So why doesn't everyone use herbs?
Globally most people do. There are 5 billion people out there using medicines from plants.
Why don't we use more herbs here in the U.S.?
Many pharmaceutical drugs were originally made from plants. But here in the U.S. herbs must be sold as supplements. And that's fine. It keeps the cost down.
Aren't herbal medicines unregulated?
Herbal medicines are regulated by the FDA. They are safe. We see plenty of cases of a pharmaceutical drug that later turns out to be unsafe. That doesn't happen with herbs.
Why don't the pharmaceutical companies develop more plant based drugs?
Pharma is totally bewildered by this because they are not single molecule drugs. Pharma companies have hired me on occasion but they are not keen on plant based medicines. But people are not waiting for the big pharma to figure it out. They are going out and buying herbal medicines. And many herbal medicine companies are run by scientists who used to work for pharma.
So what exactly do you do?
I travel the world looking for traditional, plant based medicines. I don't discover them. I find traditional remedies and work with indigenous people and establish trade with the countries that have these plants.
And what are you working on now ? A cure for cancer perhaps?
There are probably hundreds of cancer inhibiting herbs, but I'm not sure a cure will be discovered anytime soon.
There's a lot of interest in anti-inflammatories, especially after Vioxx. I think we'll see a huge increase in the use of anti-inflammatory herbs, so I'm working on that.
There's also a lot of interest in sleep aids. We already have a product - Calming Sleep - available through any Wal-Mart. So many people suffer with this problem. A month's supply is $10, it's not addictive, has no side effects, all the ingredients are FDA approved.
We also have Maca, a stimulant. People are self medicating with coffee. This does the same things without the jittery effects of caffeine.