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Jean Chediac has type 2 diabetes and had not taken his medication for a week, running his BGs up to double their normal level. He finally went to his health care provider, who gave him his medicine. Within a day, his BGs were back to normal.
Sound like a pretty good medicine? It is a drink of boiled stalks of the plant Traveler's Palm - a relative of the banana plant. Chediac lives in Guinea, and his health care provider is a medicine man.
Chediac's story is told by Dr. Tom Carlson, who works for Shaman Pharmaceuticals in San Francisco. Traveler's palm is one of hundreds of plants Carlson brings back to San Francisco to study for its use here in the United States, many for diabetes treatment.
Chediac tried Western diabetes drugs, but says he still felt tired and had problems with his eyes. After switching to his native plant remedies in 1996, those diabetes symptoms are gone.
Shaman works with healers and modern scientists throughout the world. When they tell Shaman they have a plant that works, Carlson visits the country, observes the methodology of treatment and brings the dry plant material back to San Francisco.
From there, says Dr. Jerry Reaven, a research scientist for Shaman, the company tries to make successful pharmaceuticals from these plants. Is Shaman plucking from the world's natural resources to profit here in the U.S.? No, says Carlson. Shaman works in collaboration with and gives back to the communities from which they take plants. According to Carlson, 15 percent of the company's field research budget goes to improve the scientific facilities in those communities.
Shaman has many plant-derived drugs in clinical trials, but has not yet brought any to the market. When it does, says Shaman, part of the profits will go to keep that plant growing and to help clinics and schools in the area from which the plant came.
Diabetes Health is the essential resource for people living with diabetes- both newly diagnosed and experienced as well as the professionals who care for them. We provide balanced expert news and information on living healthfully with diabetes. Each issue includes cutting-edge editorial coverage of new products, research, treatment options, and meaningful lifestyle issues.