Microbial Technology - The missing link in Modern Agriculture and Medicine

Overview:

  • Antimicrobial Cocktails from microbes cultured in a consortium rarely show antibiotic resistance from even “superbugs”. 

  • Vegetables and herbal plants cultivated with microbial technologies (artificial biotic stress) may have higher nutritional values that correlates with a lower incidence of both acute and chronic illnesses. (I.E sufficient minerals and vitamins to keep our immune system at tip-top condition)

  • Vegetables and herbal plants cultivated with microbial technologies would have a lower level of fungal toxins that are carcinogenic and immunosuppressive.

  • Beneficial microorganisms also degrade pesticides and herbicides effectively and living far lower residual chemicals in our vegetables and fruits

  • Beneficial Microorganisms administered would boost our immune system with stronger virus-and-cancer-fighting ability.

  • Beneficial Microorganisms exert protective effects from pathogen lipopolysaccharide-induce damage. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is an endotoxin which may be found in very small quantity in tap water

  • Microbial Technologies reduce Environmental pollutions.

Introduction

The role of Natural Microorganisms in Agriculture, Herbal Plant Horticulture and Environmental Protection is not unheard of but has gained little momentum over the years because of the deliberate suppression from the conventional medical and agricultural industries.

Picture on top: Antimicrobial Cocktail from a Consortium of many Beneficial Microorganisms inhibit pathogenic Gram-negative Bacteria Conducted at my Last Job in the USA

Picture on the right: You may click to save the picture with higher resolution. This laboratory analysis shows that, despite the disregard of temperature control which could result in pathogen overgrowth, our compost treated with beneficial microorganisms remain clean with no Salmonella and Fecal Coliforms. Additional Test showed that the compost was teaming with other beneficial microorganisms when cultivated on non-selective agar.

(According to California Code of Regulations, CCR Title 14, Chapter 3.1, Article 5., Section 17868.3.b.1, acceptable level of Fecal Coliform was 1000 MPN/g.)

At my first job after graduation, we discovered that beneficial microorganisms work together in nature against what was known as pathogens. For instance, many Lactic Acid Bacteria can co-exist with non-pathogenic E. coli but inhibits the pathogenic strains such as E. coli O157 or the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) or simply mitigate the negative effects of these pathogenic microorganisms.

 

“Good Microbes vs Bad Microbes”

More interestingly, Probiotic Microorganisms are capable of “exerting” a behavioral influence on potentially pathogenic microorganisms. Dr Rutherford and Dr Bassler from Princeton University were some of the pioneering researchers in Quorum sensing of microorganisms where they learn that microorganisms can communicate and keep one another in check. When the ‘bad guys’ are in the minority, they are capable of KNOWING they are in the minority and they behave well. Take out the good bacteria, the bad guys will start to wreak havoc in our system.

“Good Microbes work with Herbal Plants against Bad Microbes”

Then interestingly, this “intelligence” in microorganisms is far reaching to plants and the human host. Having again, the same “friends or foes” recognizing ability and capable of working symbiotically to confer health to the consumer. In fact, the use of herbal plants helps beneficial microorganisms to get established in our gut system and bringing about many therapeutic benefits.

A Clinical Trial conducted by a group of Korean Doctors, in December of 2017, shows the use of fermented milk containing Lactobacillus paracasei and Licorice root with a beneficial effect in patients with H pylori infection. Despite the effectiveness, sadly, there are still main years before this would become conventional medicine in the West.

Such a study is rarely heard of in my days working in the USA and if we did, they were quickly taken down. During the period before 2014, most studies on Beneficial Microorganisms with therapeutic benefits were greatly suppressed in the West. Most of the scientific journals I could find during those days were “lousy” experiments to make probiotic products appear as ‘snake-oil’ products. (I.E. Highly subjective terms like consumers FELT no difference after taking probiotics.) Looking back, we suspect these studies were funded by the pharmaceuticals to prevent microbial technologies from getting established, they were not designed to survive any peer-reviews but only to create misinformation temporarily that distract the public.

