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Herbal Remedies

Herbal remedies may be tested on humans
MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- University of Minnesota researchers are putting herbal remedies to the test on humans to learn about the remedies' efficacy based on science, not stories.

The university's Center for Spirituality and Healing researchers launched studies to examine scientifically three herbal preparations. The three projects also have Investigational New Drug status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which allows the remedies to be tested on humans, the university said.

In studying the turkey tail mushroom in breast cancer patients, Joel Slaton, associate professor of urologic surgery, said substances in the mushroom appear to activate cells of immune system that attack cancer cells. The university received a $2.3 million award from the National Institutes of Health for this study.

Linda Halcon, associate professor of nursing, said she is studying whether whether the tea tree oil can speed the healing process of wounds -- particularly foot wounds in diabetics -- by controlling staph infections.

In the planning stages is the study on a preparation of four herbs and a mushroom drunk as a tea that reportedly helps control hot flashes, researchers said.

Mining Of Ancient Herbal Text Leads To Potential New Anti-Bacterial Drug
Main Category: Complementary Medicine / Alternative Medicine News
Article Date: 02 Jan 2007 - 0:00 PST

A unique Mayo Clinic collaboration has revived the healing wisdom of Pacific Island cultures by testing a therapeutic plant extract described in a 17th century Dutch herbal text for its anti-bacterial properties. Early results show that extracts from the Atun tree effectively control bacteria that can cause diarrhea, as claimed by naturalist Georg Eberhard Rumpf, circa 1650. He documented his traditional healing methods in the book Ambonese Herbal.

The Mayo Clinic-led team’s report appears in the Dec. 23 edition of The British Medical Journal, www.bmj.com. In their report, Mayo Clinic researchers demonstrate the feasibility of using sophisticated data mining techniques on historical texts to identify new drugs.

Significance of the Mayo Clinic Research

The study provides a creative new model for drug discovery. It integrates nontraditional, ancient medical information with advanced technologies to identify promising natural products to investigate as drugs for new and better therapies.

“Natural products are invaluable sources of healing agents -- consider, for example, that aspirin derived originally from willow bark, and the molecular basis of the anti-cancer chemotherapeutic agent Taxol™ was derived from the bark of the Pacific yew tree. So it’s not so far-fetched to think that the contributions of an ancient text and insights from traditional medicine really may impact modern public health,” explains Brent Bauer, M.D., director of the Mayo Clinic Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program.

For thousands of years, people around the world have lived intimately with botanical healing agents and evolved effective healing traditions. “Our work shows just how much we can learn from them. But to make the most of what is fast becoming lost knowledge, we have to respect, preserve and work with traditional healing cultures,” adds Eric Buenz, Ph.D., researcher for Minnesota-based BioSciential, LLC.

Ancient Text

Rumpf referred to himself as Rumphius, in the Latinized scientific manner of the day. Rumphius was a German-born naturalist who worked for the Dutch East Indies Company. His book is an account of the herbal healing traditions on the Indonesian island of Ambon. Rumphius’ description of Atun kernels’ therapeutic properties is what modern medicine calls “antimotility agents,” they stop diarrhea. Writes Rumphius: “... these same kernels ... will halt all kinds of diarrhea, but very suddenly, forcefully and powerfully, so that one should use them with care in dysentery cases, because that illness or affliction should not be halted too quickly; and some considered this medicament a great secret, and relied on it completely.”


Dr. Buenz was formerly an investigator in Mayo Clinic’s Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program, and is now a private researcher with Minnesota-based BioSciential, LLC. Working with Dr. Bauer, Dr. Buenz went to the Independent State of Samoa in January 2005 and accompanied a shamanistic healer to Atun tree groves. The Atun leaves and nuts Dr. Buenz picked were brought back to Minnesota and analyzed in Mayo Clinic laboratories.

Global involvement

Scientists and others in the Mayo Clinic collaboration included:

-- in the Independent State of Samoa, shamanistic healer.

-- in Rochester, Minn., a Mayo Clinic neuroscientist, a physician, laboratory analysts and a bioinformatics text-mining expert, who oversaw the Mayo Vocabulary Server concept-indexing application to closely examine the text for detailed and relevant information.

-- in Kalaheo, Hawaii, ethnobotanists (persons who study the plant lore of a race or people) at the Institute for Ethnomedicine, National Tropical Botanical Gardens, to validate the correct botanical specimens.

-- in Boston, Mass., experts in technology to digitize the text so names, symptoms or ailments associated with a given plant could be extracted.

-- in New York, N.Y., a botanist at the New York Botanical Gardens to reconcile ancient plant names with modern plant names.

-- in Chicago, Ill., experts using a natural products database to compare the therapeutic plants identified by Rumphius with modern botanical healing agents in use. Plant names found in Rumphius’ text -- but not found in the database -- were considered promising leads to investigate.

-- in Amherst, Mass., a professor of Germanic languages who translated the work written in Dutch and Latin by Rumpf (1627 1702).

Collaboration and Support

Authors also include Kristi Frank and Charles Howe, Ph.D, at Mayo Clinic. Other collaborators include botanists Holly Johnson and Gaugau Tavana, Institute for Ethnomedicine, National Tropical Botanical Gardens, Kalaheo, Hawaii; and E.M. Beekman, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Funding was provided by Mayo Clinic.

The report is illustrated with photos taken of prints contained in a rare early version of the Ambonese Herbal, housed in the University of Minnesota’s Owen H. Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine, Minneapolis, which was published in a six-volume set between 1741 and 1750. Electronic files of the prints are available on request.

Mayo Clinic
200 First St. SW
Rochester, MN 55902
United States

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medical ... wsid=59866
Non-prescription Compound Found In Chillies Destroys Cancer

Non-prescription Compound Found In Chillies Destroys Cancer Tumours Safely
Main Category: Cancer / Oncology News
Article Date: 10 Jan 2007 - 7:00 PST

UK scientists have shown that capsaicin, the chemical that burns your mouth when you eat chillies and an active ingredient of over the counter drugs, can kill cancer cells with little or no harmful side-effects.

The study is published in the journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.

The team that conducted the research came from the Universities of Nottingham in England and Cardiff, in Wales, and was led by Dr Timothy Bates, who is a member of the Medical Research Council (MRC) College of Experts.

The researchers believe that capsaicin, and other similar compounds, attack the mitochondria of cancerous cells, causing them to "switch off" and die (apoptosis, or cell death) without harming surrounding tissue. Mitochondria are organelles (tiny granules of tissue with their own DNA) that live inside the cells of our bodies and convert nutrients into ATP - the chemical fuel that feeds our cells with energy.

Dr Bates, who is an international expert in anti-cancer drug development and mitochondrial research in particular, said this discovery might explain the low incidence of cancer in countries where they eat a lot of chillies like Mexico and India.

From a development view this discovery is exciting for two reasons. First, because capsaicin and related compounds already exist in food that is eaten regularly, they are already safe, readily available and not unknown. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly as far as development costs and timescales go, these compounds have already been approved for use in a range of drugs such as skin ointments to treat psoriasis and neuralgia. Converting their use to treat cancer would be much cheaper and quicker compared to starting from scratch with a new compound.

Dr Bates and his colleagues tested the capsaicin on H460 human lung cancer cells, which is recognised as the "gold standard" for new anti-cancer drugs. However, they also tested similar compounds on pancreatic cancer cells and found the same effect - the tumour cells died off leaving the surrounding tissue intact. This is a very exciting result because pancreatic cancer has a five-year survival rate of less than one per cent and is currently one of the most stubborn cancers to treat.

The study that led to this discovery is the first to emerge from a newly formed Nottingham UK-China Collaboration on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NUKCAM). The collaboration has members from the University of Nottingham and the Chinese National Academy of Sciences, for example Professor De-An Guo, who is head of the Shanghai Research Centre for the Modernization of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Prof Guo is working with Dr Bates to discover why traditional Chinese medicines are successful in treating cancer and other diseases.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is considered an alternative medicine in the west. But in China it is an important part of the public health care system.

The last twenty or so years have seen an increasing interest on the part of the West and China to come together and explore this wealth of knowledge that dates back thousands of years. The main thrust of joint projects, like this one, is to examine the theories and uses of TCM using western scientific methods and tools.

Another important milestone in this East-West collaboration will be when The World Health Organization's (WHO) initiative to to standardize TCM nomenclature reaches conclusion. It is said to be in its final phases, and there is a paper on this by Tony Reid in the The Journal of Chinese Medicine.

