Alternatives & Traditional

Posts tagged ‘chaparral’

Top 5 Worst Internet Health Information Sites: Curezone.org Part 2: Alkaline/Acid Support Forum Part 2

Acids erroneously get a bad rap from sites trying to promote the alkalize for health myth. Acids are actually essential not only to our survival, but also our existence.  These essential acids include hydrochloric acid, pyruvic acid, acetic acid, carbonic acid, hyaluronic acid, glucuronic acid, malic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, uric acid, fatty acids, amino acids, ascorbic acid, pantothenic acid, folic acid, etc.

Acids generated by the body for health include:

  • Stomach acid for the digestion of proteins and to kill ingested pathogens.
  • Lactic, acetic and other flora generated fatty are needed for proper mineral absorption.
  • The same acids listed above also kill off pathogens.
  • Hyaluronic acid helps to prevent the spread of pathogens, cancer cells and venoms.
  • Hyaluronic acid also holds our cellular matrix together.
  • Flora generated fatty acids keep Candida growth under control and to keep Candida from morphing in to its pathogenic fungal form.
  • Glucuronic acid aids in detoxification of the body.
  • As building blocks for all cells, hormones, neurotransmitters, antibodies, etc.
  • Amino acids are needed the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which fuels the cells and helps them to function properly.
  • Carbonic acid regulates blood pressure, is also required for the production of stomach acid and coverts highly toxic ammonia in to the antioxidant uric acid.
  • Citric acid is produced by bone cells to maintain healthy bones through bone remodeling.
  • Citric, malic and pyruvic acids are required form the formation of adenosine triphosphate that fuels our cells and helps them to function properly.

These are just some of the acids generated by the body to benefit the body.

The body also relies on external source of acids for health.  For example, one of the most common antioxidants in plants is the polyphenol tannic acid. Chaparral contains nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA), the strongest natural antioxidant known.  Not only does NDGA work in both the lipid and water portions of cells unlike most antioxidants, NDGA has also been found to significantly inhibit cancer cells.  Chlorogenic acid and betulinic acid are powerful anti-viral and anti-cancer compounds.  Usinic acid is a strong antiseptic found in usnea lichen and kombucha tea. Benzoic acid is another strong antiseptic found in various plants. Amino acids not synthesized by the body must be obtained from external sources.  Same with fatty acids that serve various functions from killing pathogens to building cell membranes. Various vitamins required by the body such as vitamin C and B5 are acids. Orthosilicic acid derived from external sources and created with the help of stomach acid forms various tissues in the body.  These include bone, cartilage, skin, tendons, ligaments, teeth, etc.  Salicylic acid is a common anti-inflammatory found in a number of plants.

Ironically, the alkalize or die supporters are big fans of diets high in fruits and vegetables for health.  And what are some of the acids found in fruits and vegetables?  Oxalic acid, malic acid, citric acid, chlorogenic acid, succinic acid, fumaric acid, lactic acid, oxalacetic acid, tartaric acid, quinic acid, benzoic acid, acetic acid, allantoic acid, sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid…………

Speaking of diet, the alkaline supporters rely heavily on what they refer to as alkalizing foods.  Various lists of acid forming and alkaline forming foods can be found on the Internet, but they rarely match up.  Not surprising since there is not any solid science behind the claims.

For instance, one website shows various soy products as being highly alkaline, while another site claims soy is an acid forming food.  These same sites also disagree on white kidney beans with one site claiming they are acidic and the other alkaline.  Several sites I found claim avocado is alkaline and one claims it is acidic.  Looking at other sites I found one that claims honey is highly acidic and another site claiming honey is alkaline.  One site claims all forms of rice are acidic and another site claiming japonica and wild rice are alkaline. Blueberries are considered acidic on some sites and alkaline on other sites.  Depending on the site cow’s milk is considered alkaline, neutral or acidic regardless if raw or pasteurized. There are plenty more contradictions between the various sites.

I see a lot of the confusion being that there is no basis for the claims of acid or alkaline forming.  Sugar is considered acid forming even though the fruits and vegetables considered either acid or alkaline all contain the same sugars.  And fructose found in so many fruits that are considered alkaline is processed the same way as the fructose found in “junk foods” they consider acidic. Foods high in acids, such as lemon and kale are considered alkaline, while other acid sources such as pomegranates and cranberries are considered acidic.

There just does not seem to be any rational for the foods are either acidic or alkaline claims.  Foods high in protein you would think are acidic due to the breakdown of proteins results in highly alkaline ammonia first, which then forms uric acid.  Yet, spirulina which is nearly 4 times higher in protein than beef, which should be considered acidic is actually considered alkaline. Could it be based on fiber content?  Can’t be.  Jerusalem artichoke is considered acidic and sweet potatoes are considered alkaline despite both being high in fiber.  Could it be the starch content?  Again, not the case.  Yams, which are considered alkaline are nearly twice as high in starch than lentils that are considered acidic.  Maybe it is the simple sugar content.  Yet grapes, which are loaded with sugar are considered alkaline while Brussel sprouts, which are lower in sugar are considered acidic.  Maybe it is the mineral content.  Since there are so many different minerals I will just focus on the three that would be considered the primary alkaline minerals potassium, calcium and magnesium.  Blackberries, which are considered acidic are significantly higher in all three minerals than cantaloupe that is considered alkaline.