“Microorganisms in Agriculture and Human Immune System”

Besides direct therapeutic benefits to the human host, microbial technology in agriculture also improves the quality of the plants, which helps to build a strong immune system that is neglected by mainstream medicine. (More is discussed in the sections below)

 

“There is intelligence in the genetics”

In short, there is intelligence built-in in the genetics of microorganisms as well as herbal plants.  “Good” microorganisms and “Good Plants” work together to overcome and reduce the density of pathogens. By removing the beneficial microorganisms both internally or externally including our household environment will create an artificial environment suitable for the bad microbes to thrive and to wreak havoc to our health.

I.E. The use of Vaccines containing preservatives and antibiotics damage the microbiome internally. The use of disinfectant in household environment creates an artificial environment suitable for toxic black mold to grow.

References:

  1. Ammoscato F1, Scirocco A, Altomare A, Matarrese P, Petitta C, Ascione B, Caronna R, Guarino M, Marignani M, Cicala M, Chirletti P, Malorni W, Severi C. Lactobacillus rhamnosus protects human colonic muscle from pathogen lipopolysaccharide-induced damage.Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2013 Dec;25(12):984-e777. doi: 10.1111/nmo.12232. Epub 2013 Oct 1.

  2. Anderson WB, Huck PM, Dixon DG, Mayfield CI. Endotoxin Inactivation in Water by Using Medium-Pressure UV Lamps. Applied and Environmental Microbiology May 2003, 69 (5) 3002-3004; DOI: 10.1128/AEM.69.5.3002-3004.2003

  3. Arai S, Iwabuchi N, Takahashi S, Xiao JZ, Abe F, Hachimura S. Orally administered heat-killed Lactobacillus paracasei MCC1849 enhances antigen-specific IgA secretion and induces follicular helper T cells in mice. PLoS One. 2018 Jun 13;13(6):e0199018. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0199018. eCollection 2018.

  4. Aziz N, Bonavida B. Activation of Natural Killer Cells by Probiotics. For Immunopathol Dis Therap. 2016;7(1-2):41‐55. doi:10.1615/ForumImmunDisTher.2016017095

  5. Davoodabadi A, Soltan Dallal MM, Lashani E, Tajabadi Ebrahimi M. Antimicrobial Activity of Lactobacillus spp. Isolated From Fecal Flora of Healthy Breast-Fed Infants Against Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli. Jundishapur J Microbiol. 2015;8(12):e27852. Published 2015 Dec 26. doi:10.5812/jjm.27852

  6. Deep A, Chaudhary U, Gupta V. Quorum sensing and Bacterial Pathogenicity: From Molecules to Disease. J Lab Physicians. 2011;3(1):4‐11. doi:10.4103/0974-2727.78553

  7. Johnson-Henry KC, Donato KA, Shen-Tu G, Gordanpour M, Sherman PM. Lactobacillus rhamnosus Strain GG Prevents Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7-Induced Changes in Epithelial Barrier Function. Infection and Immunity Mar 2008, 76 (4) 1340-1348; DOI: 10.1128/IAI.00778-07

  8. Rutherford ST, Bassler BL. Bacterial quorum sensing: its role in virulence and possibilities for its control. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2012;2(11):a012427. Published 2012 Nov 1. doi:10.1101/cshperspect.a012427

  9. Yoon, Jin Young MD, PhDa; Cha, Jae Myung MD, PhDa,∗; Hong, Seong Soo MD, PhDb,∗; Kim, Hyung Kyung MD, PhDc; Kwak, Min Seob MD, PhDa; Jeon, Jung Won MD, PhDa; Shin, Hyun Phil MD, PhDa Fermented milk containing Lactobacillus paracasei and Glycyrrhiza glabra has a beneficial effect in patients with Helicobacter pylori infection, Medicine: August 2019 - Volume 98 - Issue 35 - p e16601 doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000016601

Herbal Medicine

The average person living in the Modern World may have a suppressed immune system due to the toxins we are exposed to from day-to-day. A common one is the low level of fungal toxins in food such as coffee, corn, and many other grains grown in Modern Agricultural Technology. This can be addressed if beneficial microorganisms are introduced into our Agricultural System, or sold as nutraceuticals to neutralize their toxins.

Fungal toxins such as Aflatoxins will lower your T cells that are responsible for fighting viral infection and cancer cells. Do not be surprised by the increasing rate of cancer today and of course incidences of colds/Flu. This has much to do with our suppressed immune system. 

