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The human genome project, which has been under way for several years now, represents an attempt to build a complete genetic profile of the human race. Already researchers claim to have identified the gene responsible for a number of abnormalities, from cystic fibrosis to, most recently, aggression. Should this be regarded as an exciting enterprise that deserves the support of therapists of all persuasions? Or is it an extreme expression of hubris, a hazardous undertaking with unforeseeable and possibly disastrous consequences for human health and liberty. The result of this misperception is that, inevitably, genetic mapping will lead to genetic manipulation indeed that is the avowed aim of geneticists. Whatever the good intentions of researchers, the medical -industrial establishment a tacit alliance of doctors, drug companies, insurance and other interested parties, influenced to varying degrees by consideration of money or power will ensure that the pressures on 'genetic defectives' to undergo therapy will be irresistible. This will give rise to a society where the individual will relinquish all control over his or her own health, and where virtually everyone, from gestation onward, will become a "patient" under the control of the medical - industrial complex.

What does all this have to do with Phytotherapy (Herbal Medicine)? The natural therapies-among which the phytotherapy, in global terms, is paramount-in general reflect the philosophical view that nature in totality, is the expression of a universal harmony and equilibrium, the rupture of which gives rise to numerous ill effects, among them environmental devastation in the biosphere and ill-health in the individual.

Phytotherapy, by contrast, aims not to cure disease by a technological fix, but to bring about a restoration of homoeostasis through remedies that assist, but stop short of violence to the organism's intrinsic healing powers.

The eminent French doctor J.C Lapaz maintains that 90% of both common and serious illnesses could be treated with phytotherapy. It is therefore the lecturer believe that widening the scope of natural medicine in this way presents as worthy as a challenge to science as the human genome project, and one whose success would be crowned with immeasurably greater benefits to humanity and prevention of diseases.

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