Nature is Our First Pharmacy
the story of the natural roots of our medicine
Brought to you by Martin’s Integrative Pharmacist Rob Kress, RPH
Food and pharmacy might sound paradoxical in nature, although the food to pharmacy approach could be just what the doctor ordered. Afterall, most medications have evolved from foods and plants. Allow this information to be “food for thought” the next time you are walking through the produce section, possibly on the way to the pharmacy.
Many people don’t realize that natural medicine is core to pharmacy. Nutrition is a thoroughly studied discipline of medicine and many medications that we dispense today have been created and synthesized from plants, sourced from various areas such as the rainforest. These compounds are responsible for some of the most important medical advancements of our time.
Not only is the rainforest and other natural ecosystems critical for the life of its host, mother earth, they have also been a primary source of some of the most impactful modern-day medicines; both improving health and saving lives. And yet, only one percent of known plant and animal species have been thoroughly examined for their medicinal properties, leaving a lot of hope for continued medical advances.
Nature has given us some of our most important categories of drugs including anti-infective’s, chemotherapy agents, pain management and more. For instance, aspirin, one of the original pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, which many current anti-inflammatories have evolved from, was first synthesized in 1890 from the white willow bark. A class of drugs which has received a lot of negative attention as of late for their abuse potential, although provides much needed relief for those in pain, are opiates. Discovered from the Opium poppy, derived in 1874, this class of drugs includes medications such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and codeine. Also, Quinine, a treatment for malaria, was discovered from the cinchona tree in South America.
Chemotherapy medicines, used to treat cancer, have a direct natural link as well. One of the most common chemotherapies in use today, Taxol, was first isolated from the bark of the Pacific Yew. Treatments for other cancers such as Hodgkin’s disease and neuroblastoma have stemmed from the Madagascar periwinkle.
Other prominent examples include the heart medicine Digoxin, first isolated from the foxglove plant and Penicillin, our medical system’s first official class of antibiotics originally isolated from a fungus growing on a piece of bread. Curcumin, one of many natural supplements and extremely popular due to results, is derived from turmeric, a spice which has been used in Indian cultures for over 4,000 years. CBD, continually growing in popularity, is derived from hemp. The list goes on and on.
As you can see, our pharmacy shelves are filled with medications having a direct link to nature. At every Martin’s Pharmacy we utilize natural medicine as a component of our overall practice. Incorporating the purest and highest standard nutritional supplements, essential oils and CBD products, we lead with quality, backed by tremendous value.
When looking to optimize your health, following your doctor’s prescribed medication plan is key. Additionally, incorporating many nutrient rich plant-based foods, vitamins and natural supplements can prove to be very beneficial.
Your knowledgeable Martin’s Pharmacist can guide and advise you on your individual wellness journey to ensure you achieve your best health in the safest and most effective ways, utilizing all that nature has to offer.