Cyprus Mail

What thrifty Cuba can teach us about alternative therapies

THE FINANCIAL crisis has been raging in Cuba since 1989, when the Cold War ended and the former Soviet Union withdrew its support for the communist island.

Since then, Cubans have lived under grim circumstances, but poverty and economic isolation have spurred them to find ways around the lack of modern medicines and chemical pesticides.

The result is a resurgence of alternative therapies and organic agriculture. Now that Cuba is cautiously opening its doors, the West may be able to learn from its example.

Cuba’s “challenge” has spurred growth in alternative medical systems such as homeopathy, acupuncture and phytotherapy (herbalism). Cubans are as familiar with arnica, belladonna and nux vomica as the average European.

Traditional herbal medicine is even more popular in Cuba than in the West. And Cuba has recently developed new alternative medicines, such as a homeopathic vaccine for Weil’s disease and Vidatox, an herbal remedy for cancer made from the venom of an endemic scorpion.

If Cyprus follows suit, it’ll be a positive outcome to the Crisis.

Penny Douglas 
Parekklisia Limassol

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