"I firmly believe that if the whole materia medica
as now used (with a few notable exceptions),
could be sunk to the bottom of the sea,
it would be all the better for mankind
and all the worse for the fishes."
You may wonder, "How can this be so in the midst of the wondrous advances in science and technology of the 20th century?"
A few simple reasons may serve to answer:
1) The human body itself manufactures and metabolizes more chemicals in any single moment than the thousands which pharmaceutical houses regularly purvey to the gullible American public. Most bodies have no need of extraneous drugs. If the body needs a substance, most of the time it can produce it quite readily. Your body makes acids and antacids and buffers, vitamins and proteins and cholesterol, antibiotics and interferons, relaxants, sedatives and pain-relievers. The known list is even now almost endless, yet far from complete.
2) Contrary to common emergency room jokes about patients with acute Valium deficiencies, true deficiencies of body chemicals are really quite rare. If the body can make a substance in any amount, it should and can produce it in larger and sufficient amounts given the right incentive. The body working with a cooperative mind and emotions can produce enough internal drugs to fulfill all but the gravest emergencies.
3) External drugs are not exactly like the ones produced on the inside. The delicate and intricate balance of body chemistry is so far beyond even the greatest biochemical engineers' understanding. In all but the sickest of human bodies, a magnificent balance of millions of chemicals and minerals and compounds is maintained moment-by-moment day in and day out.
Most importantly, human beings really should have no great need of pharmaceuticals than the fishes in the oceans. Why do we believe that we need them? Think about that one.