As lovers of Sichuan food and dishes will know, chillies do feature prominently in the Chinese diet, and apart from adding fire and flavour are believed by local followers of Chinese medicine to help ward off the ills caused by their damp and muggy climate.

University of Nottingham, UK

English version of The Journal of Chinese Medicine.

Written by: Catharine Paddock
Writer: Medical News Today

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/healthn ... wsid=60504
January 26, 2007

Seeing the Medicine in Chinese Herbs through the Random Forest

Data mining of Chinese herbal compounds targets HIV/AIDs and other diseases

Over the past several years, scientific journals have been abuzz with reports of the chemical constituents of Chinese herbs used in traditional medicine. Think ginseng, Ginkgo biloba and ginger, to name a few.
A group of researchers at King's College London decided to use a computer screening to construct a single database both to catalogue the chemical makeup of 240 species of herb and to indicate which target enzymes and receptors implicated in diseases—such as HIV/AIDS, cancer and Alzheimer's disease—those components may be able to regulate.

"The motivation for the cataloguing and the provision of tools for the data mining is really to provide a way for perhaps not the herbs themselves, but the purified constituents [that] might be discovered as new therapeutics of this disease or that disease," says King's College pharmacologist David Barlow, who credits the study's co-author, PhD student Thomas Ehrman, with the idea.

Barlow's group used a screening algorithm called Random Forest, which is a type of decision tree, to compile its database. The algorithm involves each entity being screened with a random set of questions—in this case, mostly about the herb's constituents—to tease out which of the biological targets it could possibly effect. "If you take a set of 8,000-plus constituents from herbs and get their chemical details and feed them through the system, you essentially classify them one by one and say, 'This one has a fingerprint appropriate for this target and, therefore, may have this use,'" Barlow explains.

The targets the researchers chose fell into five categories: cell signal regulators, implicated in cancer, asthma and depression; nitrous oxide overproduction or overexpression, which is associated with the hardening of arteries and inflammation as well as Huntington's and Alzheimer's diseases; cyclooxygenase and lipooxygenase, two targets of anti-inflammatory agents that are tied to Alzheimer's, cancer and arthritis; aldose reductase, an enzyme responsible for complications from diabetes, such as eye disorders; and the viral enzymes HIV-1 integrase, protease and reverse transcriptase, all implicated in catalyzing the HIV virus's life cycle. Of the 240 herbs sampled, 62 percent of them were found to have constituents that could be useful in treating one of these targets. Fifty-three percent of the plants may be able to tackle more than one disease.

Barlow says that, going forward, the study's third co-author, Peter Hylands, a natural products chemist, will likely try to isolate, purify and screen some of these constituents from the herbs—such as flavonoids, which produce yellow or blue pigments in plants, and terpenoids, plant fats known for antibacterial qualities. Clinical studies of their effects could then be studied in animal or human models.

Another interesting result of the study, notes Barlow, is comparing what the screening found with uses of some of these herbs in Chinese traditional medicine. He says that many of the plants shown to have aldose reductase inhibitors are already prescribed for cataracts, and phosphodiesterase enzyme inhibitors, which scientists believe could be useful for asthma, obesity and depression, are already being utilized in "yin tonics" to treat the stomach, heart and lungs.

"One might see a link there between certainly the obesity," Barlow says, "and possibly asthma as well with the kind of uses these herbs are put to in traditional medicine."

www.sciam.com/print_version.cfm?article ... 4F31558E7D
Final Verdict Still Not In On St. John's Wort And Depression

Despite Numerous Studies, Final Verdict Still Not In On St. John's Wort And Depression
31 Jan 2007

The best-known, most-studied herbal treatment for depression today is St. John's Wort. Also known as Hypericum Perforatum (its Latin name), it's a yellow flower that grows in warm to moderate climates, including the southeastern United States.

It has a 2,400-year history of safe and effective usage in folk, herbal, and ancient medicine. In fact, rumor has it that Hypericum was prescribed as medicine by Hippocrates himself.

Taken alone, it is safe and has few side effects.

A recommended dose of 900 mg a day of St. John's Wort costs $.30 to $1.50 a day, with the standard prescribed antibiotic costing anywhere from $.30 to $2.

The original studies of St. John's Wort were conducted in the early 1990s in Germany and concluded that the herb was at least more effective than a placebo when treating the symptoms of depression and, in some cases, as effective as prescription antidepressants.

Since then, numerous tests have been conducted on St. John's Wort in the U.S., most notably a 2001 multi-center study that, at the time, was considered one of the most rigorous studies on the herb to date, with results published in the May 2001 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The "findings weren't very promising for advocates of the herb," according to Dr. J. R. DePaulo Jr., author of "Understanding Depression," which was published in 2002, shortly after the studies findings were made public.

Since that time, however, there have been other studies that contradict this.

For example, a 2006 study involving 150 patients with minor depressive symptoms found that St. John's Wort had a clinically significant effect in patients with minor depression, but not those suffering from dysthymia (a chronic, less severe form of depression lasts for at least two years).

In this more recent study, it was concluded that St. John's Wort can, in fact, be effective in the treatment of people with minor depression, by increasing the level of Serotonin (chemical messenger in the brain that affects emotions, behavior, and thought).

Because low levels of serotonin have been associated with clinical depression, advocates of the herbal treatment believe that it is a tool that can be used to combat the frustrating symptoms of depression, working much like some prescription antidepressants.

Other medical studies show that from 50 to 80 percent of depressed patients who take St. John's Wort have a significant decrease in the symptoms of depression and a corresponding increase in well being. This success rate is the same as that of prescription antidepressants, according to Hypericum.com.

This opens new avenues of treatment for the eighteen million people in this country who have depression -- especially the twelve million who are not currently receiving any treatment whatsoever.

St. John's Wort should not be taken in conjunction with prescription antidepressants. And, before starting on the herbal treatment, it is important to first consult a physician, especially if you are already taking other medications.

While St. John's Wort is generally well tolerated, there are some reports of side effects, including gastrointestinal symptoms, dizziness, confusion, tiredness and sedation. This herbal remedy may also interact with other drugs making them less effective such as medications to treat heart disease, certain cancers, seizures and HIV.

Additionally, St John's Wort may rarely cause photosensitivity. This can lead to visual sensitivity to light and to sunburns in situations that would not normally cause them.

Some research shows that St John's Wort may also adversely effect fertility in both men and women and that it does interact with birth control pills and may reduce the effectiveness of the oral contraceptive.

The herb, which can be purchased in capsule form, in teas and in oils, is more commonly used in European countries, but is gaining in popularity in the U.S. because of its over-the-counter availability, low cost and minimal side effects.

About the Author

Kellie Fowler is an award-winning writer and has written for Associated Press, PR Newswire, Fortune 500 companies, newspapers, national business and healthcare magazines. She is a regular contributor to Depression Help Resource, a website providing information about natural remedies for depression, treatment options, articles and resources.

C. Randløv, J. Mehlsen, C.F. Thomsen, C. Hedman, H. von Fircks and K. Winther.

"The efficacy of St. John's Wort in patients with minor depressive symptoms or dysthymia - a double-blind placebo-controlled study"
Phytomedicine. 2006 March


Article URL:
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medical ... wsid=62029
Green tea 'may keep HIV at bay'

Green tea 'may keep HIV at bay'

Green tea has been linked to many health benefits
Drinking green tea could help in the fight against HIV, research suggests.
Scientists found a component called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) prevents HIV from binding to immune system cells by getting there first.

Once EGCG has bound to immune system cells there is no room for HIV to take hold in its usual fashion.

However, experts said the joint UK and US work, which appears in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, was at a very preliminary stage.

We suggest that it should be used in combination with conventional medicines to improve quality of life for those infected

Professor Mike Williamson
University of Sheffield

Researcher Professor Mike Williamson, of the University of Sheffield, said: "Our research shows that drinking green tea could reduce the risk of becoming infected by HIV, and could also slow down the spread of HIV.

"It is not a cure, and nor is it a safe way to avoid infection, however, we suggest that it should be used in combination with conventional medicines to improve quality of life for those infected.

"Future research is also currently under way in order to determine how much effect can be expected from different amounts of tea."

More work needed

Keith Alcorn, senior editor of the Aidsmap web service, said tests on animals would be needed before any conclusions could be safely drawn on the potential protective effect of drinking green tea.

"This study only looks at the ability of a chemical in green tea to block HIV binding to human CD4 immune cells in the test tube.

