- Those (e.g., me) who believe that Western science and medicine have good solutions to offer
- People who believe that Western medicine is a conspiracy designed solely to funnel money into the pockets of big pharma (generally, wackos, although they may have a point)
- Those who won't go as far as the second group, but who favor "natural" products and therapies instead of refined, "artificial' pharmaceuticals
This is utterly wrong.
So, I found this cluster of healthy, clean-looking weeds outside my back gate. It looked like Italian parsley. It smelled like parsley. Did it taste like parsley? Whoa--let's not taste it right now, I thought.
And I'm a fan of wild mushrooms. I pick them and taste them raw. There is no mushroom that will kill you if you spit it out. Something just told me not to taste this plant.
I called my father-in-law, a biologist and naturalist, and he brought over a pile of books to help identify my weed. We narrowed it down to a few candidates that grow in our region.
- Actual feral parsley
- Water hemlock
- Poison hemlock
It also said that since so many plants in the parsley family are extremely poisonous, you shouldn't eat them unless you have absolutely, positively, identified them.
I don't know what this stuff is, but even though it's all-natural, I won't be using it to garnish my pasta.
And, by contrast, the same night I quite happily popped a few pills of ibuprofen to reduce my back pain. They worked just fine, like they always do. I don't mind paying big pharma for ibuprofen.
I know the comparison between poison hemlock and ibuprofen is hardly a fair one, and that most practitioners of Chinese medicine know what they're handling, but it did starkly illustrate the point that "natural" plants can produce some of the most evil toxins we know.