August 05, 2020 2 min read
In every area of the ancient world, including Rome, Egypt, China, and India, people discovered plants’ healing properties and used them for medicine. Collectively, our knowledge of plant medicine has amassed over thousands of years.
The oldest medicinal records date back to 5000–3000 BCE. Written by Sumerians on clay tablets, these and other ancient records demonstrate that herbals and botanicals have helped maintain and restore good health throughout human history.
Many ancient cultures taught that plants heal through their vital spirit. It was not just the plant, but the spirit of the plant as well.
In the west, scientists look for isolated compounds within plants for specific properties. They have operated more within a machine-based model that breaks plants down into non-living components.
Cannabinoids also balance each other out. For example, CBD minimizes the adverse effects of THC.
Unlike making repairs on a machine, human wellness is not always reducible to parts. Likewise, the healing effects of plants interact with and add to each other.
A few common plant-derived medications:
The human endocannabinoid system (ECS) stretches from head to toe. It has specific receptors that interact with cannabis compounds and some other molecules derived from plants.
Fruits and vegetables like colorful berries and carrots contain molecules that either interact or block the cannabinoid receptors. In humans, the ECS is an essential homeostatic system. It keeps us in balance and helps manage stress and maintain health.
Since the 2018 Farm Bill Act legalizing the cultivation of CBD hemp and production, the scientific community has discovered more and more of CBD’s health benefits.
For patients recovering from heroin addiction, CBD significantly reduced both anxiety and cravings. CBD helps manage seizures for people with a rare and severe form of epilepsy.
Even with its long and rich history, plant medicine is at its nascent. New tools and research approaches, such as metabolic engineering and systems biology, can provide a depth of understanding previously unavailable anytime in history.
In the beginning, people’s use of plants for medicine and healing was instinctive. Over recent centuries, we have de-emphasized the importance of the natural world. This resurgence in discoveries about CBD’s remarkable healing properties and other plant compounds brings us full circle. Nature holds undiscovered treasures and can make our lives better in every way.