"Many substances shown to prevent HIV infection in the test tube turn out to have little or no effect in real life, so I think there's a long way to go before anyone should rely on green tea to protect against HIV infection."

Lisa Power, head of policy at the HIV charity, Terrence Higgins Trust said: "Condoms keep HIV at bay. Anything that boosts your immune system is beneficial for people with HIV, but green tea can't be a substitute for proper medication and prevention techniques."

Green tea has been linked to a positive effect on a wide range of conditions, including heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's.

I used to work for the Wellcome Foundation about 30 years ago when they produced a quack remedy for the South African market called 'Keppler's Blood Tonic'.

I seem to know what it tasted like (slightly sour non-alcoholic red wine) so I must have tried some. :lol:
Came in bottles, in a smart white box, and it was red.

'Tonics' and other dubious 'remedies' are big business over there. Very worrying indeed, especially in this day & age. :(
Herbal remedy shown to have anti-cancer effect
By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor
Published: 18 April 2007

A widely used herbal supplement taken to aid digestion has been found to have powerful anti-cancer properties. Triphala, made from the dried and powdered fruit of three plants, is the most popular Ayurvedic remedy in India. It is used to stimulate the appetite, treat intestinal disorders and act as a laxative.

Indian scientists have claimed for years that Triphala has value as a detoxifying and anti-cancer agent. Now researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute say they have shown that it can prevent or slow the growth of pancreatic cancer tumours implanted in mice.

Millions of cancer patients turn to herbal supplements and vitamin pills in the hope that they can boost their immune systems and help fight the disease. Many take them out of disaffection with conventional medicine but doctors warn that exaggerated claims are being made for their effects.

The latest findings, presented to the annual meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research in Los Angeles yesterday, suggest some herbal preparations may have genuine anti-cancer action.

Mice grafted with human pancreatic tumours were fed one to two milligrams of Triphala for five days a week. By the end of the study, their tumours were half the size of those in a control group of mice fed saline (salt solution) only.

Sanjay Srivastava, the assistant professor in pharmacology who led the study, said: "We discovered that Triphala fed orally to mice ... was an extremely effective inhibitor of the cancer process. Triphala triggered the cancerous cells to die off and significantly reduced the size of tumours without causing any side effects."

Pancreatic cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death and is one of the most aggressive cancers.

The study found that the herbal remedy caused the pancreatic cells to die through the process known as apoptosis - the body's normal method of disposing of damaged or unwanted cells. Apoptosis is often disrupted in cancer cells with the result that they continue to replicate and grow, forming a tumour.

In a separate study published yesterday, researchers in the UK revealed that Chinese herbs can help women with breast cancer. A review of seven randomised trials involving 542 women with breast cancer found that the herbal preparations can successfully counteract the side effects of chemotherapy. The report from the Cochrane Library, which systematically reviews research findings, says 60 per cent of women experience side effects from chemotherapy, ranging from nausea and vomiting to inflammation of the gut lining and decreased numbers of red and white blood cells.

Interest in traditional Chinese medicine is growing in the West while it is declining in China. But doctors warn that many herbal remedies are untested in trials and can interact with conventional medicines in unexpected and sometimes dangerous ways.

Edzard Ernst, the professor complementary medicine at the Peninsula Medical School of the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, said therapies such as massage, aromatherapy, reflexology and relaxation could improve the quality of life of cancer patients and some, such as acupuncture for the nausea caused by chemotherapy, could combat its ill effects. But others, marketed as cures, were dangerous. "Several of these alleged cures are associated with significant risks, including ... contamination [and] interaction with prescribed drugs," he said.

An aid to digestion

In India, the capacity for the Ayurvedic remedy Triphala to care for the internal organs of the body is compared to a mother's care for her children. A popular folk saying is : "No mother? Don't worry so long as you have Triphala."

Triphala is a combination of equal parts of amalaki (Emblica officinalis), bibhitaki (Terminalia belerica), and haritaki (Terminalia chebula). It is taken with water and is said to combine nutritional and cleansing actions. It works as a gentle laxative and boosts red blood cells and removes fat from the body. It is also claimed to clear headaches, maintain normal blood sugar levels, and improve skin tone and colour.

Each of the three herbal fruits from which Triphala is made is said to take care of the body by "gently promoting internal cleansing of all conditions of stagnation and excess" while at the same time improving digestion and assimilation.

Several reports from Indian universities have suggested that Triphala can reduce tumour incidence and promote cancer cell death. Antioxidant studies conducted at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai revealed that all three constituents of Triphala are active.

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/health ... 458893.ece
Combining Chinese Herbal Medicine With Antipsychotics Beneficial For Schizophrenia
Main Category: Schizophrenia News
Article Date: 18 May 2007 - 1:00 PDT
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Psychology / PsychiatryComplementary Medicine / Alternative Medicine

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Combining traditional Chinese herbal medicine with Western antipsychotic medication is beneficial in the treatment of schizophrenia, a systematic review of randomised trials has found.

Chinese herbal medicine has been used to treat millions of people with schizophrenia for over 2000 years. Although antipsychotic drugs are the mainstay of treatment both in China and in the West, they have serious side effects, and about one fifth of people do not respond adequately to treatment.

The 7 studies reviewed were identified from the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group's register of trials, as well as a range of Chinese databases. Most studies evaluated Chinese herbal medicine in combination with Western antipsychotic drugs.

The results, published in the May issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, tended to favour combination treatment compared with antipsychotic treatment alone.

The authors of the study comment that the results are broadly encouraging. They suggest that combination treatment might be beneficial in terms of certain measures of improvement in schizophrenia, although results are based on only 2 small studies of a total of 103 people.

Medium-term data on the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, such as withdrawal, were more robust, with 3 studies of a total of 741 people favouring the herbal plus antipsychotic combination group.

The researchers conclude that there is some evidence that Chinese herbal medicines, combined with antipsychotics and given in a way that is not in keeping with their normal use within traditional Chinese medicine, may be beneficial for people with schizophrenia across a range of outcomes.

If these medicines are used within their usual context, which differentiates cases of schizophrenia into syndromes, the positive effects could be greater, they say.

Even the gains seen in this review would still be important for the millions for whom these treatments are used.

Both West and East need well-reported randomised trials that are adequately powered, blinded and of sufficient length for researchers to detect meaningful treatment effects.

Rathbone J, Zhang L, Zhang M, Xia J, Liu X, Yang Y and Adams CE (2007)
"Chinese herbal medicine for schizophrenia: Cochrane systematic review of randomised trials"
British Journal of Psychiatry, 190, 379-384.


http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medical ... wsid=71315
Heres a report by the Academy of Science of South Africa which suggests the herbal approach. Does not work. I'm putting the full article here as links tend to die or get renamed. If the text here is too small, you could always go to the link or print the document.

Garlic No Substitute for ARVs
By Robert Koenig
ScienceNOW Daily News
22 August 2007

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA--Injecting scientific rigor into the intense debate over health policy in South Africa, the nation's most influential science academy issued a report today warning that consuming certain foods and supplements--although possibly helpful in maintaining overall health--are no substitute for drug therapies prescribed to fight the nation's HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) epidemics.
The study by a 15-member panel named by the Academy of Science of South Africa came in the wake of renewed controversy about the policies of the health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, who has angered AIDS activists by contending that foods such as beets and garlic could help slow the progression of the disease. The report complained that public debates over these kinds of approaches "have caused confusion within communities and among health care workers." Meanwhile, the report said, certain political leaders have exacerbated the confusion by expressing concern "about potential toxicities of ARVs [antiretroviral drugs] while simultaneously promoting alternative nutritional therapies for benefit or cure of HIV."

"We're not aware of any scientifically credible study that has identified a specific food or food supplement as being an effective alternative to appropriate medications," the academy panel's chair, hematologist Barry Mendelow, told ScienceNOW. He said the U.S. National Academies had advised the South African academy on conducting the study, intended to be similar to a National Research Council report. The panel included immunologists, biochemists, physicians, nutritionists, and epidemiologists.

Although the study states that healthier eating habits help protect against what it called South Africa's third epidemic--malnutrition--Mendelow said the panel considered nutrition as a "supportive treatment" that cannot replace drug therapy against HIV/AIDS and TB. Nevertheless, the report recommends more research into the impacts of nutrition on disease, including further investigation of studies indicating that the gastrointestinal tract is "a major anatomical front line" in the pathogenesis of HIV.