Conventional Medicine has been ill-equipped against cold/flu viruses. Yet, many studies have been showing traditionally used medicinal plants with anti-viral properties and have been used by many for cold/flu relief.

Many of them are virucidal and have immunomodulatory effects that induce the body to produce cytokines that

  1. Interfere with virion entry into cells and replications. Some studies have shown the direct administration of IL-4 produces a promising inhibitory effect. IL-4 can be induced through the use of some herbs as well.

  2. Upregulate Interleukins that increase the effectiveness of T and B cells against viruses, these interleukins may also increase inflammation, and fever is one of them.

  3. Upregulate anti-inflammatory interleukins as a counter-reaction to the pro-inflammatory cytokines that may help to avoid a cytokine storm.

It is necessary to know that, the conventional medical industry has been vigilantly suppressing much of the research in Microbial Technology and Traditional Medicine. Often equating them as some ineffective and dangerous 'snake-oil' products, and using extreme examples such as someone ingesting mercury or some toxic Guaiacum to treat syphilis. But they would avoid talking about Lemon Juice curing scurvy or Niacin for Pellagra and many other effective natural herbs when used correctly.

 

The Problem with using Guaiacum for syphilis is really not an argument against Alternative Medicine, it is an argument against using the wrong medicine for the wrong disease. 

The sad thing is how the general public has bought into their "brain-washing" and thinking of nutraceutical medicine (traditional/alternative medicine) as non-science-based dangerous medicine. In truth, many of these medicinal plants are science-based and have been used for centuries and thousands of years.

 

The major challenge of Alternative Medicine in the past was the inability to meet up with the demands due to the low production rate. Case in point,  people were still struggling even with producing enough food.

It is also necessary to know that, the incidences of cold/Flu, as well as cancers and autoimmune diseases, have gone up so drastically in modern times when Conventional Medicine is the backbone of our healthcare system. Even young people are getting cancers today, so it is not about our lifespan. Some information indicated 1 in 2 women and 1 in 3 men would get cancer in their lifetime. The year when I left USA in November 2013, the ratio was 1 in 4 in general (I could be wrong).

References:

 

  1. '1 in 2 people will develop cancer in their lifetime' Medical News today . https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/288916

  2. de Lang A1, Osterhaus AD, Haagmans BL. Interferon-gamma and interleukin-4 downregulate expression of the SARS coronavirus receptor ACE2 in Vero E6 cells.Virology. 2006 Sep 30;353(2):474-81. Epub 2006 Jul 24.

  3. Fabricant, D. S. & Farnsworth, N. R. The value of plants used in traditional medicine for drug discovery. Environmental health perspectives 109(Suppl 1), 69–75 (2001).

  4. Newman, D. J., Cragg, G. M. & Snader, K. M. Natural products as sources of new drugs over the period 1981-2002. Journal of natural products 66, 1022–1037, https://doi.org/10.1021/np030096l (2003).

Why is that so necessary to inform us about excess Vitamin C would just go down the toilet? Granted that Vitamin A and D overdose can indeed be a real threat, but Vitamin C? Should not they put their energy in other areas helping the people?

At the beginning of the pandemic, my Facebook page was flooded with headlines from News Channels by experts accusing others of spreading misinformation concerning alternative remedies. When I did read about Oregano Oil, it was not about its efficacy, but from an article of some authority accusing of others proposing oregano oil for prevention, and calling that misinformation.

I have read more articles from conventional experts accusing others of misinformation than the misinformation itself. Yet the number of cases and the percentage of deaths are far higher in places where these experts belong. Yes, in Asia where people do turn to Traditional Medicine for prophylactic use, the number of total cases and the percentage of deaths is far lower.

The only exception is Australia, likely due to its higher intensity of sunlight in the summer season. This is an area where experts still disagree, with the loudest voice speaking against the efficacy of UV rays. But new finding from the US Government Scientists seems to indicate the contrary.

If you are infected and pass a certain age, they may send you home to die because there are not enough hospital beds or ventilators.

 

You can die untreated but don't you dare try any natural supplements?

