One thing I have learned about plants is that they often hold the keys to our locks. Now this might sound romantic but there is a lot of truth in this because the evolution of plants, ourselves and all animals happened alongside each other. This co-evolution has provided us with some of the most valuable tonics for our organs and through research we are now finding out how these herbs really work. Herbs were our medicine long before modern pharmaceuticals in the same way that drugs are now. At the chemical level ~ herbs really are drugs, only far more complex and therefore not as easy to research and test. Milk thistle seed is a great example of an organ {liver} tonic which gently protects and supports the functioning of the liver. When taken it protects against certain toxins and speeds up certain enzymatic reactions in the liver. Lets not forget that herbs provided the tools for modern medicine too. Morphine which comes from the poppy seed extract is still one of the best pain killers that is known to scientists and is hard to beat. It works on brain chemicals ~ opiates ~ the lock fits the key, we have an opiate system and opiates unlock them. This molecular key cutting is and has always been there. We are only just beginning to explore all of the possibilities.Red-Poppy

In the same way many foods are our supplements ~ organ meats contain very high {supplemental} levels of Vitamins and minerals. Humans have always supplemented our diets ~ these days we can use the technology of modern science to measure and replace what is lost in our diets ~ but the more traditional societies always knew to consume certain organ meats or plants at certain times due to their health giving benefits. Can we get all of the nutrients we need from food? Only if we know what to eat and actually eat it when needed. Otherwise as many of us find ~ the supplements we take are necessary in order for us to feel well.  Often we talk to people about living a more ‘natural’ lifestyle ~ somehow much of this knowledge has been lost in the rush of today’s life ~ but naturopathic and herbal medicine still has this knowledge. Once again the keys to our locks are there ~ we just need to use them.  §

Simone Reddington is a Clinical Medical Herbalist, Naturopath and thinker. She is part of the Apothecary’s clinical team.