Milk regardless if raw or pasteurized still contains the same amount of protein, sugar and minerals.  Yet some people claim that raw milk is alkaline while pasteurized milk is acidic as where other people claim all forms of cow’s milk are either acidic, neutral or alkaline.

Beef is considered acidic even though it is high in “alkaline minerals” such as potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium.

I have also seen lists claims that vinegar or kombucha tea are alkaline, even though there have been reports of people developing acidosis after consuming too much of these acid sources.

Lemon juice though, which also contains sugar and various acids is actually considered alkaline.  The actual pH of lemon juice is actually acidic, but as with every food and drink we ingest it stimulates an alkaline effect in the body.  How can this be?  Simple.  When we ingest foods or drinks the stomach acidity has to drop in pH to a certain level of acidity before the stomach can empty in to the intestines.  Therefore, it does not really matter what proteins, minerals, sugars, etc. that are in the food or drink.  They all leave the stomach at the same acidic pH range.

The stomach contents dumped in the intestines, known as chyme, is always acidic.  The intestines cannot handle this kind of acidity though.  Therefore, as soon as the chyme enters the first part of the intestine it is met with alkalizing sodium bicarbonate released by the pancreas.  Interestingly, the alkaline sodium bicarbonate is formed from sodium chloride salt that the alkaline supporters consider acidic.

From there the byproducts of the food can be dealt with in different ways.  Sugars for example are considered acid forming. So what is the acid byproduct of sugar metabolism?  Carbon dioxide. Is carbonic acid acidifying or alkalizing though?  Actually both.

Carbon dioxide combines with water to form carbonic acid.  Carbonic acid serves several beneficial functions for the body such as regulating blood pressure.

If a person hyperventilates this will cause the person’s blood to become excessively alkaline.  As a result the blood vessels constrict pushing blood away from the brain causing the person to pass out.  When the person passes out they fall down, which helps in part to restore blood flow to the brain.  Respiration also slows down or temporarily stops in part to increase carbonic acid levels back to normal.  This allows the blood vessels to relax restoring blood flow to the brain.

Another function of carbon dioxide is the formation of sodium bicarbonate.  The sodium is provided by sodium salt we ingest.  This sodium bicarbonate functions to neutralize the acidity of chyme as it leaves the stomach to protect the intestines from the acidity.

As proteins are broken down the amino acids that make them up are released.  Amino acids are based with ammonia, which is not only highly alkaline, but also highly poisonous to the body.  Carbonic acid helps convert the highly toxic ammonia in to uric acid.  Uric acid is one of the body’s primary antioxidants.  Because an acid is being used to covert the toxic ammonia in to another acid there is no real gain in acidity.

Carbonic acid is also required for the formation of stomach acid, which among other functions helps with the absorption of minerals needed to build bone.

Excess carbon dioxide is eliminated so that the proper pH of the blood is maintained.

As we can see it does not matter what the food is the results are all the same.  Food is first brought to an acidic pH then the acidity is neutralized as it leaves the stomach.  The only way a food can alter the body’s pH to make it either acidic or alkaline is for that food to overwhelm the body’s natural pH buffers.  This is extremely difficult to do unless consuming extremely large amounts of acid sources like vinegar or alkaline substances like calcium carbonate.

The only foods that do not have their pH altered by the stomach acid or the bicarbonate released on the chyme are fibers.  Fibers are not really food for the body though, but rather the flora.  The beneficial acid producing flora that inhabit various parts of our body enzymatically break down fibers, which are long chain sugar molecules, in to simple sugars to feed on.  The bacterial fermentation of these sugars allow the bacteria to produce acids that control pathogen overgrowth and aid in mineral absorption.

Now we can see why the acid food and alkaline food claims contradict each other.  They are not based on any real facts, but rather opinions.

Even if the blood starts to become acidic the primary means of pH for the body is respiration.  Therefore, as blood acidity increases so does the respiratory rate to increase alkalinity by decreasing carbonic acid and hydrogen ions.  On the other hand if someone goes in to alkalosis their respiratory rate will decrease or temporarily stop to allow the buildup of carbonic acid and hydrogen ions to restore the pH.

If the pH goes beyond the range that respiration alone can handle then the body can use other means to maintain it’s pH.  Kidneys are second in line for maintaining pH.  Kidneys do this primarily by retaining or excreting hydrogen ions and bicarbonate to raise or lower pH.

Respiration and kidney function account for virtually all the pH regulation in the body.  Since neither contain “alkaline reserves” there is no depletion of “alkaline reserves” as is often claimed by the alkaline diet myth supporters.