 

Why I turned to Alternative Medicine

Call this conspiracy theory if you like, the Medical Industry has been working very hard to make sure we do nothing to boost our immune system so that we remain at subhealth condition (they call the sub-health condition a pseudoscience too) and are getting at least one cold per year. Make sure to get a flu-shot which won't guarantee a 100% protection. If it fails, too bad, blame it on your immune system, but not the lack of information or the suppression of information that boosts your immune system. 

 

The problem though is how we have come to accept this as the new norm. Our parents and grandparents in Asia very rarely catch a cold in their lifetime. Today, in almost any group gathering, you see one sick person, it is a matter of time the rest fall sick. 

Remember though, as a millennial in Asia, we have the opportunity to witness the difference between both worlds. We also saw the transition in Asia taking place when the newer generation is accepting the new conventional medical industry.

 

For us, crossing into the "modern lifestyle of the west" is only a 15-hour flight, differences are very apparent with a drastic change like that. As we begin our lives in the Modern World, we too started developing the same diseases common to the Modern World. 

Most Westerners will struggle to understand this since most are already many generations down-the-road with Modern Medicine. Just like my parents and their generations would not eat corn flakes that taste like sugar-coated cardboards, those growing up in the West saw that as normal. I still like the term coined by Michael Pollan, calling processed food as "Edible Food-like Substances". 

Having spent 10 years in the US, I too was indoctrinated to avoid all types of supplements and then I did not eat healthily as well so I do easily fall sick. Interestingly though, I also had shortness of breath but 3 thorough checkups came back with "NO UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITION, except for possibly due to depression.

 

So, by the books, I was considered healthy. But I fall sick easily when exposed to colds. In fact, beginning in Spring 2004, I got my first cold, and after that, I went from 1 to at least 2 colds every year. and all colds were very intense and followed by excessive dry coughs that last weeks and with plugged up ears from post-nasal drip. OTC cough suppressant did not work, only the prescription drug would help. I could still remember that year when I had my first flu shot was also the worst year ever. That year I also ended up with pneumonia. 

 

Eventually, I got so tired of getting sick and turned to alternative medicine. Not just from the local health food store, I also read countless articles online, both anecdotal and scientific journals.

 

In the first year with alternative medicine, I did not see much results except for a slightly shorter duration and more tolerable symptoms (yes, tolerable is a subjective feeling). In the second year, in 2011, I entirely prevented any incidence of cold.

 

I could remember in the Winter of 2011 when I was in Arizona for a Christian Activity. I had friends joking with me "Chun, YOU ARE NOT SICK!".  They joked about that because I was sick twice in a row for the last two years, and I remembered spreading it to other friends too. The same in later years when I would travel to Christian conferences in Wisconsin in Spring. With many people falling sick and with allergies during the Spring season, but all I had was only a scratchy throat that went away after taking alternative medicine and a good-night-sleep.

Now I rarely catch a cold, usually only with a scratchy throat and fatigue when I come in contact with a sick colleague in a confined lab, or from sick family members. The symptoms would go away after a night's rest, provided if I have some natural herbs sitting around.

Today, there seems to be an army of experts from the Medical Field very determined in negating the importance of using supplements for our immune system. Clearly they do not have our interest at heart.

 

So, do supplements work? Let's consider Zinc supplement for now.

 

A new study shows that Zinc supplements may not shorten the duration of colds, but taking Zinc supplements prophylactically does reduce the incidence of colds significantly.

 

So does Zinc protect us from colds and potentially the Flu? I think the answer based on the finding is yes. Please check out the study provided in the reference.

(I know many experts want to tell you how dangerous Zinc supplements can be, and Zinc overdose will kill you. But is not that true with your FDA-approved drugs? Overdose with water, if you manage to drink that much, will kill you too. Any expert bringing the overdose argument up is either not thinking clearly or seeking to muddle the matter)

You might think I am all against Conventional Medicine? No, I am not, my degree is in Biochemistry, many of my classmates went on to pharmaceuticals. I have respect for the discipline, the rigorous testing of the safety of a drug. I just do not respect the politics behind it.

In fact, I am asking we do the same with natural herbs. We would not know what works until we test them out in a systematic way similar to pharmaceutical drugs to produce a comprehensive understanding. 

