When Nestlé tries to patent TCM wisdom…

Nestlé is a Swiss multinational food and drinks processing conglomerate. In a paper published last year, Nestlé scientists claimed they had “discovered” what much of the world has known for millennia: That Nigella sativa extract (fennel seeds) could be used for “nutritional interventions in humans with food allergy.” Nestle failed to patent a TCM wisdom…


Instead of creating an artificial substitute or fighting to make sure the remedy was widely available, Nestlé was attempting to create a nigella sativa monopoly and gain the ability to sue anyone for using it without Nestlé’s permission. Nestlé has filed patent applications — which are currently pending — around the world.

Update 2020: The patent was denied…

nestle failed to exclusively patent old TCM wisdom
I am perplexed about this last public outreach: My response is, let Nestle Corp. patent any idea they want… What difference does it make? Anyone interested still has the same access to fennel flowers when trying to find benefits, regardless. Grow it in your garden… It does not limit anyone from brewing a fresh fennel tea at home. I actually think these silly attempts to claim “title” to ancient knowledge are great exposure of public knowledge in today’s uninformed, pill-pushing culture. Look at this example: Although chicken soup has been demystified as a scientifically correct cold remedy, this data ignores the placebo effect of any caring mom, sister, or friend preparing it for you when you are sick – i.e., health benefits nobody doubts and science can’t really pin it down into data either way…

vanilla creamer by Nestlé

In 2006 Nestle, after getting in contact with EYS (Eu Yan Sang), a Hong Kong-based Chinese traditional pharmaceutical corporation – produced in collaboration with a TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) – fused bouillon that did not successfully breach the market. Within this relationship, Nestle must have discovered that there is more to consuming food than “feeding”… Now, a few of Nestle’s modern scientists seemingly hashed out this idea they could patent 3000 years of herbal wisdom as if to dominate the market with a singular “ownership-certificate” of common natural wisdom. Next, they might attempt to patent that fresh ginger root corrects equilibrium and goji berries significantly slow the progress of cataracts. Let ‘em claim!

…and I admit, I love their Coffee-Mate Vanilla…

Any good TCM practitioner will merely smirk about this naïve attempt to secure greedy power. It is a misguided marketing scheme that one isolated entity is the “cure-all” for trusting consumers searching for alternative help. You should never trust a laboratory geek selling you packaged “wellbeing,” especially if they produce junk-food brands like Coffee-Mate Creamer and Lean Cuisine (run)!  Sugar and food color-loaded products like Cheerios, KitKat, and Nesquik chocolate milk cause tooth decay, child obesity/diabetes, and skin disorders… Nestle intends to create a natural anti-hive remedy based on ancient herbal knowledge, and they pushed to claim this herbal remedy as exclusively theirs. These modern scientists must believe that if they could isolate a plant product, patent it and add it to unhealthy food products, people would consume it longer or in higher quantities because they don’t get sick as quickly…? Well, it’s like trusting Coca-Cola or Pepsi Cola with “healthy fruit juices.” Even so, they are loaded with corn syrup, preservatives, and a multitude of ingredients you should never poison yourself or your child with… Heck, all their “fresh” ingredients have shelf lives beyond nature’s date… Their products claim to be 100% fresh fruit juice! …“how much,” you should be asking – “how much is artificial and how much is actual fruit juice?” We just “read” the words that comfort us, not the text, intrinsically trusting.

nestle product

From the perspective of TCM, it takes a multitude of herbs and minerals to support a patient successfully. Not one singular remedy. As we all know, the same good herb that is intended to aid one person could harm another with the same symptoms. Modern pharmaceutical corporations like Nestle, blind-sided by generating revenue, are now laughably attaining a patent for an ancient claim that fennel flowers have skin healing properties… rather reflecting silliness in the face of simple herbalists: Yes, tea of fennel flowers reduces skin ailment in people – only if they have no internal inflammations. You cannot just isolate one powerful substance and give it to “all.” Most of the “natural medicines” you will find in today’s health-food stores are packed to lure consumers into finding “help” but are branded falsely or even promise “cure.”  Some go as far as to claim “healing power.”  These are all mass-produced “remedies” by factories producing little valuable substance for anyone. As if all humankind with the same symptoms – an ongoing catch 22 – could be cured with one singular ingredient, regardless of our height, our originality, condition, sex, or age… Nothing TCM supports nor recommends.