Of course primary pH regulation is more involved, but I am trying to give a very basic expiation for people.  If you want a more detailed explanation of respiratory pH regulation here is some suggested reading with a more involved but still simple to follow explanation:

http://www.biology.arizona.edu/biochemistry/problem_sets/medph/02t.html

Some people claim that acid foods deplete the bones of minerals because the bone minerals are used to buffer the acids.  This is even more rare than acidosis itself since buffering of blood acids with bone minerals is the last resort used by the body to maintain pH.  Again respiration is the body’s main means of pH regulation followed by hydrogen ion retention or elimination by the kidneys.  These account for virtually all the pH regulation of blood.  The body also uses protein buffers, such as albumin, and phosphate buffers to regulate blood pH long before using bone minerals.  Therefore, acidosis would have to be extreme and long term before the acidosis would have any effect on the bones.  In acidosis this extreme the worry would not be bone loss, but simply survival since severe acidosis can be deadly.  Luckily acidosis this extreme is so rare that a person would likely have a better chance of being struck by lightening multiple times than to develop acidosis this severe.

There are some foods that are considered acidic such as beef, dairy and colas that can induce bone loss.  This process though has NOTHING to do with acidity.  These are all high phosphorus sources, which is what leads to the bone loss.  Phosphorus is essential to an extent to maintain healthy bones, but in excess it leads to bone loss by triggering a process known as pseudohyperparathyroidism (PHPT).  This is similar to another condition known as hyperparathyroidism (HPT).  In both cases the parathyroid glands release a hormone known as parathyroid hormone (PTH), which breaks bone tissue down raising serum calcium levels.  There are several causes of this.  Parathyroid nodules, which are believed to be triggered by a lack of vitamin D can increase PTH output.  PTH is also released in response to either actual serum calcium deficiencies, such as from insufficient vitamin D levels, or perceived low serum calcium levels.  The release of PTH due to perceived low serum calcium is known as PHPT.  When people consume foods high in phosphorus an imbalance can occur between calcium and phosphorus levels with a major increase in the phosphorus ratio.  The parathyroid glands respond to this perceived drop in calcium by releasing PTH, which raises calcium levels to restore balance of the calcium-phosphorus ratio.  Again, this has absolutely nothing to do with these foods being acidic.

Milk does contain a large amount of calcium, but it still induces PHPT for a simple reason.  Protein in milk blocks calcium absorption, but not phosphorus absorption.  Protein’s blocking action on calcium absorption is also evidenced by the myth that milk creates mucus, which I addressed in this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUCgEL7JaOI

It is also evidenced by the fact that the two nations with the highest consumption of dairy in the world, the United States and Finland also have the highest rates of bone mineralization diseases in the world.

Another common misconception promoted heavily on alkaline promoting sites is that pH strips can be used to monitor blood pH by testing the pH of either the urine or the saliva. Salivary and urinary pH though do not reflect the actual pH.  The pH of both can change for a number of reasons without changes in the blood pH.

Urinary pH for example can change depending on the amount of urine hydration there is or the amount of minerals being excreted through the urine.  Some medications can also alter urinary pH.  Bacterial infections can split urea to produce highly alkaline ammonia to protect themselves from acidity.  In this process urinary pH rises (becomes alkaline) from the infection despite no changes to the blood pH.

Salivary pH increases as we sleep since saliva production shuts down.  Saliva helps to alkalize the mouth and wash away acid forming bacteria in the mouth.  Therefore,  when we sleep the bacteria levels go up, also resulting in “morning breath”, causing a lower (acidic) pH in the mouth.  As we wake up and become more active saliva helps to wash away some of the bacteria and brings the pH of the mouth back up.  Dry mouth from methamphetamine use, certain medications like antihistamines or certain diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome can also lower the salivary pH.  Other factors that can affect salivary pH include whether or not you just brushed your teeth or what you recently ate or drank.  It has also been known for decades that something as simple as thinking about a certain food can alter salivary pH as the pH of the saliva adjusts in anticipation of the food.

This is why the only way you will know what your blood pH is would be through a blood test.  And even that can change in an instant.  For example, as I have pointed out a number of times respiration is the body’s primary method of pH control.  Hyperventilating will alkalize the body quickly, but you will also pass out due to the induced alkalosis.

This is an example of why I encourage people to learn how the body really works instead of accepting all the hype out there on the internet or in books, magazines, etc.  I recall when the book Alkalize or Die book came out.  And of course many people simply accepted the claims as fact without bothering to check other sources to see if this author’s opinion were fact.

I know scare tactics help to sell books, but still we are talking about people’s health and people are profiting off this nonsense they promote while putting people’s health at risk.  Just because something is in print this does not make it automatically true.

Is “Oleander Soup” for Cancer A Scam? Part 1

I first ran across a product called “oleander soup” when reading posts on Curezone where it was being promoted for cancer, AIDS and hepatitis.  When I first read about it the posts really concerned me because one of the promoters of oleander soup was telling people to just use oleander soup for their cancer with no mention of safety or preparation.  This really concerned me because simply saying oleander soup could leave some people to assume that they simply boil up some oleander leaves in to a soup and ingest, which would be deadly.  Oleander is an extremely poisonous plant with all parts of the plant and even the honey made from the plant being poisonous.

When I pointed out my concerns about simply telling people to ingest oleander soup was highly dangerous I instantly became public enemy #1 to another oleander soup promoter named Tony Isaacs.

