Once again confirming the power of the net versus corporate greed, some 160,000 people have already signed the Sum of Us Nestlé petition demanding the company stop trying to patent the medicinal powers of nigella sativa.
Nigella sativa is found the East Mediterranean to Northeast India. It’s cultivated in Egypt, the Middle East (Saudi Arabia in particular), Turkey, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Sudan, Afghanistan Europe and many other places, says the interactive map above (click to enlarge).
Its Black seed was discovered in the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamen’s tomb, about 1325 BC . But Nestlé claims there’s no problem because it ‘s not trying to the flower itself, only the flower’s medicinal uses.
Nestlé’s official patent, filed in countries around the world, claims it ‘invented’ use of nigella sativa to treat allergic reactions, despite the fact the flower has been used for this very purpose across the Middle East and Asia for more than a millennium.
Says Edward Hammond in his Third World Network briefing paper published in July last year
“The Swiss giant’s claims appear invalid, as traditional uses of Nigella sativa clearly anticipate Nestlé’s patent application, and developing country scholarship has already validated these traditional uses and further described, in contemporary scientific terms, the very medicinal properties of black seed that Nestlé seeks to claim as its own “invention”.
He goes on »»»
Nestlé’s international patent publication (WO2010133574), published in November 2010, is directed towards use of Nigella sativa severeto stimulate opioid receptors in the human body, thereby preventing or reducing allergic reactions to foods. Nestlé researchers demonstrated this effect by inducing an egg protein (ovalbumin) allergy in mice, and then co feeding the rodents the allergen and a compound called thymoquinone, which is a major chemical constituent of black seed oil (as well as the herb thyme). With the additi on of thymoquinone to their diet, the mice exhibited a less severe allergic reaction to the egg protein.
Jon Newton — myblogdammit
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