References:

  1. ALJAZEERA. Sunlight and humidity kill coronavirus the fastest: US scientists. NEWS, United States. ALJAZEERA.24 Apr 2020. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/sunlight-humidity-kill-coronavirus-fastest-scientists-200424065853466.html

  2. C. Huo, S. B. Wan, and T. H. ChanThe challenge of developing green tea polyphenols as therapeutic agents. Inflammaopharmacology. 2008 Oct; 16(5):248-252.

  3. Goutham Rao, MD and Kate Rowland, MD. Zinc for the common cold—not if, but when. J Fam Pract. 2011 Nov; 60(11):669-671

  4. Jiang M, Peng X, Fang J, Cui H, Yu Z, Chen Z. Effects of aflatoxin b1 on T-cell subsets and mRNA expression of cytokines in the intestine of broilers. Int J Mol Sci. 2015 Mar 27;16(4):6945-59. doi: 10.3390/ijms16046945. PMID: 25826527; PMCID: PMC4424998.

  5. Mahato Dipendra K., Lee Kyung Eun, Kamle Madhu, Devi Sheetal, Dewangan Krishna N., Kumar Pradeep, Kang Sang G. Aflatoxins in Food and Feed: An Overview on Prevalence, Detection and Control Strategies  Front. Microbiol., 04 October 2019

  6. Soliman K.M. Incidence, Level, and Behavior of Aflatoxins during Coffee Bean Roasting and Decaffeination. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2002, 50, 25, 7477-7481

  7. Studer-Rohr I, Dietrich DR, Schlatter J, Schlatter C. The occurrence of ochratoxin A in coffee.Food Chem Toxicol. 1995 May;33(5):341-55.

  8. WorldOmeter, Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic.  (Updated Daily) Site:https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

Understanding the Challenges Faced by Alternative Medicine 1: Embracing the variables

Natural Herbs are used in minimal processing in Alternative Medicine. They are different from drugs in that, they usually carry many other compounds that some may call them impurities. These impurities can create variables that increase the complexity of the research. And this is one of the greatest nightmares in biological sciences. It is no longer the simple 1+1=2 straight-forward answer, there are many other variables at play.

So ignoring the variables have been widely accepted in allopathy, pulling one of the active compounds out and making that the main active compound simplifies the entire equation, sort of like turning on 'unknowns' into constants.

Perhaps, using the analogy of a fighting ring may help, how do we decide who is the world's best fighter? You can have a realistic answer or an artificial answer. The realistic answer deals with far too many varying factors that "experts" seek to avoid. So they create an artificial scenario by putting a bunch of people in the ring and the last man standing is the best fighter, but there are rules, no kicking someone in the groin, no biting or eye-stabbing, no attack below the waist, on knees or so on. There can still be finesse and techniques fighting under such a heavily structured artificial system. But this best fighter may not survive a fight on the battleground when soldiers try to kill each other.

The same is with many pharmaceutical drugs, you create a scenario to test a limited number of hypotheses by eliminating variables that may produce undesirable results. Think about immunosuppressants that are administered as "treatment". Most patients with auto-immune diseases that went on immunosuppressants never recovered from the auto-immune disease, and they end up taking it for as long as they live.

 

For instance, corticosteroids may be administered as a TREATMENT to a patient with Crohn's disease, but we know it does not treat the disease but the symptoms. If one of the research criteria was "would it cure Crohn's Disease", then this drug would never pass the test. But redefining it as "Would the patient go into remission from Crohn's Disease". Now you can get it approved. However, other natural products like Curcumin or Boswellia are equally effective in dealing with the symptoms, and interestingly, their effectiveness increases over time. But they are not allowed to be called treatment.

In Conclusion, many natural herbs have very complex properties and that makes them harder to study. They do not fare very well under the same artificial conditions created by the Conventional Medical Authorities.

The attention has been on the pandemic. But we need to understand the same diseases that are claiming lives before the pandemic are still doing damage today and will continue ton tomorrow. Cardiovascular diseases, cancers, the Influenza flu, and so on are still wreaking havoc. May be Alternative Medicine can help, if we start now.

