. Therefore on a risk/benefit analysis questions must seriously be asked, as medications are one of the leading causes of death in today's world, according to the ANH article.

Drugs may be very useful in accute and emergency situations but some of them could be doing more harm than good in the treatment of chronic disease. Chronic disease is often related to diet and lifestyle issues rather than bad luck or offending the gods as some will tell you. The future of medicine lies in the ackowledgement of these issues and a move towards greater scrutiny of corporate interests, alongside the acceptance of traditional medicine as an ancient, bona fide medical regimen which has much to offer in treating the root causes of disease rather than the risky managment of symptoms.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

How Safe Is Flying?

If you are a regular traveler who flies often you have probably seen advertisements about how safe flying is. What this really means is that, compared to car and train crashes, planes rarely crash and in the context of crashing are definitely much safer, but there are other issues which can impact upon safety unrelated to crashing.

I find flying especially stressful, particularly the overbearing security aspects, the applaling selection of 'food' and the lack of flight information, but there are perhaps more pressing concerns such as proximity to solar radiation and toxic fumes as this article reveals: