This is the article that triggers my latest blog:
In a paper published last year, Nestlé scientists claimed to “discover” what much of the world has known for millennia: that nigella sativa extract could be used for “nutritional interventions in humans with food allergy”.
But instead of creating an artificial substitute, or fighting to make sure the remedy was widely available, Nestlé was attempting to create a nigella sativa monopoly and gain the ability to sue anyone from using it without Nestlé’s permission. Nestlé has filed patent applications — which are currently pending — around the world.
Update 2020: The patent was denied…
I am perplexed about this last public outreach: My response is, let Nestle Corp. patent any idea they want… What difference does it make? Anyone interested still has the same access to fennel flowers when trying to find benefits, regardless. Grow it in your garden… It does not limit anyone from brewing a fresh fennel tea at home. I actually think these silly attempts to claim “title” to ancient knowledge is great exposure of public knowledge in today’s uninformed, pill-pushing culture. Look at this example: Although chicken soup has been demystified as a scientifically correct cold remedy, this data ignores the placebo affect of any caring mom, sister or friend preparing it for you, when you are sick – i.e. health benefits nobody doubts and science can’t really pin it down into data either way…
In 2006 Nestle, after getting in contact with EYS (Eu Yan Sang) a Hong Kong based Chinese traditional pharmaceutical corporation – produced in collaboration a TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) – fused bouillon that did not successfully breach the market. Within this relationship Nestle must have discovered that there is more to consuming food than “feeding”… Now, a few of Nestle’s modern scientists seemingly hashed out this idea they could patent 3000 years of herbal wisdom, as if to dominate the market with a singular “ownership-certificate” of common natural wisdom. Next, they might attempt to patent that fresh ginger root corrects equilibrium and goji berries significantly slow the progress of cataract. Let ‘em claim!
Any good TCM practitioner will merely smirk about this naïve attempt to secure greedy power. It is a misguided marketing scheme that one isolated entity is the “cure-all” for trusting consumers in search of alternative help. You should never trust a laboratory geek selling you packaged “wellbeing” especially if they produce junk-food brands like Coffee Mate Creamer and Lean Cuisine (run)! Sugar and food color loaded products like Cheerios and KitKat cause tooth decay and child obesity/diabetes and skin disorders… Now Nestle intends to create a natural anti-hive remedy based on ancient herbal knowledge and they pushed to claim this herbal remedy as exclusively theirs. These modern scientists must believe that if they could isolate a plant product, patent it and add it to unhealthy food product, people would consume it longer or in higher quantities because they don’t get sick as quickly…? Well, it’s like trusting Coca Cola or Pepsi Cola with “healthy fruit juices”. Even so they are loaded with corn syrup, preservatives and a multitude of ingredients you should never poison yourself or your child with… Heck, all their “fresh” ingredients have a shelve lives beyond nature’s date… Their products claim to be 100% fresh fruit juice! …“how much”, you should be asking – “how much is artificial and how much is actual fruit juice?” We just “read” the words that comfort us, not the text, intrinsically trusting.
From the perspective of TCM it takes a multitude of herbs and minerals to successfully support a patient. Not one singular remedy. As we all know, the same good herb that is intended to aid one person could harm another with the same symptoms. Modern pharmaceutical corporations like Nestle, blind-sided by generating revenue, are now laughably attaining a patent for an ancient claim that fennel flowers have skin healing properties… rather reflecting silliness in the face of simple herbalists: Yes, tea of fennel flowers reduces skin ailment in people – only if they have no internal inflammations. You cannot just isolate one powerful substance and give it to “all”. Most of the “natural medicines” you will find in today’s health-food stores are packed to lure consumers to find “help” but are branded falsely or even promise “cure”. Some go as far to claim “healing power”. These are all mass produced “remedies” by factories producing little valuable substance for anyone. As if all human kind with the same symptoms – an ongoing catch 22 – could be cured with one singular ingredient, regardless of our height, our originality, condition, sex or age… Nothing TCM supports nor recommends.
Contrary. Fennel flower tea contains thymoquinone that can aid women during her dysmenorrheal (painful menstruation) but at the same time it can cause severe photodermatitis (skin rash) to another. While Nestle files patents requesting world-wide to create a skin remedy “cure for all” with an herb thats been around for thousand of years – no modern practitioner would prescribe singular fennel flower tea as a successful skin remedy (Nestle claims it was to help children with food allergies…). Not in the last 3000 years of well-researched herbology was such simplicity effective enough to herbalists. Fennel flower (also known as Nigella sativa, black seed and black cumin) would be prescribed within a multitude of herbs and minerals. Single applications are not TCM norm.
Nestle should not claim they “own” this wisdom… Fennel is documented in over 3000 years of medicinal history. It is knowledge that any well-rounded druid will pass on to you (to no cost). Like mom teaches her kids to brew a chicken soup for an ill sibling and encourages them to go and get him to drink it… She will give them the best advice yet: “Watch, he might be a bit grumpy, just ignore it and join him in eating the soup…” There, healing is initiated!
Hint; fennel is health boosting and can stop vomiting and reduces fever… If you want to learn more about it, visit the menu pages in TCMchef.com and learn how to prepare a healthy shrimp and fennel salad – it is an aphrodisiac as well… That recipe was drafted by myself in 1998… Just in case Nestle gets any ideas!