Saturday, October 25, 2008

ACHS in Washington Day 3

Day 3: October 25, 2008
Chris Kilham, dubbed the “Indiana Jones of Natural Medicine,” delivers a rabble-rousing keynote address regarding the necessity of plant-based medicine. Between photographic slides depicting traditional practices in remote regions, personal anecdotes, and a lot of humor, Kilham emphasizes the life-saving properties of plants as well as the need for social responsibility, cultural sustainability, and preservation.

Plant-based medicine is the number one category of medicine in use worldwide, with approximately 50,000 plants employed for therapeutic purposes. And although the medicinal plant world is thriving with well-intentioned herbalists, shamans, harvesters, native growers, and preservations working together to usher in a new and exciting era of healing, the integrity of the plant world is continually challenged by poverty wages, environmental devastation, and bio piracy.

What does that mean for the herbalist today? The challenges faced by plant-based medicine are comparable to the sustainability factors influencing industries like fair trade handicrafts. The question: How does one harness and positively employ traditional knowledge and resources—and the invaluable contribution of indigenous cultures—while preserving the environment and safe guarding the quality of life of growers, harvesters, and healers (or carvers or weavers or dye experts, for that matter)?

Education is the short answer. But, how is education best employed?

You tell us. How do you educate yourself, your patients? Have you seen first-hand the challenges Kilham brings to light?

Educate us. Share your thoughts about plant and environmental preservation, responsible wages, bio piracy, miraculous tales of plant-based medicine.

Chris Kilham, Medicine Hunter, the Indiana Jones of Herbal Medicine, is the author of “Hot Plants” and the star of Medicine Trail TV, a real life adventure series. For information about his work, visit

Did You Know…?

The exotic isles of the South Pacific are home to a long-used traditional ingredient which is just now working its way into the U.S. and European topical and cosmetic industries. Since the 1920’s Oil of Tamanu (Calophyllum inophyllum) has been studied in hospitals and by researchers in Europe, Asia, and the Pacific islands.

Tamanu oil possesses a unique capacity to promote the formation of new tissue, thereby accelerating wound healing and the growth of healthy skin. This process is known as cicatrization. For this reason, it is a widely used traditional topical aid. In Pacific island folk medicine, tamanu oil is applied liberally to cuts, scrapes, burns, insect bites and stings, abrasions, acne and acne scars, psoriasis, diabetic sores, anal fissures, sunburn, dry or scaly skin, blisters, eczema, herpes sores, and to reduce foot and body odor. Tamanu oil is also massaged into the skin to relieve neuralgia, rheumatism, and sciatica. Tamanu oil is employed by Polynesian women for promoting healthy, clear, blemish-free skin, and is also used on babies to prevent diaper rash and skin eruptions.

**Information taken from Chris Kilham’s website. For more information, go to

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