Mr. Isaacs is a self-proclaimed expert on oleander.  Although, exchanges with Mr. Isaacs clearly show a different picture.  For example, Mr. Isaacs repeatedly claims that oleander is an effective cancer treatment and that the oleander phase 1 trials proved it was effective in the treatment of cancer.  The truth though is that every study on oleander tested on humans has shown it to be ineffective.  This includes the recent study Mr. Isaacs claimed proved oleander effective was funded by the manufacturer of the oleander product, tested at MD Anderson Cancer Center.  Despite the fraud that appears to be perpetrated in the study I discussed in my last blog post

http://medproductreview.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/quackery-alert-oleander-cancer-treatment/

the study still showed the oleander extract was ineffective for cancer.

I have not seen any evidence that oleander has been shown effective for hepatitis nor AIDS either as has been claimed.  When asked for evidence to the oleander being proven effective for AIDS,  I was directed to a sales site that is not even close to being evidence of effectiveness.

When dealing with such dangerous diseases, such as cancer, it is essential that people get proper information.  Especially considering that time is essential for cancer patients.  If a cancer patient wastes time with a proven ineffective treatment like oleander soup they may not have time for a second chance with a therapy that actually works.  That is if they do not kill themselves by assuming oleander soup is simply oleander leaves boiled in water.  This is why I am so passionate about exposing the truth behind oleander soup.

Many of the exchanges between Mr. Isaacs and I were hidden or deleted from Curezone since Mr. Isaacs is a moderator on the Cancer forum where many of the posts were made.  Luckily I made copies of much of this information and other information from Curezone before it was deleted.  The following is a compilation of some of the comments made by Mr. Isaacs and my responses so people can decide for themselves if Mr. Isaacs really is an expert on oleander as he portrays himself.  Comments made by Tony Isaacs that I have not responded to previously will be italicized:

Tony Isaacs:  I may not be as scientifically well versed as you when it comes to discussing individual compounds or the minutaie of what does or does not constitute a cardiac glycoside or whether it is technically redundant to call something a “long chain” polysacharride, but I nevertheless do know oleander.

Tony Isaacs:  Here is a parial list of the cancer fighting compounds in oleander:

Oleandrin and a number of other cardiac glycosides including Neriin,  Oleandrinogen, Oleandrigenin, Uzarigenin and others; several long-chain polysacharrides such as Beta-sistosterol; Quercitin, Linoleic-acid, Oleic-acid, Adynerin, Alpha-amyrin,  Betulin, Foliandrin, Folinerin, Gitoxigenin, Isoquercitrin, Lauric-acid,  Oleanolic-acid,  Rutin, Stigmasterol, Ursolic-acid

James Sloane:  And how do the other compounds you mention work? I am not familiar with foliandrin so I looked it up with cancer.  No research available whatsoever. Alpha-amyrin again no research for cancer, but it is listed as a potent irritant. Presence of does not mean they have anticancer activity, so I would like to the research to back these claims.

You also list oleandrin and folinerin, which different names for the same compound. This really reduces credibility when you list the same compound multiple times making it appear that there are more active components than there really are.

Another mistake I see is in your quote “several long-chain polysaccharides such as Beta-sitosterol”. First of all polysaccharides are long chain. Poly means many, saccharides refer to sugars. Thus polysaccharides are long chain sugar molecules. For example beta glucan, fructooligosaccharides, even cellulose. And they are found in a number of sources: seaweeds, mushrooms, schisandra, echinacea, myrrh, birch, yeasts, astragalus….. Secondly, beta sitosterol is not a polysaccharide, it is a plant sterol. These are natural steroidal compounds found in plants that help them to adapt to stresses.

Tony Isaacs: Likewise the well known and highly respected (outside the FDA) owner of Alpha Omega Labs had his choice of any ingredients in the world when he formulated his new Cansema III tonic.  He and his medical professionals chose oleander as the main ingredient, along with graviola and chaparral.

James Sloane: I did not respond to this bogus claim earlier, but will here.  I went to the Alpha Omega Labs website to look up the product:

http://www.altcancer.com/products/cansema-tonic-tm

And looked at the list of ingredients:

Ingredients: Aloe vera (as a base medium), bioenergized extracts of the following cancerolytic botanicals: graviola (Annona muricata) from the Amazonia, Andrographis paniculata, neem (Azadirachta indica A. Jus), chapparal (Larrea mexicata), and hydronium solution (H3O) to enhance and preserve contents. Contains no alcohol or artificial chemicals.

Note that not only is oleander not the main ingredient in Cansema III as Tony Isaacs claims, but oleander is not in the product whatsoever.

James Sloane:  We have different views on curcumin and turmeric. It has many of the same compounds as in your oleander soup, but offers additional cancer fighting mechanisms not found in oleander. And as I pointed out it is readily available, safe, and extremely cheap.