Nutritionist Esté Vorster, director of the Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research at North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa, agrees that diet is no substitute for effective drugs. Still, she points out that malnutrition is widespread in South Africa and, for that reason, "we should have a well-integrated public health and individual medical approach in addressing malnutrition problems associated with HIV/AIDS and active TB."

Shortly after the academy's report was released, South Africa's main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, cited the study in calling on President Thabo Mbeki to fire the health minister. The South African Department of Health was not commenting on the report as of press time.

The report infull.

http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/co ... 2007/822/1
This one doesnt look too good for Herbal practicioners.

Tailored herbal medicine 'futile'

'No convincing evidence' that mixing these up makes you feel better
There is no evidence to suggest herbal medicines "tailored" to the individual work, and they may even do serious damage, according to a study.
Scientists writing in the Postgraduate Medical Journal examined what they said were the only three clinical trials to have been conducted on the treatments.

They expressed doubts as to the skills of those in the UK who offer treatments specially formulated for individuals.

But UK herbal practitioners said such treatments can make a real difference.

The UK is currently reviewing the law in relation to the regulation of this field, so at present it is unclear how many such practitioners there are in the country.

Drawing on Chinese and European traditions among others, the practitioners offer a wide variety of treatments for conditions ranging from minor skin ailments to cancer, using a multitude of herbs.


The team from the Peninsula Medical School, a partnership between Exeter and Plymouth universities and the NHS in Devon and Cornwall, stressed that there were many herbs with health benefits, but that studies on these tended to involve standard preparations or single herb extracts.

They said they searched widely for randomised clinical trials of tailored treatments across the world in any language and contacted 15 professional bodies in the process, but were only able to find three trials.

One compared a tailored Chinese herbal preparation with a standard herbal preparation and a placebo for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

People often come to us having gone down the orthodox road with no luck, and find something that works for them

Alison Denham

The other two compared tailored treatments with placebos for chemotherapy-related toxicity in cancer patients and osteoarthritis respectively.

There were no statistical differences between tailored and placebo in either the osteoarthritis or cancer study.

Tailored treatment did seem to work better than the placebo in IBS, but it was not as effective as the standard treatment.

And while these trials did not suggest that patients had suffered ill health as a result, Dr Peter Carter said there were serious risks attached to tailored treatment.

These included herbs interacting negatively with each other - a much greater risk with tailored treatment than retail herbal remedies given the number of herbs used in preparations - as well as with prescription drugs.

Funding required

Herbs could be contaminated or even toxic, and their strength misunderstood by the practitioner.

"There are lots of issues around expertise," said Dr Carter.

"Can the practitioner make a proper judgement, do they know when a client is displaying symptoms that really should be seen by a doctor?"

A spokesperson for the National Institute of Medical Herbalists said it was impossible to draw conclusions from three small studies with "questionable methodology", and that herbalists often found themselves unable to obtain the funding necessary to carry out rigorous trials.

"These treatments really can make a difference to people's health - that's why they have been used for such a long time," said Alison Denham.

"People often come to us having gone down the orthodox road with no luck, and find something that works for them.

"But there are certainly issues around the expertise of practitioners which need to be addressed, and we look forward to government regulation which imposes a high standard of training on anyone who wants to register."

This looks nteresting. A useful application.

Alternative Treatments Show Promise With Hard-To-Treat Foot Problems
04 Feb 2008

A common flower that helps wipe out garden insects has also shown promise in eradicating stubborn warts, according to preliminary research presented by podiatrist Tracey Vlahovic at the American Academy of Dermatology's Annual Meeting on Feb. 1. Vlahovic is assistant professor at Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine.

Marigold Therapy, a line of creams, ointments, tinctures and oils developed and patented by chiropodist M. Taufiq Khan, contain extracts of several types of the marigold plant. Marigold has been used for nearly 30 years in the United Kingdom to treat a variety of foot issues, including bunions, tendonitis, plantar faciitis, fungal infections and verrucae, commonly known as plantar warts.

Vlahovic, who has a professional interest in phytotherapy - the use of plants for medicinal purposes - offers Marigold Therapy to her patients, and specifically investigated its use in three of her patients who had HIV as an alternative treatment for the small skin lesions called verrucae. She found that the treatments either cleared or greatly reduced the number and size of the warts in four to six sessions, after other treatments had failed to do so.

Plantar warts are a common occurrence among otherwise healthy adults, but in HIV patients, they are often harder to treat, more numerous and less receptive to common treatments such as cryotherapy or surgical removal.

"Mainstream treatments are sometimes not an option for HIV-positive patients because they have weakened immune systems and invasive procedures can further compromise them," Vlahovic said. "But alternative therapies like Marigold Therapy don't pose that threat." Further study is planned for a larger sample size with a standardized treatment regimen, she added.

While other generic marigold creams are available in most health food stores, only doctors certified by the Marigold Clinic at the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital can distribute Marigold Therapy products. Vlahovic is currently the only U.S. podiatrist with this certification.

"In Europe, alternative medicine is extremely popular and accepted in most medical circles," said Vlahovic, who blends phytotherapy with traditional Western medicine to treat her patients.

Marigolds have long been used as a treatment for a variety of health problems. In ancient Greece and Rome, marigold tea was used to combat sleep disorders and calm nerves. During the Renaissance, the yellow plant was used to treat everything from headache, red eyes and toothaches to jaundice and skin problems.

The plant's effectiveness on foot issues had not been widely studied until about 30 years ago, when Khan, founder of the Marigold Clinic, identified the healing properties of more than 57 species of the marigold plant, and found that different mixtures were effective in treating different foot problems. Khan's mixtures are manufactured through Marigold Footcare, Ltd., in London.

Vlahovic received training at the Marigold Clinic at the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital to learn how to apply and dress the products, and to learn which combination of extracts would effectively treat each foot problem.

"All the mixtures work differently," said Vlahovic. "One mixture will have antiviral properties, which works best for treating a wart. Another mixture will have kerolytic qualities, which work best in treating corns and calluses."

In addition to Marigold Therapy, Vlahovic also offers a host of other natural treatments, such as Traumeel, a homeopathic medication, and Sarapin, made from the extracts of the pitcher plant, both used to relieve pain in overuse injuries. Vlahovic notes that these require little to no recovery time, and she can often treat a problem in just a few treatments.

"I enjoy being able to offer my patients a combination of nontraditional treatments with Western medicine to give them the greatest benefit," she said.

Vlahovic has even treated herself and family members with natural medicines.

Tony Vlahovic went to see his sister nearly five months ago in excruciating pain from plantar fasciitis, an overuse injury that affects the sole of the foot. Tony, a sports medicine therapist, told his sister that he could barely walk, and as a result, he couldn't function properly at his job as a physical therapist, or do any of the activities he enjoyed such as jogging.

Vlahovic treated her brother with Marigold Therapy once, and Tony said his pain was virtually gone afterward, and hasn't returned.

"I had tried things like Aleve and Advil, and did some reflexology to stretch out my foot," he said. "It took care of the pain in the short term, but within a few hours, it would come back, and with a vengeance. But now it's been five months, and I'm pain-free."

He noted that he was skeptical of trying an all-natural remedy, but decided to try it since it seemed to be the lease invasive and least inconvenient.

"If I hadn't tried this, I would have either had to wrap my foot or get injection therapies, and both options would have made it difficult for me to get around," said Tony. "But after my marigold treatment, I had complete mobility."

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release.

Other authors on this poster are M. Tariq Khan, BSc, MChs, DFHom, FLS, of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital in England, and Otto H. Mills, Ph.D., of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, N.J.. Vlahovic has a consultant agreement with JSJ Pharmaceuticals, which funded the production of the poster but did not fund research. Vlahovic has no investment, financial or consulting relationship with Marigold Footcare, Ltd.

Source: Renee Cree
Temple University

Article URL: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/96029.php
More bad news for the herbies.

Popular Alternative Therapy For Psoriasis Performs No Better Than Placebo
03 Mar 2008

Anecdotal evidence touting the healing power of the Indian spice turmeric for psoriasis received a setback in a prospective study published this month by a leading dermatology journal stating that the low response rate of patients who ingested the active ingredient of the exotic spice was probably a result of the placebo effect.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that despite strong scientific evidence in the laboratory demonstrating the ability of curcumin (the active ingredient in the spice turmeric) to inhibit a critical pathway of psoriasis, the positive response in patients was so low that scientists suggest the placebo effect or the disease's natural remission might be the reason. The study was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

"Alternative and complementary websites and newspapers publish anecdotal reports that the Indian spice has been successfully used to treat psoriasis," says Joel M. Gelfand, MD, MSCE, of The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "However, spontaneous improvements in psoriasis are common, and based on our study, until larger, placebo-controlled trials are conducted, oral curcumin should not be recommended for the treatment of psoriasis given lack of proven efficacy."