Contrary. Fennel flower tea contains thymoquinone that can aid women during their dysmenorrheal (painful menstruation), but at the same time, it can cause severe photodermatitis (skin rash) to another. While Nestle files patents requesting worldwide to create a skin remedy “cure for all” with an herb that’s been around for thousands of years – no modern practitioner would prescribe singular fennel flower tea as a successful skin remedy (Nestle claims it was to help children with food allergies…). Not in the last 3000 years of well-researched herbology was such simplicity effective enough to herbalists. Fennel flower (also known as Nigella sativa, black seed, and black cumin) would be prescribed within many herbs and minerals. Single applications are not the TCM norm.

Nestle should not claim they “own” this wisdom… Fennel is documented in over 3000 years of medicinal history. It is the knowledge that any well-rounded druid will pass on to you (to no cost). Like mom teaches her kids to brew a chicken soup for an ill sibling and encourages them to go and get him to drink it… She will give them the best advice yet: “Watch, he might be a bit grumpy, just ignore it and join him in eating the soup….” There, healing is initiated!

the TCM wisdom about fennel seed does not need a patent by nestle

Hint; fennel is health-boosting and can stop vomiting and reduces fever… If you want to learn more about it, visit the menu pages in and learn how to prepare a healthy shrimp and fennel salad – it is an aphrodisiac as well… That recipe was drafted by myself in 1998… Just in case Nestle gets any ideas!

TCMchef raphael


Most of us say “we know, the unexplainable exists…” but as a physicist, biochemist, virologist or anyone dedicated to conclusively understand how matter interacts and changes, one cannot just simple adapt a philosophical claim:

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The 99 percent movement popping up in all parts of the world indicate an accumulative displeasure to our unbalanced wealth and power distribution. Some of these protesters are poorly guided while aggressively waving signs and shouting their quarrels – it is a growing group expressing an aversion against the super-rich. That one percent comfortably sits back, unfazed, luxuriously manipulating laws so not to be held responsible. The rest suffers, struggles and slowly realizes there is no way to close the income gap. Depression follows, anxiety, and resentment. It does challenge even my sense for fairness these days, while witnessing corrupt business investments, world political imbalance, the EU contagious crumbling and our unsuccessful personal efforts to stay ahead of pressing bills and old-tailed American comfort. Times have seemingly changed.

I’m not defending either side of this wealth gap. Neither party convinces me about their “point of view” and my friends who invite me to participate in protest are often numb to look at the dilemma unbiased.
Personally, I am not that “sign in hand” protester, making my views seen and heard by blocking traffic or shouting slogans. I have also become discouraged about amending laws through initiatives in hope of change through Washington. Barking up against the powerful rulers of our wealth from a minority position, is about as effective as flicking pebbles onto a tree in hope it would fall. The rich have  successfully anchored into our legal system self-protecting laws that will not change.

We, the tax paying majority will bail out repeatedly the advantaged managers of Wall street corporations… Most of money needed for infrastructure, healthcare and retirement is sucked out of the little salaries from the 99%. That’s unfair considering – would we tax the top 1% by the same standard – the US Government and State treasury would be wealthy. Within one tax cycle we would have funds available to curve hunger, homelessness, medical disadvantages and our streets, parks and forrest would be stable and protected. We would have enough money in five years to eradicate climate change, education gap and gender inequality. None of the super rich would have to adjust their lifestyle! Their wealth would continuous hover above any money a human being needs to find peace and happiness.