Tony Isaacs:  Yes, curcumin is readily available, cheap and safe.  It also is not water soluable and has very poor bioavailibility because only a tiny fraction of raw curcumin is absorbed in the body. Most importantly, despite all the excitement about cucumin, it is simply not nearly as effective as oleander and to state that it is might well be advice that would keep someone from otherwise beating cancer and THAT, rather than arguing the finer points of individual compounds, is what I am all about.  Thus far, in over five years, no one who has followed my advice regarding oleander and fighting cancer, HIV or Hep-C is not still alive.  Can you say the same?

James Sloane:  First of all turmeric has more active compounds than just curcumin that work synergistically. Therefore, large amounts are not required or a strong effect

In addition, keep in mind that not all compounds are required in large amounts to have a significant effect on the body. For example, it does not take a large amount of oleander to kill an adult human.

Just because curcumin is poorly soluble in water is irrelevant.  Fish oil is insoluble in water but still has plenty of health benefits. This is because oil soluble compounds are made water soluble for absorption in the intestines from the lecithin in bile.

Funny though that Tony Isaacs would try to use that as an argument though being that the main compound he claims is active in oleander, oleandrin, is not water soluble. Therefore, using his same argument his “oleander soup” would not contain what he claims is the active component from the oleander leaves.

And how does Mr. Isaacs know who is still alive after his protocol and who is not?  He has posted this supposed treatment all over the internet where numerous strangers that he has no contact with could have followed his advice.  The fact is that Mr. Isaacs has no clue how many people may have died following his advice and using this proven bogus therapy.

Even if someone is still alive this dos not prove oleander was effective.  If we read the various protocols for oleander, including those by Mr. Isaacs himself, they include other therapies and/or supplements that have shown effectiveness against cancer.  This is like saying if someone takes an oral antibiotic for a bacterial infection that it was the water they washed the pill with that treated the infection.

Tony Isaacs:  Listing or debating the known actions of individual compounds is misleading.  Isolating and concentrating on individual compounds is one of the great fallacies of mainstream medicine.

James Sloane: Yet this is exactly what Mr. Isaacs did when it fit his needs.  I was talking about the effects of turmeric and one of its constituents curcumin.  Yet, Mr. Isaacs decided to focus only on the curcumin in his response ignoring the other synergistic compounds in turmeric.

James Sloane: Though I would not rely on any plant solely for cancer.  No plant is going to address all of the aspects that need to be addressed with cancer.  For example does oleander address the Cori cycle?   ATP formation?  Angiogenesis?   Hyaluronidase inhibition? Fibrinolysis?  Do you even have a clue why these are so important to address?  By the same token do you even understand how the various compounds you list as being active work?

Tony Isaacs: (No response ever given.)

Tony Isaacs:  I have already stated that I like and recommend curcumin – in fact I think it is great (and I take it every day myself), the same as does highly respected alternative cancer authority Webster Kehr of the reknown Cancer Tutor site (http://www.cancertutor.com/).  He states on his site that he considers curcumin among the top 50 cancer fighters, though it has not yet made the cut to be listed among his top Stage IV, Stage III and other alternative treatments on the title page of his website.  Oleander on the other hand is listed in his top 5.

James Sloane:  Renowned is a matter of opinion.  Among other things that are recommended at this site include the so-called “liver flushes” that have been proven bogus and coffee enemas that weaken the immune system by taxing the adrenals, which also puts more stress on the thymus and decreases white blood cell activity.  In addition, coffee has been shown to contain various carcinogens, such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PACs) and anti-nutrients such as tannins. Coffee should not be put in to the body in any form if a person has cancer. Other sources of caffeine or other stimulants should also be avoided.

Just because a site reports the sales hype of various alternative cancer therapies without understanding the chemistry or other factors behind the treatment this does not make the site renowned.

Since Tony Isaacs brought this site up though let’s look at his claims. Isaacs claims that oleander is in the top 5 for stage III and stage IV cancers.  So what does the site really say?:

http://www.cancertutor.com/Other/RuleOfThumb.html

As we can see under the listing for stage III treatments the top recommendations are:

“Checklist 1a of 11: Exactly ONE of the “Strong Stage III” Treatments

There are five treatments in this category:

1) The Frequency Generator (aka “Rife Machine”) [actually a Stage IV Treatment],
2) The Bill Henderson Protocol [actually a Stage IV Treatment],
3) The Brandt Grape Cure using red, black or purple grapes [actually a Stage IV Treatment],
4) The Brandt Grape Cure using a vegetable juice, which includes carrot juice, beet juice, and other specific juices [a Strong Stage III Treatment]
5) Amazon Factor Protocol [a Strong Stage III Treatment] “

Notice that not only is oleander not part of the 5 recommendations for stage III cancer, but it is not even mentioned at all in the recommended treatment protocols on the page as Mr. Issacs claimed.

There is a brief mention of oleander as a stage IV treatment, but again nothing about it being in the top 5. 

The site does claim that oleander works for AIDS, which I have been unable to find any evidence of.  They also claim various beneficial effects from oleander that have not been shown to occur in the human body.  Again, the site is just regurgitating the same sales hype and misinformation they are presented or read on sales sites rather than researching the claims to find out if they are factual before presenting the claims.

