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Holten: The latest miracle drug

I have a question for you. If you could swallow a pill that did all of the things listed below, would you call it a miracle drug? I think you would. Well guess what? You can.

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What does this miracle drug do? To begin with, taking this helps you to overcome depression. In addition, if you take it before a workout it gives you a big energy boost and sustains your blood sugar. It also protects against muscle cramps during a workout and stops nighttime leg cramps.

Not only that but it counteracts calcium loss during urination, reduces premenstrual syndrome symptoms and any swelling anywhere, produces stress-relieving relaxation, protects against Type 2 diabetes, aides weight loss, strengthens the nervous system, and helps with the production of white blood cells.

Now, if you think that this stuff is already starting to sound like it might be a miracle drug, hold onto your hat. Because it does a whole lot more.

It strengthens your blood, relieves anemia, lowers blood pressure, protects against heart attack and stroke, aids digestion, rids the body of toxins and heavy metals, stimulates growth of friendly bacteria in the bowel, produces digestive enzymes to assist in absorbing nutrients, normalizes bowel motility, sooths the digestive tract, and helps to restore lost electrolytes.

Plus it is an antacid, providing relief from acid reflux, heartburn and GERD, and even relieves stomach ulcers by coating the lining of the stomach against corrosive acids.

Heard enough? Wait, because there’s more.

You see, it also prevents kidney cancer, protects the eyes against macular degeneration, builds strong bones by increasing calcium absorption, and helps with learning by making you more alert and therefore smarter.

It is also high in antioxidants, providing free radicals and protection from chronic disease, reduces nausea from morning sickness, relieves itching and irritation from bug bites or hives, keeps you from binging between meals, lowers body temperature and cools you during a fever or on a hot day, helps you stop smoking by speeding up the recovery from the effects of withdrawal, removes warts, and can even be used to shine shoes.

Yes, it certainly sounds like a miracle drug. But there’s a catch and the catch is that it has, up to now, been mostly given to monkeys.

Still, you’re not going to let that dissuade you from using it, are you?

I can tell you where you can get it and for a very decent price. Because, you see, this isn’t a drug at all. It’s actually just a banana.

And there are some interesting facts about bananas that you may not know. For example, contrary to popular belief, bananas do not grow on trees. They are a plant (an herb) and they are actually the world’s largest perennial herb that can grow up to 25 feet high and they can develop massive banana leaves that extend 9 feet into the air and their roots can be up to 100 years old.

Now, most modern bananas are grown on plantations in tropical regions like South America, Central America and the Caribbean. And, fortunately, Americans are smart enough to eat more bananas than they do apples and oranges combined with the average American eating 27 pounds of bananas every year.

It was in the 15th and 16th centuries that Portuguese colonists created the banana plantations in the Atlantic Islands, Brazil and western Africa. But North Americans, for the most part, didn’t begin consuming them until shortly after the Civil War, and then only in small quantities.

North American shippers like Lorenzo Dow Baker and Andrew Preston, the founders of the Boston Fruit Co., started shipping bananas to America in the 1870s. But railroad builders like Minor C. Keith also participated, eventually culminating in the multi-national giant corporations like today’s Chiquita Brands International and Dole.

These companies have always been vertically integrated (meaning they controlled growing, processing, shipping and marketing) and usually used political manipulation to build enclave economies (economies that were internally self-sufficient, virtually tax exempt and export-oriented while contributing very little to the host economy).

Their political maneuvers, which gave rise to the term Banana Republic for states like Honduras and Guatemala, included working with local elites and their rivalries to influence politics in favor of the international interests of the United States.

At any rate it all prompted Daphne Guinness, a current-day artist of both British and Irish nationality and an heir to Arthur Guinness, the 18th-century inventor of the beer that still bears his name, to once say, “Life is full of banana skins. You slip, you carry on.”

Holten is the manager of The Drill and the executive director of the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. Email him at