Let me give you an European analysis. A Swiss guy who enters into the hotel lobby in Greece, makes a 100Euro key deposit to check out the room before confirming his stay (we do that). As soon as he walks up the stairs, the hotel owner runs to the butcher to pay off his weekly meat debt: The butcher hurries to the farmer and pays that 100Euro for the quarter-cow he already utilized and that farmer pays 100Euro  he owes the hooker from his last visit… and she pays off her debt to the hotel owner.  Just in time for the Swiss tourist to take back his deposit: He declines to stay… Nobody in this “round-about pay-out” ever produced nor generated an income and this non- consequential cycle starts all over again.

The only GDP value was the quarter-piece of cow the farmer had raised… and yet five parties believe they generated income and each should be paying a percentage to their Government. The hooker might not claim his/her income. The hotel owner will claim Government assisted aid, for he lost income. The butcher pays 25%, the farmer claims Gov Aid because the other three quarters were a loss and the Swiss tourist went to another country… In the US this is one of our biggest  economical dilemmas… An endless cycle of actions and yet, no actual production or income is generated.

Americas GDP productivity is lousy. As little as Italian’s government financial sustainability was possible by lowering the retirement age to 50… The US has long admitted that our archaic calculations for Social Security estimations are wrong. But SSi is unchanged in twenty years. There is no meandering around this reality. Cost of living is far higher than the income adjustments of the last thirty years. We eat more in average, work more for less pay, less healthy, participate less in public causes, horde more, care less for others, while constantly bombarded with media driven ideas of needing junk, updates and lifestyle choices that are mere distractions. Foreign economies are growing rapidly and our infrastructure is crumbling! We generate income true intellectual means but our education is slipping globally.


The 99% measure goals by adoring media illusions like the Kardashians – a standard of impossible accomplishment – that is about as fake as the details of everything they do, say, promote and sell… We idolize an idiotic perception that our happiness is to aim for a lifestyle portrait by such fake characters. As if true happiness and success is only obtained when being super rich.  This unattainable goal causes frustration, depression and resentment. Yup, funny: We first generate a huge fixation, creating “celebrities” and the more outrageous they behave – to keep our addiction glued to their every step – as soon as we realize this is all a marketing ploy, we dislike them. We don’t dislike the corporations that enriched themselves and don’t pay taxes. Outsmarted, Kardashian’s actually own their own LLC (limited liability corp)… that complicates who we should dislike.  Seven billion people on this globe,  all dreaming to be millionaires. All aiming to have food on the table, the best education, healthcare, unlimited vacations, servants… errr wait a minute – who’s doing the dirty jobs??

I find personal happiness by being simple. Better off than many and admiring a many; able to help others and still knowing I could spare more. I find peace in embracing that some are not as lucky and privilege does not equal smart. I ponder about my chances and embrace the fortitude for humbling moments. I cater to my friends (work as I love it…) and enjoy kind gestures or just being in their presence. Neither do I aspire to be rich nor do I envy their dealings. I do see a lot generosity from the wealthy; fewer indeed. They generate an economy that employs, enables healthcare, education, research and science. Not as much as they could… My life has taught me to be suspicious and cautious when one group categorizes the other group on behalf of the actions they “see”. In my business the nouveau-rich are likely to lack etiquette and old money shows no need to steal the spotlight. They too stumble with drugs, crime and health issues. Stripped of wealth and title, we are all very similar.  Injustice is clearly attributed to wealth and title.

If there is “change” to come from the demonstrations it must foremost define the need for equal social service, environmental warnings, healthcare, fair education and a simplification for “quality” of life. I wish the Kardashian wealth would be invested in child care, instead of make-up brands, they should build an university for kids to study free, instead of spending billions on vacation homes, they have to invest a generous fund into climate change instead of jetting in private planes around the world…

We, an older generation are hopeful while witnessing a younger generation actually becoming proactive, wise, with a foresight to protect this planet. Go, occupy the parks, the schools and the streets in peace and find out what your message can achieve; I might join a good cause in the near future…