The Ocean Pharmacy
By Awake! correspondent in Canada
FROM where are natural drugs derived? No doubt plants and herbs most readily come to mind. However, Dr. Michael Allen, writing in The Medical Post, describes drugs that are obtained from a most unusual source—the ocean.
Of course, this is not new; for centuries the Chinese have used fish extracts to treat disease. And cod-liver oil has been around for a long time, as many older ones can attest. Yet, little is known about the curative powers of marine life when compared with what is known about those of plants and herbs.
Nevertheless, what has been discovered is fascinating. For example, a chemical produced by the puffer fish can be used to treat asthma. The presence of nucleosides in sponges led to the development of vidarabine, an antiviral drug. A brown alga has yielded stypoldione, a cell-division inhibitor that may be used to treat cancer. And this is just a beginning.
The ultimate cure for illness, however, is not to be found in the ocean pharmacy. Rather, only God’s Kingdom can fulfill the stirring prophecy: “No resident will say: ‘I am sick.’”—Isaiah 33:24.