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Mother Nature over medicine cabinets: Utahns seek natural remedies to feel better

Posted at 7:47 AM, Sep 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-21 09:47:25-04

SALT LAKE CITY — More Utahns are using different forms of alternative medicine to better manage physical and mental illness.

"People are starting to wake up and recognize, 'we don't have to be sick, and we don't have to depend on government or big pharma to bail us out,’" said Mike Wood.

Twelve years ago, Wood said a friend asked him to make a presentation to a youth group on wild and edible plants. This piqued his interest, and he has been researching plants ever since.

Wood explained that his daughter was a driving force behind his exploration because she suffered from allergy-induced asthma.

"I started looking at the plants to see, ‘Is there something there that could help her with that? Sure enough, I started finding all kinds of plants that could help her with her asthma,” said Wood.

“It goes beyond nutrition. These plants are healing."

More recently, Wood started Wild Utah Edibles and offers plant tours throughout parts of Northern Utah. Over the years, Wood has noticed people becoming more interested in natural remedies.

According to Mount Sinai, the use of herbal medicine has risen across the U.S. in the last 20 years. The medical research institution attributed it to dissatisfaction among the public with prescription medication costs, as well as the growing intrigue in returning to natural or organic remedies.

That includes an interest in what’s known as adaptogens.

“An adaptogen basically is a substance. For instance foods, supplements, herbs, or even mushrooms that help the body cope with stress,” said Dr. Laura Shane-McWhorter, a clinical professor at the University of Utah College of Pharmacy.

According to a more recent study published by Transparency Market Research, revenue generated from the adaptogens market on a global scale is expected to grow from $10.3 billion in 2020 to $23.4 billion by 2030.

Beverly Hollister is part of the adaptogens market. She is the co-owner of a business in Provo called Tibena. Launched in 2018, it produces teas that contain adaptogens.

However, Hollister’s knowledge of adaptogens dates back 25 years, and for more than 30 years, she has been involved in health and wellness business ventures across the globe.

“It’s really feeding our body the nutrition that our ancestors knew,” she explained. “It’s not a miracle. It’s just food.” Hollister also calls adaptogens a “nutritional tool” that should be used in conjunction with other healthy daily habits like diet and exercise.

Since natural remedies like adaptogens aren’t the same as pharmaceuticals, Dr. Shane-McWhorter says there are several things people must take into consideration before they take them

She advises consumers to consider where they grow, what is the source of water, and whether there are pesticides or other environmental factors that could potentially affect its quality and safety.

Shane-McWhorter also advises people to consult with their doctor before taking adaptogens or natural remedies like that because they could interact with some prescription medications.