June 13, 2005

Israelis germinate 2000 year old date palm

The Israelis have germinated a 2,000 year old date palm seed. Not just germinated — the plant is now 12 inches tall.

What's exciting about this? Well, our understanding is that modern medicines are often composed of laboratory-created pharmaceuticals, some of which seek to mimic what can be found in nature. Why? Simply because natural ingredients cannot be patented (i.e., there's no Big Money in it). Given also that here in the U.S., drug advertisements on television treat us to lists of what we'd call bad or even threatening side effects, better solutions are quite in order.

As Sarah Sallon of the Louis Borick Natural Medicine Research Center in Jerusalem notes:

"Dates were highly medicinal. They had an enormous amount of use in ancient times for infections, for tumors," she said. "We're researching medicinal plants for all we're worth, we think that ancient medicines of the past can be the medicines of the future."

Here's a hat tip to the Israelis for their diligence and foresight [and another to Yahoo! News reports, via the Associated Press for the article].

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