Understanding the Challenges Faced by Alternative Medicine 2: Getting FDA's stamp of approval

Today, bringing a synthetic drug to the market can cost more than US$1billion dollars, an amount only the Big Pharma can afford. This discourages any alternative medicine from toiling through the process since it is a risk far too expensive to take especially when one does not have the exclusive right to natural herb at the end. 

Most natural herbs contain an array of active compounds compared to a single-compound synthetic drug. The variety of active compounds makes testing difficult and expensive since they may interact with each other to produce different pharmacological effects in the consumer. 

Graph: Lara-Ortega, F. Direct olive oil analysis by mass spectrometry: A comparison of different ambient ionization methods. Talanta Volume 180, 1 April 2018, Pages 168-175
 

It is necessary to know that the number of peaks is not necessarily the number of individual active compounds, some can be the fragments of larger compounds.

Getting each tested extensively and the potential interactions between the compounds can be an arduous and monetarily costly task that even the Big Pharma may not be able to afford. But the variety is there for a reason, just because we do not have the knowledge and capacity to stomach it does not mean we can dismiss that. THERE IS INTELLIGENCE BUILT-IN in living Organisms, check out how bacteria communicate by Dr. Bonnie Bassler from Princeton University on Quorum Sensing.

Many natural herbs have anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties that work in a discriminatory way. Some are also directly and actively involved in immunomodulation, turning on and off of our immune system in response to infections including regulating cellular homeostasis to avoid toxin-buildup. 

How plants work discriminatorily against pathogens or cancer cells was something I have observed in agriculture and the livestock industry, when I was using antiviral and anti-microbial plants extracts for neonatal pigs or using symbiotic microorganisms with plants. In other words, there is INTELLIGENCE built-in that plants and microorganisms know who are the friends and who are the foes. 

The Livestock and Agricultural Industry was much easier for us to perform experiments of known natural herbs that have been used for centuries if not thousands of years. We did not just go into the woods and picked up some wild plants to test on these neonatal pigs, we followed recorded texts from Traditional Medicine from around the world, far from the irresponsible alchemy-like image many conventional medical experts have painted.

We want to make alternative medicine available to the market as true medicine like they once were, not under food and supplements, but truly building a database of information similar to that of pharmaceutical drugs and giving alternative medicine its rightful place. We would urge medical doctors to consider using them as complementary medicine too. 

Giving Alternative Medicine its rightful place would help to weed out dangerous practices. I appreciate this article by the title: War against Natural Medicine and here is a quote:

[Acting head of RMIT's Health Sciences School Dr Ray Myers has defended its programs as "evidence-based education and practice", saying clinical research of natural medicine treatments are funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

If FSM really was so worried about public safety they would not be trying to exclude natural medicine from universities where they are taught with much more of a medical focus. Graduates of these courses are much more likely to refer patients to medical doctors when necessary.

As Nick Klomp, Dean of the science faculty at Charles Sturt University, points out, thousands of practitioners already provide alternative medicine and they are very much in demand. "I could ignore them or I could train them better," he said. "We actually create graduates who are much better health care providers. It's all about evidence based, science based."]

References:

  1. Bassler, BL. Quorum Sensing: The Process of cell-cell communication in bacteria. 329 Thomas Laboratory. https://scholar.princeton.edu/basslerlab/home

  2. Giongoab, JL., Vaucher,. RA., Sagrillo, MR. Anti-inflammatory effect of geranium nanoemulsion macrophages induced with soluble protein of Candida albicans. Microbial Pathogenesis. Volume 110, September 2017, Pages 694-702

  3. Goutham Rao, MD and Kate Rowland, MD. Zinc for the common cold—not if, but when. J Fam Pract. 2011 Nov; 60(11):669-671.

  4. Lara-Ortega FJ1, Beneito-Cambra M1, Robles-Molina J1, García-Reyes JF1, Gilbert-López B1, Molina-Díaz A2.. Direct olive oil analysis by mass spectrometry: A comparison of different ambient ionization methods.Talanta. 2018 Apr 1;180:168-175. doi: 10.1016/j.talanta.2017.12.027. Epub 2017 Dec 14.

  5. Swamy, Mallappa Kumara et al. "Antimicrobial properties of plant essential oils against human pathogens and their mode of action: an updated review." Evidence-Based Complementary and alternative Medicine, Article ID: 3012462, 2016.