Tony Isaacs:  Another top alternative cancer site is the Minnesota Wellness Directory.  They too consider oleander to be one of, if not THE, best cancer fighters and often refer people to me for advice.

James Sloane:  I looked at the site and again nowhere do they state that oleander is a top recommendation as Mr. Isaacs claims.  I did find a few interesting statements though such as:

The simple fact is that the ethanolic extraction method used by the Russians only gets a small amount more oleandrin than the water extraction method, but loses the vital polysaccharides and other synergistic compounds that make Anvirzel and the folk remedy version so effective.”- From an email sent to the Minnesota Wellness Directory by Tony Isaacs

The problem with Mr. Isaacs’ claim is that oleandrin is soluble in alcohol, but insoluble in water.  Therefore, there would be a high level of oleandrin, what he claims is the most active component, in the alcohol extract.  The water extract though, such as “oleander soup” would have little to no oleandrin.

Polysaccharides, which are found in numerous non-toxic plants, can help stimulate white blood cell activity.  If that is the only real active compound in oleander soup though then why not just use polysaccharides from plants that you do not have to process to render them non-poisonous such as astragalus, seaweeds or medicinal mushrooms?

I also pointed out to Mr. Isaacs a while back that the polysaccharides do increase white blood cell activity.  The immune system has a very difficult time finding and killing cancer cells though, so stimulating white blood cells with polysaccharides cannot kill cancer cells directly.  Instead, the stimulation of white blood cells help fight cancer by killing cancer pathogens such as cancer viruses, which account for the vast majority of cancers.  When I brought this up to Mr. Isaacs he went haywire on me attacking me over and over in posts and encouraging others to do the same.  His problem was that Isaacs did not believe viruses were the primary cause of cancer.  In fact, to prove it to me he ran a Google search and came up with zero hits.  Yet, I type in “cancer viruses” and it comes up with about “20,900,000 results”.  Honestly, I cannot figure out for the life of me how he ever managed to write a book with such poor research skills!!!  I am currently working on a book about alternative cancer therapies.  In one of the chapters I have already included 63 medical journal references on cancer viruses, which is only a small portion of the articles I have found. But not only does Isaacs not believe viruses are a primary cause of cancer, Isaacs not believe that microbes cause any disease as evidenced by this article he wrote:

http://curezone.org/forums/am.asp?i=1691964

Ironically, Mr. Isaacs happens to sell a colloidal silver product on his website, which Isaacs claims kills viruses, bacteria and fungi. If the germ theory is wrong, and thus microbes don’t cause disease why is he selling $24.00 bottles of colloidal silver to kill microbes that he does not even believe cause disease?

The Minnesota Wellness Directory did post the findings from the Phase 1 study of the oleander extract Anvirzel, which is the same study Tony Isaacs claimed proved the effectiveness of oleander:

Summary  Anvirzel™ is an aqueous extract of the plant Nerium oleander which has been utilized to treat patients with advanced malignancies. The current study reports a phase 1 trial to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and safety of Anvirzel™ in patients with advanced, refractory solid tumors. Patients were randomized to receive this agent by intramuscular injection at doses of 0.1, 0.2, 0.4 ml/m2/day with subsequent patients receiving 0.8 or 1.2 ml/m2/day sequentially. Eighteen patients were enrolled and completed at least one treatment cycle of three weeks. Most patients developed mild injection site pain (78%). Other toxicities included fatigue, nausea, and dyspnea [labored breathing]. Traditional dose limiting toxicity was not seen, but the MTD was defined by injection volume as 0.8 ml/m2/day. No objective anti-tumor responses were seen. Anvirzel™ can be safely administered at doses up to 1.2 ml/m2/day, with the amount administered intramuscularly limited by volume. The recommended phase II dose level is 0.8 ml/m2/day.

As we can see from the study findings though it clearly states that the product had no real effect on the tumors.  Therefore, once again Mr. Isaacs misrepresented the facts to make it appear that oleander was effective for cancer when the studies have clearly demonstrated that it is not.

Tony Isaacs:  Marc Swanepoel, the cancer and HIV researcher and crusader who developed the OPC supplement has studied a great number of natural substances to help the HIV sufferers and indigent cancer victims in his native South Africa.  His choice of major ingredients was oleander.

James Sloane:  Marc Swanepoel recommends Sutherlandia OPC along with various other supplements for cancer.  Sutherlandia OPC also contains sutherlandia (“cancer bush”), which unlike oleander has been backed as being effective for cancer in studies.

Tony Isaacs:  how about you show me where curcumin has been over 90% successful against a broad range of cancers or 100% effective in reversing AIDS symptoms.  Or show me studies where an extract of curcumin was found to have six times the immune stimulating activity of the most powerful patented immune stimulators known to man.

James Sloane:  Why should I?  I never claimed that curcumin was that effective.  And oleander has never been shown to have anywhere near that kind of success rate either. Unlike oleander though, there is numerous research studies showing the effectiveness of turmeric and its extract curcumin against cancer.

