The country must be more open-minded and work on scientific data and analysis to legalise important herbal plants endemic to Malaysia
BY ADI SATRIA
MOVING INTO the 7 series of our lives can mean many things to many people. Some see it as a period to slow down, play with the grandchildren, and prepare for the next life.
Yet, some see it as a time to work even harder to maintain their physical and mental health. There are many tips on the secrets to a fulfilling life, but there is no substitute for proper nutrition and exercise.
And yet, for the majority, it is about operations and pills, pills and more pills, convinced that it is inevitable to manage their health issues. But it could just be about treating the symptoms and not the cause.
I, for one, have always looked at people around the world who made it to beyond 70 years of age, staying active and fit and finding out what their secret is.
My grandfather, who lived till 102, attributed it to his love for gardening, rearing chickens in our backyard, and, more importantly, discovering knowledge and the secrets of the Quran. This latter habit stimulated and exploited his mental capacities and brought him spiritual fulfilment. I never saw him stressful, always calm.
He was also an artist and was good at carpentry, building chairs, tables and the chicken coop. During our school holidays, when it was the kite flying season (which is non-existent today), he would make moon kites for us to fly and show off to the neighbourhood kids.
He ate only for sustenance and never missed the fasting month. He switched from eating rice to consuming bread in the last 10 years of his life and still enjoyed his 10 sen Indian cigar (Rose brand) in the evenings.
Yet, he did not suffer any of the ailments that have plagued today’s affluent society, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart diseases.
Staying young begins with thinking young
Last week, when my Free School classmates in our WhatsApp group decided to have a small reunion after lifting the inter-State travel restrictions, nine of us who were all fully vaccinated said yes. Four of us in Kuala Lumpur carpooled to Yan Kedah to gather for a one-night stay at the two-acre farmhouse of our classmate, Tok Mat.
Tok Mat’s farmhouse, planted with fruit trees, is ideally located in a remote kampong surrounded by lush jungle and between two clear streams flowing through the left and right of the property.
The first agenda of the afternoon was a dip in the cool stream. One of us noted that we belonged to the eight per cent of people in the world who survived beyond the age of 70. What a celebration to have reached this milestone.
We noted that we had lost three dear classmates in the group and another two who lived overseas within the last two years.
We were all masked up during the drive from Kuala Lumpur and ensured SOPs were followed. A couple of my classmates were comparing notes about their state of health.
Rahmat Amin and Dr Rashid (an IT expert) were both diabetic and had to have insulin shots daily besides consuming their cocktail of pills. They both suffer from glaucoma, with one having additional prostrate issues.
Yet, they were never out of jokes and were mentally alert, at least for women. It is ok to keep thinking like 17-year-olds, not 71. As one research pointed out, staying young begins with thinking young.
Discussions led on to the benefits of traditional herbs such as ginger, turmeric, black seeds, honey, cannabis and the latest rage being ketum.
Thailand has lifted the ban on ketum, the scientific name being Mitragyna speciose, and those in jail on ketum-related offences have also been released. Now you can purchase ketum drinks openly in Thailand as the drink is believed to help in enhancing one’s health and immunity levels, critical in the fight against the Covid-19 virus.
A USM researcher, Professor Zurina Hassan was recently awarded a grant of EU60,000 (RM294,856) from the Greg Foster Research Award of the Alexander Hubolt Foundation of Germany to continue her research on the benefits of ketum and butterfly pea (or bunga telang).
Understanding the critical issues
It shows that the world recognises the medical benefits of ketum, which has been used traditionally since the 19th century by Southeast Asian communities and offers traditional solutions for the prevention, cure and sustainability of good health.
Ever wondered how farmers can stand the gruelling pace to plant paddy, tap rubber and work on farms the whole day?
I, for one, have discovered that a small dose can sustain my energy for a few hours clearing weeds and planting fruit trees at my friend’s farm in Hulu Yam – an activity that has enhanced my physical and mental health during these pandemic times.
The positive news is that the MP for Muar, Syed Saddiq, is heading a bipartisan parliamentary caucus to study regulations on the use of hemp, cannabis and ketum for medical purposes.
The bipartisan group includes the Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on Law and Human Rights, Dato’ Sri Azalina Othman Said and the MP for Shah Alam Khalid Samad.
During the debate on the 12 Malaysia Plan, Syed Saddiq pointed out that the current market for medical hemp and marijuana is worth about RM60 billion and is expected to grow to RM400 billion within the next four years. Malaysia must not lag as many countries like the US, Canada, Australia, Denmark, and Argentina have approved medical marijuana.
The country must be more open-minded and work on scientific data and analysis to legalise these important herbal plants which are endemic to Malaysia. These plants have been recognised as being of top quality, and they include tongkat ali, kacip fatimah, ketum and cannabis.
The problem is, we are still conservative in looking at the potential of these plants for medical and pharmaceutical purposes. Understanding the critical issues on how we manage the industry and prevent abuses with proper and fair enforcement will benefit us in the long run.
At the moment, people are obtaining supplies of ketum juice through their kampung network and other suppliers. Those using them at the correct dosage regularly swear on the benefits to their health, such as controlling diabetes, lowering blood pressure, and managing heart ailments.
These claims are supported by their visit to their doctors for medical checkups. With proper and good blood circulation, the overall health of a person is enhanced. And that can be the secret to a healthier and more sustainable life beyond 70. – The Health
ADI SATRIA, a veteran of marketing communications, continues to lead a more physical lifestyle and sees farming and sweating it out as a way to a productive life assisted by traditional herbs and proper nutrition.