Like the pharmaceutical industry, the selling of supplements and herbs has become a multi-billion dollar business. The original intent was honorable, however, many contemporary products are of questionable utility at best.
The History of Herbs and Supplements
Herbs were always nature’s medicine, to be administered carefully only by selected individuals. In most of the western hemisphere, the secrets of herbal application were withheld by the “spiritual” leaders of all tribes, groups, and cultures from the beginning of our appearance on this planet until the early 20th Century.
- Informed laypeople began to understand and use herbs to treat the sick. The leaders of this movement included Arnold Ehret, Paul Bragg, John Tilden, Gaylord Hauser and Jethro Kloss, among others.
- The bottling and encapsulating of food and herbs for use by the public began. aDr. Lee was among the ﬁrst practitioner’s to grind food, put it into capsules, and prescribe them to patients. The preparation of these products was usually a simple drying process, possibly including a power that kept the integrity of the food or herbs intact. This vaunted generation fell into an unfortunate decline during the 1930s, because of investment by the pharmaceutical industry in this increasingly lucrative market.
The ﬁnancial results of the sale of encapsulated food and herbs were so positive that “snake oil merchants” appeared to herald the third generation of supplements. This generation witnessed the concerted involvement of the pharmaceutical industry in this rapidly expanding market via the synthesizing of seemingly identical herbs in a laboratory at a fraction of the cost of their natural development, which denied the makers of natural herbal products (created during the second generation) their signiﬁcant share of the marketplace. In addition, individual vitamin and mineral supplements were extracted from unnatural sources and tableted or encapsulated without the important nutritional co-factors that are necessary for maximal supplemental beneﬁt to the body. Company’s mass-processed artiﬁcial products without knowledge of whole foods, enzymes and oxygen, which were lost in the processing. And, as we shall discuss, these synthetic products are still neither viable nor valid. This generation also engendered the development of cultivated herb farms, an event that eventually generated less powerful herbal resources.
During the mid-1970s, a small group of principled people led a rebirth of the second generation of supplements using the best technologies of the third generation. Recognizing the shortcomings of the third generation of supplements, this generation marked the return of whole foods and herbs to the marketplace. Companies like LIFEGIVE and E3 Live (Hippocrates’ exclusive line) have led the way in re-introducing whole food supplements, with their wholeness being necessary to render them effective in the human body. These products are produced at temperatures below 110°F. Important freshwater foods such as chlorella and blue-green algae have become the foundation of many high-energy, bodybuilding supplements.
The Supplement Story in the 21st Century
Of all studies involving the effectiveness of supplements, 97% are underwritten by the companies that make and market those supplements! When a company invests millions of dollars to develop a product, it will no doubt go to any length to “prove” that the supplement works. And, in most cases, the supplement does alter body chemistry sufficiently to indicate that the product is functional, i.e., it is having an impact. But so does cocaine. And morphine. And nicotine. Let’s consider the essential issues involving supplements: The two groups of supplements on the market:
- Man-made: These include aspirin and other painkillers, antibiotics, etc., and most (isolated) vitamin and mineral products on the shelves
of drug stores and health food stores. These man-made products stimulate (or sedate) your immune system temporarily into the mode that they are working. Research studies indicate that these products attack your immune system sub-clinically, which is one of the reasons that supplementation is under critical scrutiny by both public and private organizations.
- Food-based (NOS): These are whole foods that have been processed at low temperatures to maintain their bioactive (life) qualities, thereby preserving their enzymes and oxygen, and the elements that construct and maintain the vibrant health of your immune system. Among this food-based group are the latest generations
of green-power powders, of which fresh water single cell algae are the principal ingredients. It is recommended to use these powders daily.
Also in this group are properly prepared (wild) herbs and homeopathic remedies. Unlike the cited whole foods, only a trained specialist must dispense these items and they must be used with utmost respect only for short periods (seldom more than two weeks). Herbs can be consumed more frequently as tea. Read the book,
“Supplements Exposed,” by Brian Clement.
Phytochemicals: The Vitamins of the Future
Phytochemicals are non-nutritive plant chemicals that contain protective, disease-preventing compounds. More than 18,000 phytochemicals have been discovered as part of our food, and many more will be. More than 100 phytochemicals might be in just one serving of vegetables! Science began evaluating phytochemicals for safety, efficiency and applicability in the prevention and treatment of disease. Researchers knew that phytochemicals exist for protection in plants, but only recently have they been recommended and used to protect people from illness and disease.