The nigella sativa – more commonly known as fennel flower – has been used as a cure-all remedy for over a thousand years. It treats everything from vomiting, fevers and skin diseases. It has been widely available in impoverished communities across the Middle East and Asia.

However, one corporation wants to put a stop to all that and declare itself as the one and only organisation that has the right to pick or use this flower.

That organisation is Nestlé. The same company which is famed for endangering thousands of pregnant women and mothers in Africa by helping to make breastfeeding a stigma and giving out misleading information about the benefits of formula milk.

The same organisation that once claimed that drinking water ‘is not a right’.

I suppose it is hardly surprising really. I mean, why would a corporation that believes that water should be a privatised commodity, give a second thought about greedily claiming that only they have the right to use the fennel flower.

It is filing patent claims around the world to try and take control over the natural cure of the fennel flower and turn it into a costly private drug.

In a report published last year, Nestlé scientists claimed to ‘discover’ what much of the world has known for centuries: that the nigella sativa extract could be useful for helping people with food allergies.

But instead of creating an artificial substitute, or fighting to make sure that the remedy was widely available, the corporation is attempting to create a nigella sativa monopoly and gain the ability to sue anyone using it without Nestlé’s permission. It has already filed patent applications -which are currently pending – around the world.

It has also completely ignored the fact that scientists in countries such as Egypt and Pakistan had already published their own research on the fennel flower.

This is a really slippery slope.

If Nestlé were able to successfully patent this natural resource, and use their multi-million pound legal team to intimidate any man or woman who dares to try and grow or use it, it will literally only be a matter of time before they try to do the same for other natural remedies and herbs.

It sets a dangerous precedent indeed, and will undoubtedly encourage other corporate giants to do the same.

An online petition has already been circulating the internet in a bid to halt the attempted coup by Nestlé.

Others are resorting to putting pressure on local politicians and starting up Facebook campaigns in a bid to stop the madness.

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