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Say no to Nestlé!

Say no to Nestlé!

I’m sorry about sharing another petition here so soon, but this is an issue about which I really do feel very strongly.

Companies should not be allowed to copyright wild plants and their naturally-occurring ingredients – or indeed cultivated plants, unless they have bred them specifically or selected improved strains. A blanket copyright such as the one Nestlé are seeking so that they would own the use of the seed of Nigella sativa or its extract in any way as a drug or food ingredient (in dosages ranging from 0.1mg of the extract, right up to 3.75kg of the seed itself) is preposterous!

Why so? For one thing, the plant is called Nigella sativa. “Sativa” means cultivated. Cultivation indicates that its value as a food, herb or drug was well-known by the time the plant was named (by Linnaeus, so pre-1753, when he published the name in his Species Plantarum). It has been described (allegedly by the Prophet Muhammad, p.b.u.h.) as “The cure for every disease except death”! Its seeds (&/or oil, depending which authority you consult) were found in Tutankhamun’s tomb, so the Ancient Egyptians were also well aware of its properties. This plant has been grown, eaten and used as a medicine for millennia. The NCBI website (the US National Center for Biotechnology Information) lists 534 scientific papers concerning it or its active ingredient thymoquinone published around the world since 1965! How can Nestlé possibly claim to have recently discovered – and therefore “own” – it?

It makes me want to order some Nigella sativa seeds and grow them and eat them on principle! (Only £1.86 from Chiltern Seeds!)

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