But the researchers do not discount entirely the potential of curmumin as a treatment for psoriasis.

They recognize that current traditional pharmacologic approaches in the treatment of psoriasis are costly and have their limitations, including the risk of infections and possibly malignancies with long-term use resulting in many patients with the disease unable to achieve effective long-term control. Turning to complementary and alternative therapies is understandable, they say. In fact, of the estimated 7 million diagnosed with psoriasis, it is estimated that 51% use complementary and alternative medicine therapies to treat their skin.

The excellent responses that were observed in two of the 12 patients in the study suggest that curcumin may have promise for a small subset of patients with psoriasis. Large, placebo-controlled trials are necessary to definitively prove or disprove oral curcumin as a potential therapeutic agent for psoriasis. "What is needed is scientific data to assess the safety and efficacy of these treatments so that we may more rationally inform patients of their treatment options," says Gelfand.

Indian herbal medicines queried

A fifth of Indian herbal medicines sold on the net could be harmful
A fifth of Indian herbal medicines sold on the internet contain potentially lethal substances, according to a new study in the United States.

The study at Boston university analysed 193 products and found that 20% of them contained lead, mercury or arsenic.

Herbal medicine has been used in India for thousands of years and is growing in popularity in the West.

The researchers said their findings showed that there should be stronger control of herbal supplements.

Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, lead researcher Dr Robert Saper said there was some evidence that herbs used in ayurvedic (Indian herbal) medicines could help against diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

"But the key thing is we need to separate out what's helpful and.... what needs to be looked at and perhaps set aside," he added.

"Our first priority must be the safety of the public. Herbs and supplements with high levels of lead, mercury, and arsenic should not be available for sale on the internet or elsewhere."

The researchers discovered the presence of toxic metals in ayurvedic medicines made both in India and the US.

Two types

Some of the tested products, they said, would result in eating toxic materials as much as 10,000 times more than acceptable levels.

According to the study, there are two types of ayurvedic medicines.

One of these combines herbs with metals, minerals and gems, and its proponents argue it is safe when properly prepared and administered.

But Dr Saper said there had been more than 80 reported cases of lead poisoning in the world through such remedies in the past 30 years.

The UK has already started a registration system for herbal medicines.

In three years it will be illegal to sell unlicensed herbal remedies but that still does not apply to manufacturers outside the UK.

In 2005, the British drug regulator said toxic materials in herbal medicines could cause severe nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain and, in extreme cases, even lead to kidney damage, convulsions and coma.

Basil Holds The Key To Anti-Ageing
08 Sep 2008

Basil can protect against the harmful effects of ageing, according to research presented at the British Pharmaceutical Conference (BPC) in Manchester.

Holy basil, (Latin name Ocimum sanctum), is a close relative of the herb commonly used in Western cooking. Native to India, its extract has long been used in the ancient system of Ayurvedic medicine practiced in India and other parts of Asia as a rejuvenation drug, to promote a youthful state of physical and mental health.

In the first formal study of the herb, pharmacy researchers found that holy basil extract was effective at actively searching for and eliminating harmful molecules and protecting against damage caused by some free radicals in key organs such as the heart, liver and brain.

The researchers, led by Dr Vaibhav Shinde from Poona College of Pharmacy, Maharashtra, India, studied the herb for anti-oxidant and anti-ageing properties.

Dr Shinde said: "The study validates the traditional use of herb as a youth-promoting substance in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. It also helps describe how the herb acts at a cellular level."

Top Scientists Gather To Discuss Wild Blueberry Health Research: Summit Reveals Promising Studies In Brain And Cell Health
22 Sep 2008

Fourteen researchers from hospitals, universities and research groups around the U.S. and Canada met to discuss Wild Blueberry health research at the Wild Blueberry Health Research Summit in Bar Harbor, Maine. The 11th annual meeting took place in August and focused on the results of clinical trials that have implications for brain and cellular health, as well as potential benefits on satiety, and insulin sensitivity.

New Wild Blueberry Research Shows Implications for Brain Health and Disease Prevention

Known as the Bar Harbor Group, the Wild Blueberry Health Research Summit is comprised of researchers active in the fields of neuroscience, aging, cardiovascular disease, cancer, eye health and other health-related areas. The Bar Harbor Group has met since 1998 to discuss current Wild Blueberry health research, and continue efforts to understand how Wild Blueberries prevent and/or forestall age-related diseases such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's and macular degeneration.

New research revealed at the Health Research Summit included a study focused on Wild Blueberries and brain health conducted by Summit attendees Barbara Shukitt-Hale, Ph.D. and Jim Joseph, Ph.D. from the Neuroscience Lab at the USDA-ARS, Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Boston. The researchers investigated whether polyphenols in blueberries can reduce the effects of inflammation in the brain and improve cognitive performance. According to the report published in Nutritional Neuroscience (2008, Aug; 11(4): 172082), "these results indicate that blueberry polyphenols attenuate learning impairments following neurotoxic insult and exert anti-inflammatory actions, perhaps via alteration of gene expression."

Also during the two-day Summit, Cornell University scientist Rui Hai Liu, Ph.D. discussed results of a forthcoming study which looked at how commonly available fruits measure on a new antioxidant testing assay. This advanced CAA measure provides scientists with valuable insight into how antioxidant compounds potentially react in the body. In a 2007 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Liu compared antioxidant activity at the cellular level and found that Wild Blueberries outperformed cranberries, apples and both red and green grapes. (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2007; 55(22), 8896-8907)

In the years since the Health Research Summit began, research interest in Wild Blueberries has grown steadily, while new areas of investigation are opening up, including childhood obesity and the impact of children's diets in the prevention of disease as well as longevity. Investigations are underway looking at the effect of blueberry-enhanced diets on both oxidative stress and inflammation. "There's no question that research into the role of Wild Blueberries has intensified," said Susan Davis, MS, RD, nutrition advisor to the Wild Blueberry Association of North America. "The ways in which Wild Blueberries can promote health are only just being uncovered. For instance, in addition to fighting oxidative stress, we now believe blueberries have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. There are many areas of health that are being investigated making this an exciting time for Wild Blueberry health research."

Ongoing studies in inflammation include a clinical trial being conducted at Louisiana State University, which examines the effect of blueberries in the diet on insulin sensitivity, markers of oxidative stress, and inflammation and cognitive performance. Also reported on at the Summit was a pilot study from the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine, which focuses on how subjects responded to the addition of Wild Blueberry juice to their diet. Initial results show a beneficial effect in terms of improvements in cued recall as well as reduction of depression symptoms, a common association with mild to severe cognitive impairment. Ongoing clinical trials also include an investigation by the University of Maine into the potential effect of Wild Blueberry-enhanced diets on satiety.

Article URL: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/122349.php
Toxic herbs 'kill 13 in S Africa'

Thirteen members of the same family have been found dead in South Africa after apparently taking herbal medicine, local media have reported.

The family had been taking part in a traditional ritual and may have taken the wrong herbs, Sapa news agency cited police as saying.

Five of the dead were young children, including a two-week-old baby.

Many South Africans use herbal medicine and consult traditional healers as well as modern doctors.

Post-mortem examinations were being conducted to determine the exact cause of death of the victims, who were found dead in their home near Port Shepstone in KwaZulu-Natal province.

"It is alleged that one family member who was trained as a traditional healer gave them a certain herbal medicine, which is suspected to have been the cause of the deaths," Sapa quoted police official Zandra Wiid as saying.

On the recommendation of a friend, and after months of steroidal creams which did nothing, I recently tried applying Manuka Honey to a small patch of irritated skin on my hand. I applied it as a poultice which I leave on overnight, and after only a few days it has virtually disappeared. I am very impressed as this is the first time I have ever tried an 'alternative' therapy.

For more about Manuka Honey see:
Manuka Honey
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I used to take St John's Wort as a herbal anti-depressent and it did work for a long time. Unfortunately I think that maybe my body built up a resistance to the plant extract. Which I believe is a common problem with many natural remedies, even things like Arsenic.
river_styx said:
I used to take St John's Wort as a herbal anti-depressent and it did work for a long time. Unfortunately I think that maybe my body built up a resistance to the plant extract. Which I believe is a common problem with many natural remedies, even things like Arsenic.