  6. Vimalanathan, Selvarani et al. "Anti-influenza virus activity of essential oils and vapors." American Journal of Essential Oils and Natural Products, Vol. 2, no. 1, 2014, pp. 47-53.

  7. Schwager, S. War against Natural Medicine. News 21.Feb.2012.Site: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-21/schwager-war-against-natural-medicine/3840682

Understanding the Challenges Faced by Alternative Medicine 3: Agriculture

The average person living in the Modern World may have a suppressed immune system due to the toxins we are exposed to from day-to-day. A common one is the low level of fungal toxins in food such as coffee, corn, and many other grains grown in Modern Agricultural Technology. This can be addressed if beneficial microorganisms are introduced into our Agricultural System.

Fungal toxins such as Aflatoxins will lower your T cells that are responsible for fighting viral infection and cancer cells. Do not be surprised by the increasing rate of cancer today. This has much to do with our suppressed immune system.

Besides fungal toxin, Modern Agriculture's emphasis on yield and not the nutritional quality of the plants is another serious problem. The neglect of soil quality and the neglect of the importance of trace minerals and soil carbon content are the many reasons why our food has lower nutritional value today. And yet your doctors would not advise the use of supplements, so what are your options now? 

Remember this screenshot on the left from healthdirect.gov.au?

I find it very irresponsible to use a highly subjective term as "a balanced diet". Do we have established levels of all the nutrients needed for a balanced diet? Do we have a nutritional profile of all the produce we get from dirt poor soil? No, we do not, but we get the message, do not take supplements.

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/blog/can-you-boost-your-immune-system-against-the-coronavirus-covid-19

In the case with Herbal Plant Cultivation, the same technology from Agricultural Food Production would do great damage to the Alternative Medicine Industry. 

 

Conventional Agriculture treats our plants like laboratory specimens which we try to create a relatively clean environment void of pests and competing plants with only ONE GOAL in mind, maximum yield. If possible, we would try to grow them in medium that is sterile so that the plants invest far less energy in immune defense but for growth.

But stress is beneficial since it elicits the biosynthesis of many metabolites in plants, including a wide range of bioactive compounds. Many of these bioactive compounds also confer health benefits to humans.

 

However, incorrect stress-induction can result in a drastic loss of crop yield, but it is still possible to maintain high yield with quality, the secret lies in microbial technology in soil. The unfortunate thing is, all these findings fell on deaf ears. This is an area I seek to change.

Here is a picture of some plants I tested with chemical fertilizers with microorganisms as biotic-stressors during my last job in the US.

The ones with microbial inoculation clearly have larger root mass, while the NPK and Control have smaller root mass. Plants that have chemical fertilizer and Microbial Inoculation perform extraordinarily well compared to just the microorganisms alone. Although the test focused mainly on shoot and root growth, it is necessary to understand that, the medicinal value of many herbal plants is actually in the root. 

Similar results are observed in microalgae cultivation when I was co-culturing microalgae with 2 heterotrophic microorganisms. (Microalgae are plant-like microorganisms). The oil content was higher without the loss of total biomass. Many Microalgae like Chlorella and Spirulina produce beneficial polyunsaturated fatty acids such as Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids.

If we are going to introduce Alternative Medicine to the Modern World, we need to start doing it RIGHT in the SOIL.

References:

  1. Author: Unknown. Dirt Poor: Have Fruits and Vegetables Become Less Nutritious? Environment, Scientific American. April 27. 2011. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/soil-depletion-and-nutrition-loss/

  2. Author:Unknown. It's supposed to be lean cuisine. So why is this chicken fatter than it looks? The Guardian. Food/The Observer. Mon 16 May 2005. Site: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2005/may/15/foodanddrink.shopping3

  3. Howitz, KT. Sinclair, D. Xenohormesis: Sensing the Chemical Cues of Other Species.  Cell. 2008 May 2;133(3):387-91. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2008.04.019.

  4. Toscano, S., Trivellini, A. and Ferrante, A. Effect of Preharvest Abiotic Stresses on the Accumulation of Bioactive Compounds in Horticultural Produce. Front Plant Sci. 2019;10: 1212

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