Thursday, April 4, 2013

Alternative Natural Medicine.....Or Not?

Sitting on the counter in a local pharmacy we noticed a stack of boxes with the word "Jellyclar" on the side.  Inside each box sits a collection of twenty vials that look almost like the kind medicine comes in and needs to be extracted by syringe. Similar vials can be found in many of the tiny "chino" stores on the side of the road.  "Chino's" here in Panama are similar to convenience stores in the U.S. where one can pick up a variety of items like bread, milk, beer etc....  Apparently the vials contain something called "Royal Jelly," which needed further investigation.

The Box of twenty Royal Honey

Royal Jelly is a substance made by worker honey bees and serves as the exclusive food source for the Queen bee.  Because of this miraculous substance the Queen bee lives seven years compared to only seven weeks for the worker bees and she is double the size of the other bees.  What's more astonishing is that the Queen bee is fertilized only one time during her life yet is able to produce 2,000 to 3,000 eggs per day with each brood weighing more than twice her own body weight. Just imagine a 130 pound woman giving birth to a 260 pound baby!

Twenty Vials of the Royal Honey

Somewhere along the way, somehow, someone came up with the bright idea that if royal honey could extend the life of the Queen bee, perhaps it could do the same for humans, and they began to market it as a nutritional supplement.  Royal jelly is rich in proteins and contains eight essential amino acids, fatty acids, sugars, sterols and phosphorous compounds as well as acetylcholine.  Acetylcholine is necessary to transmit nerve messages within our cells and too little is associated with Alzheimer's disease.  It also contains gamma globulin, known to stimulate the immune system and help fight infection.  Combined with a bunch of vitamins and minerals it seems to be one of those supplements that's good for just about everything.

To my surprise Clyde actually suggested that we buy some and try it since he noticed another customer buying a box yesterday.  My surprise is because I'm the supplement junkie and not Clyde.  Back in Texas when I'd tape the Dr. Oz Show and watch it later my dear husband once remarked, "every time you watch that show you start taking another supplement."  Although supplements aren't as easy to come by here in Panama, I still do take multi vitamins, calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, iron, fish oil, and probiotics found in yogurt.  Not as many as I used to consume, but still enough to put a dent in the wallet.  Some are necessary because I've had weight loss surgery years ago, others are supposed to reduce the risks of developing certain diseases or conditions. 

As for the Royal Jelly the following is the short list of what conditions it's supposed to help.  Perhaps just a little help to keep away many of the things we hope never to deal with in this lifetime. 

Menopause Related Symptoms
Chronic Fatigue
Skin Blemishes and Wrinkles
Immune System Stimulant
Viral and Bacterial Infections
Endocrine System Disorders
Hormonal Imbalances
Coronary Artery Disease
High Cholesterol Levels
High Blood Pressure
Weight Control
Broken or Weak Bones
Retarded Growth
Bladder Infections
Wound Healing
Liver Ailments
Impaired Memory
Panic or Anxiety Attacks
Parkinson's Disease
Anabolic Support (Athletic Abilities)
Weak or Tired Eyes
Mental Exhaustion

A few months ago I found a new plant in our backyard bearing Noni fruit.  The Noni fruit comes from Hawaii and the fruit is said to be one of the worst tasting, worst smelling fruits in the world.  The juice is extracted from the fruits and mixed with other juices to make it tolerable to drink.  I asked our Panamanian Spanish teacher today what the fruit was used for and she immediately said "it's medicine." So here's the short list of the benefits of Noni fruit that contain over 100 different nutritional components.  That alone would make me think it's got to be good for something!  But having said that I've never attempted to eat one with it's foul smell and taste which may make it impossible to consume. 

Drug addiction
High blood pressure
Muscle aches
Headaches of all strengths
Menstrual problems
Heart disease


Noni Fruit in our backyard

I've always been a believer of preventative medicine along with alternative medicine.  Seems to me it's much better to keep dreadful diseases away if at all possible, but should they occur why not try alternative medicine too?  Modern medicine simply treats diseases as they occur but never teaches us how to prevent them from happening in the first place.  Living here in Panama we eat fresh produce, fish and chicken like the locals do and consume very little that comes out of a box or bag anymore.  And being surrounded by tropical, rain forest that embraces us with the moisture and goodness of nature can only add to our rejuvenation.  Perhaps one of these days we'll wake up looking and feeling 30 years younger as we continue to search for the fountain of youth....along the gringo trail.

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