That happens, it can also happen with chemical anti-depressants.

Its worth noting though that St Johns Wort isn't suitable for everyone.
Treatment Found For Psoriasis In Traditional Chinese Medicine

According to a study published in the November issue of Archives of Dermatology, an effective treatment for plaque-type psoriasis can be found in traditional Chinese medicine. Yin-Ku Lin, M.D. (Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan) and colleagues found that an ointment based on the dark-blue, plant-based powder indigo naturalis can be used treat the skin condition.

No cure exists for the chronic skin disease known as psoriasis, but there are therapies that lead to remission of the condition. Lin and colleagues write that, "Traditional Chinese medicine is one of the most frequently chosen alternative therapies in China and Taiwan, and psoriasis has been treated for centuries with topical and oral herbal preparations." They add that, "Indigo naturalis is one of the Chinese herbal remedies that has been reported to exhibit potential antipsoriatic efficacy. However, long-term systemic use has been occasionally associated with irritation of the gastrointestinal tract and adverse hepatic [liver] effects."

Further studying the safety and efficacy of indigo naturalis, the researchers conducted a randomized trial with 42 patients suffering from treatment-resistant psoriasis. Between May 2004 and April 2005, participants enrolled in the study that required two ointment applications on their bodies: one was an indigo naturalis ointment applied to a psoriatic plaque on an arm, elbow, leg, or knee of one side of the body, and a second was a non-medicated ointment applied to a parallel plaque on the other side of their body. At the beginning of the study and after two, four, six, eight, ten, and twelve weeks, researchers assess the patients and photographed the skin plaques.

Lin and colleagues report that 12 weeks of treatment resulted in significant improvements in scaling, redness (erythema), and hardening (induration) for the plaques treated with the indigo naturalis ointment compared to the plaques treated with non-medicated ointment. "Weighting the sum of scaling, erythema and induration scores by the lesion area and comparing between the start and end of the study, the indigo naturalis ointment - treated lesions showed an 81 percent improvement, whereas the vehicle [non-medicated] ointment - treated lesions showed a 26 percent improvement," explain the researchers.

Thirty-four patients completed the study, and none experienced worsening psoriasis conditions in the areas that received the indigo naturalis ointment. In fact, 75% of these patients had complete or near complete clearings of the psoriasis in the treated areas. Although no patients experienced serious adverse effects, four patients reported some itching in the area of the indigo naturalis ointment that last for a few days at the beginning of treatment.

The authors conclude: "We present a randomized controlled trial showing the use of topical indigo naturalis ointment for the treatment of chronic plaque psoriasis to be both safe and effective. Future research for a more potent extraction from this crude herb that can provide better absorption and convenience would help improve patient compliance with the treatment regimen. However, much more research will be necessary to clarify the pharmacology of indigo naturalis."

Clinical Assessment of Patients With Recalcitrant Psoriasis in a Randomized, Observer-Blind, Vehicle-Controlled Trial Using Indigo Naturalis
Yin-Ku Lin; Chee-Jen Chang; Ya-Ching Chang; Wen-Rou Wong; Shu-Chen Chang; Jong-Hwei Su Pang
Archives of Dermatology (2008). 144[11]: pp. 1457 - 1464.
Little or no evidence that herbal remedies relieve menopausal symptoms
January 14th, 2009 in Medicine & Health / Other

There is no strong evidence either way for several herbal remedies commonly taken to relieve troublesome menopausal symptoms, concludes the January issue of the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin (DTB). And for some, there is hardly any evidence at all.

Between 30% and 70% of women in industrialised countries will experience vasomotor symptoms around the menopause, such as hot flushes and night sweats, prompted by the sharp fall in oestrogen levels.

On average, such symptoms last for around four years, but in around one in 10 women, they can last more than 12 years.

Herbal remedies commonly used to relieve menopausal symptoms include black cohosh, red clover, Dong quai, evening primrose oil, and ginseng. Others include wild yam extract, chaste tree, hops, sage leaf, and kava kava.

But little good quality evidence on the effectiveness of herbal medicines, or how they might react with prescription medicines is available, says DTB.

And, in general, safety has been under researched, which is a major concern given that herbal remedies are often assumed to be "safe" just on the grounds that they are "natural," says DTB.

Published studies are often poorly designed, include too few participants, or don't last long enough to be of real value.

Furthermore, the chemical make-up of various preparations of the same herb may differ, which can make it difficult to compare trial results.

The drugs regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has given a Traditional Herbal Registration to Menoherb, which contains black cohosh, under a scheme designed to boost the safety of herbal products on sale.

But clinical trial data on black cohosh are "equivocal," says DTB, with some studies suggesting that the remedy works well, while others suggest that it does not relieve symptoms effectively.

Liver toxicity is also a potential side effect of black cohosh.

There is "no convincing evidence" that red clover extract is effective, says DTB, and little evidence one way or another for dong quai, evening primrose oil, wild yam, chaste tree, hops, or sage.

This review appears in the new look DTB, which has been given its first major design make-over since it was first published in 1962.

Pagination has also increased from eight to 12, in a "deliberate attempt to address healthcare professionals' needs for clear, succinct information and practical advice on medicines, other treatments and the overall management of disease," says an editorial, another new feature of the redesign.

Other additions include the use of colour and a new layout, which will allow for illustrations, to make DTB both even more informative and more enjoyable to read.

Commenting on the move, DTB editor Dr Ike Iheanacho, said:

"For over 45 years, DTB has strived to produce rigorously researched information and advice for healthcare professionals, to help ensure patients get the best possible care. The newly redesigned version of the publication aims to continue and build on this tradition."

Reference: Herbal medicines for menopausal symptoms, Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, Vol. 47, No. 1, January 2009

Source: British Medical Journal

Calif. doc who hailed herbal cancer cure arrested
October 9th, 2009 in Medicine & Health / Cancer

(AP) -- Dr. Christine Daniel promised to her patients what many considered the improbable - the chance to cure cancer through an herbal treatment.

Using her influence as an ordained Pentecostal minister, Daniel tapped into the vessel of faith to entice people from across the nation to try her regimen. She even appeared on cable's Trinity Broadcasting Network in December 2002 touting her cancer cure and its 60 percent success rate, according to federal investigators.

Daniel, 55, of Los Angeles was arrested and charged Thursday with two counts each of wire and mail fraud and faces up to 80 years in prison if convicted. She is scheduled to appear in federal court Friday.

A phone message left for Daniel's attorney, Manuel Miller, was not immediately returned.

Daniel was interviewed by investigators in August 2004, and she denied ever practicing alternative medicine for cancer, court documents show. She also attested that she never talked about a 60 percent cancer cure rate on television.

In court documents, authorities contend Daniel took advantage of terminally ill cancer patients in their darkest hours, some of whom desperately sought alternative measures after enduring draining rounds of chemotherapy and radiation.

In all, federal prosecutors said Daniel siphoned about $1.1 million from 55 families between 2001 and 2004. Six patients ranging in age from 4 to 69 died within seven months after seeing Daniel.

One of those was Margaret Antwi, who traveled from Africa and was diagnosed with melanoma in 2003. Her daughter, Christiana Kwakye, was channel surfing one night after spending hours by her mother's hospital bed when she came across a testimonial about Daniel's treatment.

Kwakye, 41, of Minneapolis, cobbled together money with her four siblings and paid about $3,500 for a shipment sent from Daniel's offices. Antwi drank the brown liquid and soon after Kwakye called a number and prayed with a woman on the other line.

"At that stage you do anything," Kwakye said, trying to explain why they entrusted Daniel. "I should have known better. My mental state wasn't clear at that time."

Antwi's family bought another round of medicine that cost about $5,000 after Daniel bumped them up to a higher concentration that would be more effective. Antwi died a couple of weeks later at age 62. She had been hopeful Daniel's treatment would work as promised, Kwakye said.

"I struggle with the fact that she (Daniel) wasn't true," she said. "Being a doctor, they do no harm. Why would she do that?"

Other patients traveled to California and stayed at local motels while they were being treated, court documents show.

Prosecutors said Daniel even fleeced other clergy. In late 2003, George McKinney, who founded St. Stephen's Cathedral Church of God in Christ in San Diego, agreed to have his wife, Jean, treated by Daniel. The couple moved into their son's home in Los Angeles, and Jean McKinney took an herbal mixture three to four times a day for her terminal colon cancer.

