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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Irony Alert: Plants Used in Herbal Remedies Cause Cancer

Author: Reilly Capps/Wednesday, August 14, 2013/Categories: Archive Pick of the Week

 

File:Aristolochia baetica a.JPG 
[Aristolochia baetica, one member of a cancer-causing genus long used in alternative medicine.]


By Reilly Capps

Sorry, Alanis Morissette, here is real, true, semi-hilarious irony:

Plants that have been used by Chinese medicine men for centuries as a natural way to cure arthritis and other disease actually cause cancer.

This is a great quote from an oncologist, from The Scientist:

“A lot of people in the lay public assume that if something is herbal or natural that it is necessarily healthy,” said Marc Ladanyi, an investigator in the human oncology and pathogenesis program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York who was not involved in the studies. “But this work very clearly shows that this natural plant product is extremely genotoxic and carcinogenic.”

This alternative-medicine, plants from the aristolochia genus, causes more of a certain kind of mutation than smoking or sun exposure. Sun is natural. Plants are natural. But just because things are natural doesn't necessarily mean they're benign, just as things which are artificial are not necessarily harmful. You don't go around shoving pine needles into your eyeballs or drinking out of sulfur pools just because they're natural.

Nature isn't a pharmacy for humans. Half the time, it wants us dead.
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