My brother Sonny and I attended the 40th day mass for our Auntie Auring, the mother of our famous cousin, Dr. Jaime Galvez-Tan. I have not been to their ancestral home in maybe 40 years and was pleased to meet my cousins, five of seven boys, now men of course, who were part of my pride in my younger days—“I have seven cousins who are all boys”—and my classmates would be jealous that I could pick a date for them for the prom just from among these seven handsome guys.
Forty years later, here we are comparing what we are now busy at or retiring from. Besides Dr. Jimmy, the Tans also have a homeopathy specialist Jake, who with Dr. Jimmy concocts these herbal and other than “western” cures for normal ailments. Imagine my surprise when he said women could have cholesterol levels up to 400 and still be safe. “Throw away those Statins,” he seemed to say.
“Juju” or Julio is a community development worker, planting indigenous trees in the Marikina watershed. His wife, who happens to be related to me by affinity being the younger real-blood sister of a sorority sister, Ning—is an architect who specializes in bamboo and making sustainable structures. This reminds me of the Green School in Bali, where all the school buildings are made of bamboo and can last for 30 or more years.
After dinner, Ping, the eldest, gives us a sample of Dr. Jimmy’s KKMSS drink flavored with Poncan and Stevia. Ping is the distributor of this elixir that should be a better deal than a cellular therapy drink we took three years ago. KKMSS is kamote, kulitis, malunggay, saluyot and sili—Dr Jim’s prescription for good health. The Guyabano flavor, I heard from Ping, is good for cancer patients.
Ning swears by Chlorella or Green Life supplements, also concocted by Dr. Jimmy, which removes toxic metals from the body. All these testimonials from siblings of Dr. Jimmy really touched me. They treat him like a friendly doctor who does not impose his vegetarian diet on anyone, and they all just seem to have a deep connection to his advocacy of healing through medicinal plants. Jake, I learned, has had two books published already on Healing Yourself from Medicine, a book quite revolutionary considering the ad budgets Big Pharma has to dispel the homeopathy claims.
I enjoyed listening to their exchanges on health, throwing medicines away, and the other subject (maybe because my presence) was coffee. Jesse, brother no. 2 who is a professional journalist, is an avid coffee drinker. He loves black coffee, always brewed, always freshly-ground. So everyone chimed in on coffee, coffee shops and coffee planting.
I reflected on their parents’ way of bringing up these seven boys. They are all community servants and servant leaders. I looked at old books of Uncle Jess on the shelves, which were left untouched for maybe the past 30 years. There were 30-year old issues of Reader’s Digest, paperbacks, photo albums and reminders of how these boys were raised in a loving, and serving atmosphere. Their father who we called Uncle Jess was a physician, and so Jimmy took after him. He was our “all-around” doctor for anything from tonsillitis to hypertension. Until he passed, the whole family always went to him for medical advice.
The next generation of Galvez-Tans is represented by Riva, the social entrepreneur who is documenting and formulating her dad Jimmy’s recipes, potions and formulae. But Riva tells me Big Pharma is already buying her patents. This is good, I tell Jimmy. Big Pharma will or is now selling Lagundi, Banaba, and maybe ABCD too. ABCD is Ampalaya, Banaba, Camote and Duhat—another Jimmy prescription.
“They have no choice but to follow,” Dr. Jim says of Big Pharma. “This is the way the world is going,” he continues. I think this is the way the world is going because we have reached the saturation point for bad health, increasing rates of diabetes, cancer and the like.
Now, the world will go back to Nature, because medicine really came from plants. And plants are food. And as they say, “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
Is it just me or is it really happening that so many people are turning either vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, turning to natural cures and looking for homeopathic relief? I think the time is right for everyone to take a second look at natural remedies. Banaba tea, anyone?
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Chit Juan is a founder and owner of ECHOStore sustainable lifestyle, ECHOmarket sustainable farms and ECHOcafe in Serendra , Podium and Centris QC malls. She also is President of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and President of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., two non-profits close to her heart. She often speaks to corporates, youth and NGOs on social entrepreneurship, women empowerment, and coffee. You can follow her on twitter.com/chitjuan or find her on facebook:Pacita “Chit” Juan. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.