For related information see:

http://medproductreview.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/quackery-alert-oleander-cancer-treatment/

Kava and Hepatitis

As we can see, herbs are often claimed to have dangerous adverse effects that do not really exist.  The FDA commonly does this in an attempt to gain more control over herbs, which helps them to protect their illegal investments in pharmaceutical companies and to protect their cozy relationship.  As with chaparral, kava was also given a false reputation of causing cases of hepatitis.

Kava refers to the INNER ROOT of the kava plant.  Kava has been used for centuries as both medicine, and as a mind altering drug when specially prepared.  For centuries kava has had a reputation of being quite safe except when abused.  By this I mean extremely high doses over a period of time. Overuse by kava addicts can lead to thickening and peeling of the skin.  This has never been seen in normal use of kava capsules.  And no cases of hepatitis were ever reported from traditional preparation and normal use of kava.

A few years back though, there were actually cases of hepatitis appearing out of nowhere in people taking kava supplements.  The medical journals and news media jumped all over the story and reported repeatedly that kava was dangerous and caused hepatitis.  Yet they never reported all the facts or the truth even when the problem was exposed.  In fact, the problem stemmed from the greed of a pharmaceutical company looking to cash in on the herbal movement bandwagon.  The company traveled to Fiji to obtain information on the use of the herb and looking for kava sources.

During traditional preparation, the islanders would strip off the outer root bark and discard it.  Only the inner root was being used for consumption.  The pharmaceutical company decided that they could buy up all of the waste the islanders were discarding for next to nothing, dry it, grind it, capsule it and sell it.  So this is exactly what they did.  Though in the blinding glare of dollar signs and in their rush to get in on the bandwagon they overlooked an important rule of herbs.  Not all parts of a plant have the same chemistry!  Although a few plants will have basically the same alkaloids, glycosides, etc. throughout the plant in varying amounts this is not common.  It is more common to have totally different chemistry throughout the plant.  For example, cocklebur root is a pain killer.  The leaves are used to treat asthma and the seeds used to stop diarrhea.  And when using lapacho (pau d’ arco, taheebo, ipe roxo), the inner bark is used, not the outer bark, which does not have the medicinal properties.  Kava is no different.  The reason the islanders were discarding the outer bark of the kava was because they knew that the outer bark was toxic!

If the pharmaceutical company would have taken the time to ask questions on the preparation and looked into the chemistry then the isolated cases of hepatitis could have been avoided and kava would not have received an undeserved bad reputation.  General use of the inner root of kava remains safe as it always has.

Medicinal Properties of Chaparral Part 2

Chaparral is best known for its ability to treat cancer effectively.  The antitumor effects of chaparral have been verified in studies conducted by the universities of both Nevada and Utah.  One of the things that makes chaparral unique in its ability to treat cancer is the fact that it “attacks” the cancer through multiple mechanisms.  Since the majority of cancers have a microbial origin the first mechanism is through the destruction of viruses, bacteria and fungi.  Chronic inflammation has also been linked to the formation of cancers meaning that chaparral’s anti-inflammatory properties can inhibit some cancers.  Chaparral can inhibit cancers triggered, or aggravated, by free radicals and toxins due to its antioxidant and cleansing properties.  Chaparral’s liver cleansing properties makes it helpful for hormonal induced cancers since the liver is responsible for the breakdown of excess hormones.  And finally, chaparral inhibits mitochondrial enzymes, which in turn inhibits the cellular division of cancer cells.  In short, this means chaparral can inhibit cancer growth.

Chaparral’s ability to kill microbes makes it useful for a number of diseases linked to microbial infections.  These include cancers (viral, bacterial, and fungal forms), heart disease (chlamydia bacteria), hepatitis (viral, bacterial, and fungal forms), rheumatoid (chlamydia bacteria) and other forms of infectious arthritis, multiple sclerosis (human herpes virus type 6), ulcerative colitis (mycoavium complex bacterium), Crohn’s disease (mycoavium complex bacterium), type 1 diabetes (viral), pneumonia (viral, bacterial, and fungal forms), bronchitis (viral, bacterial, and fungal forms), etc.  One of the most interesting areas of study for the use of chaparral is in the treatment of herpes infections where studies are looking very promising.

Chaparral is very resinous and so is not easy to prepare as a tea.  Resins and water do not mix and the resin will separate out and stick to the pan wall when trying to make the tea.  Therefore, I recommend not using this herb as a tea.  I personally prefer the powder mixed with other herbs.  By combining the powder with other powdered herbs the other powdered herbs will help prevent the resins in the chaparral from clumping the powder in to a big “gumball” when it comes in to contact with water.  This helps maintain a larger surface area thereby increasing the absorption and effectiveness of the herb.  In addition, the addition of other herbs can increase the effectiveness of each herb . For instance, chaparral combined with red clover blossom increases the antitumor activity of both herbs.  Combining chaparral with pau d’ arco (lapacho, taheebo, ipe roxo) increases the antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal activities of both herbs.

Again, the FDA tried to claim that chaparral was linked to 13 cases of hepatitis though medical reviews subsequently found no evidence that the chaparral was linked to the cases.  In fact, it was shown that many of the patients were found to have pre-existing liver failure or were taking pharmaceutical drugs well known for causing liver damage.  On the other hand, fresh chaparral does contain unstable alkaloids that may damage the liver if ingested for a length of time.  Therefore, chaparral should be dried and aged several months before use to destroy these alkaloids.