Daniel also used a heat machine that was supposed to reduce the tumor, authorities said. The couple paid Daniel more than $100,000. Jean McKinney died in June 2004.

A phone message seeking comment from George McKinney wasn't returned.
Green Tea Shows Promise As Reducer Of Oral Cancer Risk In Trial
05 Nov 2009

A new study led by US researchers suggests that green tea extract may be a promsing agent for preventing oral cancer in patients with a pre-malignant condition known as oral leukoplakia.

The study was the work of senior author Dr Vassiliki Papadimitrakopoulou, professor of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues, and was published online on 1 November in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

Figures from the American Cancer Society show that more than 35,720 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with oral and/or pharynx cancer in 2009 and the five year survival rate is less than 50 per cent.

Previous clinical studies have showed mixed results with trying to measure the effectiveness of green tea as a cancer prevention agent, although as the authors wrote in their background information:

"Epidemiologic and preclinical data support the oral cancer prevention potential of green tea extract."

So they set up a Phase II dose-finding trial, purported to be the first study of its kind, to examine green tea as a chemopreventative agent in this high-risk patient population.

The results showed that more than half of the patients with oral leukoplakia who took the green tea extract had a clinical response.

Papadimitrakopoulou told the press that:

"While still very early, and not definitive proof that green tea is an effective preventive agent, these results certainly encourage more study for patients at highest risk for oral cancer."

"The extract's lack of toxicity is attractive - in prevention trials, it's very important to remember that these are otherwise healthy individuals and we need to ensure that agents studied produce no harm," she explained.

For the study, between August 2002 and March 2008, Papadimitrakopoulou and colleagues randomized 41 oral leukoplakia patients from the MD Anderson Cancer Center to receive either green tea extract or placebo.

In the extract group, patients received the extract orally for three months at one of three doses: 500 per meter squared of body mass (mg/m2); 750 mg/m2 or 1,000 mg/m2, taken three times a day.

Just before they started taking the doses all patients underwent a biopsy, and then had another 12 weeks later. The authors said this was the best way to assess biomarkers and formed an important and crucial part of the study design.

First author Dr Anne Tsao, assistant professor in the Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology at MD Anderson said:

"Collecting oral tissue biopsies was essential in that it allowed us to learn that not only did the green tea extract appear to have benefit for some patients, but we pointed to anti-angiogenic effects as a potential mechanism of action."

"While preliminary because our patient population was so small, this gives us direction for further study," she added.

The results showed that:
Of the patients taking the highest two doses of green tea extract, 58.8 per cent had a clinical response.

This compared with 36.4 per cent of those taking the lowest dose, and 18.2 per cent of those taking placebo.

After a mean extended follow up period of 27.5 months, 15 of the participants had developed oral cancer, with a median time to disease development of 46.4 months.

The patients treated with green tea extract also showed improved histology , although this was shown not to be statistically significant (21.4 per cent versus 9.1 per cent in the placebo group; P = 0.65).

Green tea extract was well tolerated, although those on the highest doses had increased insomnia/nervousness, it produced no grade 4 toxicity, wrote the authors.
The authors also reported that green tea extract showed a trend toward improvement in a number, but not all, of the biomarkers that play an important role in predicting cancer development.

They concluded that green tea extract may suppress oral pre-malignant lesions, in part through reducing angiogenic stimulus through its effect on stromal vascular endothelial growth factor (stromal VEGF).

Higher doses of green tea extract may also improve short-term (12-week) outcomes on oral pre-malignant lesions, they wrote, and suggested that:

"The present results support longer-term clinical testing of GTE [green tea extract] for oral cancer prevention."

Papadimitrakopoulo said:

"While these are encouraging findings, much more research must be done before we can conclude that green tea may prevent oral or any other type of cancer."

"It's also important to remind people that this trial enrolled very few participants who, at the highest dose levels took the equivalent of eight cups of green tea three times a day," she added, explaining that they still need to "further understand if green tea offers longer-term prevention effects for patients."

Papadimitrakopoulo and Tsao suggest that further research on the effects of green tea extract in this high-risk population should concentrate on participants taking it for a longer period.

The researchers also wished to point out that the green tea extract they used in the study was not available over the counter or on the Internet, neither commercial sources being highly regulated. They used a compound that had been developed exclusively as a pharmaceutical agent.

"Phase II Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Green Tea Extract in Patients with High-Risk Oral Premalignant Lesions."
Anne S. Tsao, Diane Liu, Jack Martin, Xi-ming Tang, J. Jack Lee, Adel K. El-Naggar, Ignacio Wistuba, Kirk S. Culotta, Li Mao, Ann Gillenwater, Yuko M. Sagesaka, Waun K. Hong, and Vassiliki Papadimitrakopoulou.
Cancer Prevention Research, 2: 931-941, November 1, 2009
DOI: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-09-0121

Additional sources: University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, American Cancer Society.

Written by: Catharine Paddock, PhD
beakboo1 said:
Is there a plant you can make condoms out of? If so they could be on to something. :p

they make rolling papers out of plant enzyme extract, which is clear and can be found in amsterdam or any local bodega selling tobacco products more then likely

I bet it would be pretty uncomfortable but all in all should work out
Cup of mint tea is an effective painkiller

Graciela Rocha with one of her Brazilian mint plants
A cup of Brazilian mint tea has pain relieving qualities to match those of commercially available analgesics, a study suggests.

Hyptis crenata has been prescribed by Brazilian healers for millennia to treat ailments from headaches and stomach pain to fever and flu.

Working on mice, a Newcastle University team has proved scientifically that the ancient medicine men were right.

The study is published in the journal Acta Horticulturae.

In order to mimic the traditional treatment as closely as possible, the Newcastle team carried out a survey in Brazil to find out how the medicine is typically prepared and how much should be consumed.

The most common method was to produce a decoction. This involves boiling the dried leaves in water for 30 minutes and allowing the liquid to cool before drinking it as a tea.

The taste isn't what most people here in the UK would recognize as a mint

Graciela Rocha
Newcastle University
The team found that when the mint was given at a dose similar to that prescribed by traditional healers, the medicine was as effective at relieving pain as a synthetic aspirin-style drug called Indometacin.

They plan to launch clinical trials to find out how effective the mint is as a pain relief for people.

Lead researcher Graciela Rocha said: "Since humans first walked the Earth we have looked to plants to provide a cure for our ailments - in fact it is estimated more than 50,000 plants are used worldwide for medicinal purposes.

"Besides traditional use, more than half of all prescription drugs are based on a molecule that occurs naturally in a plant.

"What we have done is to take a plant that is widely used to safely treat pain and scientifically proven that it works as well as some synthetic drugs.

"Now the next step is to find out how and why the plant works."

Graciela is Brazilian and remembers being given the tea as a cure for every childhood illness.

'Interesting research'

She said: "The taste isn't what most people here in the UK would recognize as a mint.

"In fact it tastes more like sage which is another member of the mint family.

"Not that nice, really, but then medicine isn't supposed to be nice, is it?"

Dr Beverly Collett, chair of the Chronic Pain Policy Coalition, said: "Obviously further work needs to be done to identify the molecule involved, but this is interesting research into what may be a new analgesic for the future.

"The effects of aspirin-like substances have been known since the ancient Greeks recorded the use of the willow bark as a fever fighter.

"The leaves and bark of the willow tree contain a substance called salicin, a naturally occurring compound similar to acetylsalicylic acid, the chemical name for aspirin."

The research is being presented at the International Symposium on Medicinal and Nutraceutical Plants in New Delhi, India.
Green tea 'may block lung cancer'
Green tea
Experts believe it is the polyphenols in green tea that may make it beneficial

Drinking green tea may offer some protection against lung cancer, say experts who studied the disease at a medical university in Taiwan.

The latest work in more than 500 people adds to growing evidence suggesting the beverage has anti-cancer powers.

In the study, smokers and non-smokers who drank at least a cup a day cut their lung cancer risk significantly, a US cancer research conference heard.

The protection was greatest for people carrying certain genes.

But cancer experts said the findings did not change the fact that smoking is bad for health.

Daily cuppa

Green tea is made from the dried leaves of the Asian plant Camellia sinesis and is drunk widely across Asia.

The rates of many cancers are much lower in Asia than other parts of the world, which has led some to link the two.

Laboratory studies have shown that extracts from green tea, called polyphenols, can stop cancer cells from growing.

The best thing a smoker can do to reduce their risk of lung cancer, and more than a dozen other cancer types, is to quit.
Yinka Ebo of Cancer Research UK

But results from human studies have been mixed. Some have shown a protective effect while others have failed to find any evidence of protection.

