Why doctors give you pills and not ancient plant remedies

*for example, Chrisian Ratsch reports that Psilocybe azurescens (dry weight) contains 1.29 to 1.78% psilocybin, 0.18 to 0.37% baeocystin, and 0.27 to 0.5% psilocin.

As a professional neuroscientist with an interest in psychedelic medicines, it is clear to me that the attempt to reduce organisms to single active principles is challenged by the sheer complexity of traditional medicine.

My understanding of the medicinal use of whole organisms was greatly illuminated by the notion of entourage effect, a term coined in 1998 by chemists Raphael Mechoulam and Simon Ben-Shabat to refer to the cooperative effects of the multiple compounds present in whole organisms, which may potentiate clinical efficacy while attenuating side effects … In stark opposition to this view, mainstream pharmacology is adamant about the need to use purified substances for medical treatment, because these are presumably more specific and safe. This position is defended fiercely in the media and also in academic publications, as if there was much more clinical knowledge accumulated about the effects of the purified compounds than about the effects of whole organisms. However, this is simply not the case. The traditional use of whole organisms has centuries and, in some cases, millennia of cultural experience, while purified compounds only recently started to be investigated. 

Original Article (Chacruna):
Why doctors give you pills and not ancient plant remedies
Artwork Fair Use: David Banks

Leave a Reply