Medicinal Properties of Chaparral Part 1

If I made a list of my top 10 favorite herbs, chaparral (Larrea tridentata) would definitely be on that list.  This hardy plant, comprising over 20 species, cannot only survive the extremes of desert life, but can also live to be well over 10,000 years old.  In fact, I have read that one of the oldest living plants on earth is a massive chaparral plant in California believed to be over 25,000 years old.  Natural habitats for chaparral include the Southwestern US, Mexico, South America, South Africa, Australia and the Mediterranean.

Medicinally, chaparral is hard to beat.  The plant has strong antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-tumor properties.  Chaparral is also a great anti-inflammatory and raises vitamin C levels in the adrenal glands.  By strengthening the adrenals, inflammatory conditions are reduced in the body, stress responses are improved, immune function is strengthened, depression can be alleviated, blood sugar can be stabilized, allergies/asthma reduced, etc.  Chaparral is an extremely strong blood purifier, which is probably in part due to its high sulfur content.  Its sulfur content could also help explain its historical use as a hair growth agent.

In addition, chaparral is the strongest antioxidant I have seen.  Many antioxidant manufacturers claim that their antioxidant is the strongest known, but they are misleading.  For example, manufacturers of Pycnogenol claimed that they had the strongest antioxidant known.  They even went as far to compare the strength of their product to vitamin E.  The problem is that Pycnogenols, or PCOs, are water soluble.  Natural vitamin E on the other hand is lipid (fat) soluble.  This is like comparing a car to a bicycle.  They are both a source of transportation, but with big differences.  And if I were to compare Pycnogenols with vitamin E, I would say the vitamin E is the car, which is more powerful, and the Pycnogenols are the bicycle.  This is because I feel the cell membrane, which is composed of lipids is more prone to free radical damage than the components within the water portion of the cell.  Chaparral is different because it is not limited to the water or lipid portions of the cell.  The antioxidants in chaparral work in both parts of the cell.

The antioxidants in chaparral include flavonoids, and a very powerful antioxidant known as nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA). NDGA is such a strong and effective antioxidant that it was actually used for decades as an antioxidant preservative for oils and foods, with full approval of the USDA.

Chaparral Safety

Medical journals have reported that the use of the herb chaparral has been linked to cases of hepatitis.  The chaparral issue started a while back when out of the clear blue there were 13 cases of hepatitis reported in a two year period in people taking chaparral supplements. There are several unanswered questions though as to the validity of this claim.

For instance, chaparral has been in use for thousands of years and is still widely used from Mexico to South America to cure various diseases such as cancer.  Yet there have only been 13 isolated cases of hepatitis reported in a two year period.

Furthermore, up to recently the chaparral extract nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA) was widely used in the food industry for its powerful antioxidant properties.  It was added to foods to prevent oils in the foods from becoming rancid.

NDGA is also the active component that inhibits the cellular division of cancer cells and destroys pathogens such as many viruses.

Despite decades of use as a food ingredient there were never any cases of hepatitis reported.  And the FDA never explained why there were only 13 isolated cases supposedly from chaparral in this two year period with no cases reported before, nor since.

By the way, contrary to popular belief, chaparral was never banned from the market.  The FDA called for a voluntary moratorium since they could not legally ban the herb.  The FDA can only ban an herb if they can prove that the herb shows an unreasonable risk to safety, which the FDA could never do with chaparral.  When stores did not comply with their “voluntary moratorium” though, the FDA would harass stores that they found openly selling chaparral despite their actions being a violation of the law.  The reason that the FDA was never able to prove an unreasonable danger was because the FDA left out some very important facts about these 13 patients.  These included the facts that many of these patients were taking pharmaceutical drugs well known for causing liver damage.  Other patients were reported to have preexisting liver failure, BEFORE they started taking the chaparral.
Another fact they left out is the stability of the alkaloids in the plant.  Chaparral does contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) when fresh.  Some PAs are harmful to the liver, though they are also relatively unstable.  As an example, both fresh comfrey and dried comfrey have been tested on rats to test for liver toxicity.  What was determined was that only the fresh comfrey caused hepatitis in the rats but not the dried comfrey since the PAs are readily destroyed by oxidation when dried.  The same was found in cattle feeds that contained plants with PAs.   Studies showed the PAs were destroyed in about 20 to 30 days of curing the hay rendering the hay safe.

This brings up another point.  Some herbs have to be processed in a certain way to make them safe and useful.  For instance rehmannia is Chinese foxglove root that is boiled in 9 changes of water to render it safe.  Jack in the Pulpit root has to be aged for two years to prevent caustic burns.  Some anthraquinone laxative herbs must be aged for several years before they can be used.  The point here is that an herb should not be considered dangerous just because it is not prepared right since the herb can be safe if properly prepared.  Chaparral should not be used fresh.  Instead, it should be dried and aged a few months to make sure all the PAs are destroyed before use.

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