In July 2009, the Oxford-based research group Cochrane published a review of 51 studies on green tea and cancer which included over 1.5 million people.

They concluded that while green tea is safe to drink in moderation, the research so far is conflicting about whether or not it can prevent certain cancers.

Reduced risk

Dr I-Hsin Lin, of Shan Medical University, found that among smokers and non-smokers, people who did not drink green tea were more than five times as likely to get lung cancer than those who drank at least one cup of green tea a day.

Among smokers, those who did not drink green tea at all were more than 12 times as likely to develop lung cancer than those who drank at least a cup a day.

Researchers then analysed the DNA of people in the study and found certain genes appeared to play a role in the risk reduction.

Green tea drinkers, whether smokers or non smokers, with certain types of a gene called IGF1, were far less likely to develop lung cancer than other green tea drinkers with different types of this gene.

Yinka Ebo, of Cancer Research UK, said the findings should not be used as an excuse to keep smoking.

"Smoking tobacco fills your lungs with around 80 cancer-causing chemicals. Drinking green tea is not going to compensate for that.

"Unfortunately, it's not possible to make up for the harm caused by smoking by doing other things right like eating a healthy, balanced diet.

"The best thing a smoker can do to reduce their risk of lung cancer, and more than a dozen other cancer types, is to quit."

Ginkgo biloba's epilepsy seizures warning

Ginko biloba leaves
The remedy is used by many to treat complaints including depression

People with epilepsy should be warned that using a popular herbal remedy may increase the risk of seizures, researchers say.

German scientists, writing in the Journal of Natural Products, said they had found 10 written reports of seizures linked to ginkgo biloba.

They said they were convinced the herb could have a "detrimental effect".

A leading UK epilepsy charity said the evidence was not yet compelling, although it said care was needed.

We are now convinced, however, that ginkgo biloba medications and other products can have a detrimental effect on a person's health condition
University of Bonn researchers

Ginkgo biloba remedies - made from the leaves of the tree of the same name - is used by many thousands of people in the UK as a remedy for health problems ranging from depression and memory loss, to headaches and dizziness.

The team from the University of Bonn focused on a particular chemical compound in the herb called ginkgotoxin.

They said that evidence suggested that it might alter a chemical-signalling pathway in the body linked to epileptic seizures, and potentially interfere with the effectiveness of anti-seizure medications.

In addition to any benefits, which still remained unproven, they wrote, there was a "clear potential for adverse effects", particularly in susceptible patients

Even though there was no definitive proof that the herb had been the cause of the increase in seizures in the reported cases, patients should be warned about the possibility, and manufacturers asked to test their ginkgo products for levels of the toxin.

'Be aware'

Professor John Duncan, from the National Society for Epilepsy, said that the current evidence did not necessarily warrant restrictions on the use of the remedy.

He said: "We believe that some herbs, for example St John's wort, are linked to a higher risk of seizures, but there is still not a great deal of evidence about problems related to ginkgo.

"We would say that if someone who has epilepsy wants to take this remedy, they should simply be aware of the possibility."
Green Tea May Protect Against Eye Diseases
22 Feb 2010

New research from Hong Kong suggests that green tea may protect against eye diseases such as glaucoma because the researchers found green tea antioxidants called catechins present in various tissue structures in the eyes of laboratory rats after they had ingested green tea.

The researchers, based at Hong Kong Eye Hospital, Kowloon, and the Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, in the New Territories, Hong Kong, have written about their findings in a paper that appeared in the 10th February print issue of the American Chemical Society's bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Green tea contains catechins which belong to the family of antioxidants that includes vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, and zeaxanthin and is well-known for its disease-fighting properties.

Until this study, however, nobody knew if green tea catechins actually passed from the stomach and gastrointestinal tract into the tissues of the eye.

For their investigation Dr Chi Pui Pang, of the Hong Kong Eye Hospital, and colleagues examined the eyes of dead rats that had been fed green tea extract for varying amounts of time.

When they examined the cornea, lens, retina, choroid-sclera, vitreous humor, and aqueous humor, they found evidence that these various eye structures had absorbed singificant amounts of individual catechins.

For example, the retina absorbed the highest levels of gallocatechin and the aqueous humor absorbed epigallocatechin.

They also found that the time of maximum concentration of the catechins varied from 0.5 to 12.2 hours and their effects in reducing harmful oxidative stress in the eye lasted for up to 20 hours after consumption.

Chi Pui Pang and colleagues concluded that:

"Our results indicate that green tea consumption could benefit the eye against oxidative stress."

However, more studies are needed to verify the same effects occur in humans.

"Green Tea Catechins and Their Oxidative Protection in the Rat Eye."
Kai On Chu, Kwok Ping Chan, Chi Chiu Wang, Ching Yan Chu, Wai Ying Li, Kwong Wai Choy, Michael Scott Rogers and Chi Pui Pang.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 10 February 2010, 58 (3), pp 1523-1534.
DOI: 10.1021/jf9032602

Source: American Chemical Society.

Written by: Catharine Paddock, PhD
1,800 Year-Old Chinese Herbal Remedy Reduced Toxicity And Boosted Effect Of Chemotherapy
19 Aug 2010

A new study led by Yale University in the US found that an ancient four-herb Chinese herbal remedy first described 1,800 years ago reduced gastrointestinal toxicity and boosted the antitumor effect of the chemotherapy drug CPT-11 (irinotecan) in mice with colon cancer.

A paper on the study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine on 18 August.

Senior author Dr Yung-Chi "Tommy" Cheng, Henry Bronson professor of pharmacology at Yale and co-director of the University Cancer Center's Developmental Therapeutics, co-discovered the formula, known as PHY906. He and Yale have a financial interest in the company that is developing it.

Cheng told the press that:

"Chemotherapy causes great distress for millions of patients, but PHY906 has multiple biologically active compounds which can act on multiple sources of discomfort."

PHY906 comprises four herbs and is based on a herbal recipe that in China is known as Huang Qin Tang that was originally used to treat nausea, vomiting and diarrhea as far back as 1,800 years ago. Chang and colleagues decided to investigate its ability to reduce the gastrointestinal effects of a common chemotherapy drug without affecting its ability to kill cancer cells.

The researchers found that after giving PHY906 to mice with colon cancer that were undergoing chemotherapy with CPT-11 the animals experienced less toxicity, lost less weight and showed more anti-tumor activity than similar mice not given the formula. The formula had also encouraged the growth of new intestinal stem cells.

"PHY906 did not protect against the initial DNA damage and apoptosis triggered by CPT-11 in the intestine, but by 4 days after CPT-11 treatment, PHY906 had restored the intestinal epithelium by promoting the regeneration of intestinal progenitor or stem cells and several Wnt signaling components," they wrote.

PHY906 appeared to reduce inflammation in the mice by "decreasing the infiltration of neutrophils or macrophages", as well as reducing the expression of a tumor necrosis factor in the intestine, and "proinflammatory cytokine concentrations in plasma".

In a further experiment they showed that PHY906 also stimulated the activity of a particular Wnt protein (Wnt3a) in human embryonic kidney-293 cells.

Wnt proteins are a large family of cell-to-cell signalling molecules important to embryo development and whose disruption is known to lead to cancer.

The researchers concluded that the "herbal medicine PHY906 can counteract the toxicity of CPT-11 via several mechanisms that act simultaneously".

Cheng said:

"This combination of chemotherapy and herbs represents a marriage of Western and Eastern approaches to the treatment of cancer."

However, in an accompanying editorial, "Are Herbal Medicines Ripe for the Cancer Clinic?", Dr Cathy Eng, of the Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, warns that a number of challenges have to be overcome before the formula can be used in humans.

When considering the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the treatment of cancer patients, she wrote:

" ... one must take into account reproducibility of preclinical findings in clinical practice, quality assurance of herbal products, and potential toxicities associated with alternative therapies."

Funds from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) paid for the study.

"The Four-Herb Chinese Medicine PHY906 Reduces Chemotherapy-Induced Gastrointestinal Toxicity."
Wing Lam, Scott Bussom, Fulan Guan, Zaoli Jiang, Wei Zhang, Elizabeth A. Gullen, Shwu-Huey Liu and Yung-Chi Cheng.
Science Translational Medicine 18 August 2010: Vol. 2, Issue 45, p. 45ra59
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3001270

Additional source: Yale University.

Written by: Catharine Paddock, PhD

Article URL: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/198251.php