By Robert Verkerk PhD
Founder, Alliance for Natural Health International
Executive & scientific director, ANH-Intl and ANH-USA

When you hear the term 'natural health', what springs to mind? Is it a vitamin tablet, or the use of willow bark instead of aspirin. Or is it something much bigger than simply ‘green medicine’ in place of Big Pharma’s patented — or generic pharma’s off-patent — offerings?

We lean much more towards the latter. And probably some way beyond many peoples’ sense of what natural health means to them. I know this simply because people often ask how we choose to work on so many, diverse issues, and it’s only when I give the same, predictable answer: “It’s all interrelated”, and then explain the linkages, that it then makes sense to them.

I’ve come to realise that the reason I feel so clearly the interconnectedness of what we do in ANH, is down to the fact that I’ve always carried around in my head a picture of what natural health means to me.

It relates to a core foundation of the living and non-living elements on our planet that in turn relate to humans and our health. The more we destroy our natural environments and replace them with artificial ones, the more likely we are to suffer health challenges given the lack of time, in evolutionary terms, we’ve had trying to cope with these new environments. Natural health, whilst not a formal discipline of medicine, is by its nature (pun intended) — holistic.

I’ve now managed to create a 4-level taxonomy of natural health issues (yes, in an Excel spreadsheet!) that attempt to capture some of the issues we’ve been most involved with during ANH’s two or so decades of operation. You’ll see the four levels in the circular figure below, masterfully designed and interpreted by Marta in our team. Outside the circle is the fifth level of the taxonomy, the campaigns (C), actions (A), research (R) and education (E) - the stuff that we do because we CARE as if our lives depended on natural health. Because they do, for each and every one of us, even if not everyone knows it.

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We invite you to dive in, but we have to warn you that you’ll need to exercise the zoom function on your computer or mobile so you can navigate all of the areas given the amount we’ve packed into the ANH Matters infographic. You’ll find some areas into which we’ve put a lot of energy, and others that we’ve only scraped the surface of, sometimes only with some limited desk-based research. Like any emerging area of research, it’ll take decades — lifetimes even — to get to grips with the field as a whole, and even then, the field will continue to evolve in line with our understanding. Think of it as a volcano growing out of the ocean, one that never stops growing.

Over to you. We hope our infographic paints a picture, or fills in some gaps in your own mental picture. In time, we’ll find new and better ways to display this.

But hopefully it’s helpful, and a start, so we all have a better and more shared understanding of what is at risk. Recognising too why we need to fight so hard to maintain or reclaim our inalienable right to natural health and individual freedom. 

Please share this story widely. Thank you.

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