Nestle attempting to patent old wisdom

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 is attempting to create a nigella sativa monopoly and gain the ability to sue anyone using it without Nestlé’s permission. Nestlé has filed patent applications — which are currently pending — around the world.

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. 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…

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 – but 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 research, 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 enticed packaged “wellbeing” especially if they produce junk-food brands like Coffee Mate and Lean Cuisine (run)!  Sugar and food color loaded products like Cheerios and Shreddies cause tooth decay and child obesity/diabetes and skin disorders… Now Nestle intends to create a natural skin cure based on ancient herbal knowledge and they push to patent this idea. Well, it’s like trusting Coca Cola or Pepsi Cola who target consumers with “healthy fruit juices”. They are loaded with corn syrup, preservatives and a multitude of ingredients you should never poison your child with… Heck, all their “fresh” ingredients have a shelve life beyond naturally possible… Contains 100% fresh fruit juice! …“how much”, you should be asking – “how much is artificial and how much is 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 might indeed aid one woman during her dysmenorrheal (painful menstruation) but at the same time can cause severe photodermatitis (skin rash) to another. While Nestle files patent requesting world-wide to create a skin remedy “cure for all” – no modern practitioner would prescribe singular fennel flower tea as a successful skin remedy. Not in the last 3000 years of well-researched herbology was such simplicity effective enough to millions of well-educated people with a scientific sense for using medicinal logic when aiding others. It would certainly be a multitude of herbs, minerals and even breathing exercise, based upon a personally drafted prescription.

Nestle can claim they “own” part of this wisdom… even so it 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 take 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 and learn how to prepare a healthy shrimp and fennel salad – it is an aphrodisiac… That free recipe for all was drafted by myself in 1998… Just in case Nestle gets any ideas!

chef raphael