Alternatives & Traditional

Posts tagged ‘hepatitis’

Top 5 Worst Internet Health Information Sites: Introduction

The Internet has made the searching for and sharing of health information much easier than in the old days when this generally meant hours in a medical library.  Along with this ease of information access has come the problem of health misinformation becoming rampant on the Internet.

Some of this misinformation simply comes from sales sites trying to hype up their products or bash their competitors for their own agenda.  Other misinformation can come from simple misconceptions of how the body works or repetition of misinformation.

The later reminds me of the commercial where they say they cannot put it on the Internet if it is not true.  Unfortunately, there are people who actually do seem to think this is true.  For example,  I have been in so many debates with people who think that the big squishy blobs they pass from the so-called “liver flushes” are actually real gallstones just because they read on the internet that they are.  This despite the fact that those big, squishy blobs do not have the shape, texture, color, density or much of anything else in common with real gallstones.

Part of the problem is that it is human nature to be attracted to negativity.   If there is a bad accident people do their best to get a glimpse.  If someone is going to jump off a building people gather around and some may even encourage the jumper.  And people do not watch NASCAR races to see the cars go round and round, they want to see the carnage of wrecks.  When it comes to health information there is not much of a difference.  People tend to believe anything negative they see or read, which has led to so many myths about health and health products being spread on the Internet.  For example, how many people fell for the canola oil myths such as its mustard oil being used to make the chemical warfare agent mustard gas?  Mustard gas is a completely synthetic chemical that has nothing to do with canola or any other plant.  Then there is all the misinformation about soy, which I have addressed numerous times previously such as these posts:

http://medcapsules.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?fid=106

Another part of the problem is that people often do not want to take the time or to put in the effort in to verifying claims.  They want information spoon fed to them.

Once an idea is learned it is hard for people to give up that idea because they are used to an comfortable with that idea.  Furthermore, if they fell for obviously ridiculous claims they may feel ashamed because they fell for the sham.  Take for example someone who repeatedly picked through their feces to collect those big, squishy blobs they were told were gallstones.  Even though they have no characteristics of real gallstones, they are too large to pass through the bile ducts, they are often reported in amounts larger than the gallbladder can hold, they melt unlike real gallstones, etc. people still fall for this scam.   When all this evidence is presented to them proving that those blobs are not real gallstones, but rather saponified oil, they often continue to argue that they are real gallstones because they do not want to admit they were duped.  As evidence to this see my videos on the “liver flush” scam and the replies to the videos.   The playlist for all 11 videos can be found here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNqWHZj4fMo&feature=PlayList&index=0&list=PL55328493D7C85E66

I have spent decades writing about health information and trying to correct rampant health misinformation in both allopathic and holistic medicine.  When the Internet came about I started posting on various health boards posting evidence against many claims. Unfortunately, this has also led to my being banned from numerous boards.  For example, I was banned from the American Leukemia and Lymphoma Society message boards after posting medical journal abstracts proving the viral links to leukemias and lymphomas.  After all,  if they admit the cause of these cancers then next comes the proof of cures since there are various ways to destroy these cancer viruses.  And since there are already cures for these cancers this means there is no reason for their existence since their goal is to con people out of their money to fund their executive salaries and expenses.  I was also banned from another health message board after proving how inaccurate HIV testing was including the fact that hepatitis can cause false positive HIV tests.  I later found out the board was actually run by a pharmaceutical company.

Allopathic sites are not the only sources of such censorship though.  I was banned from numerous boards on Curezone.org  for providing evidence against many of the claims being made on the site.  Eventually I was completely banned for posting evidence that the amounts of iodine that were being recommended on the iodine support forum were causing iodine poisoning that the sellers were falsely blaming on a “bromine detox”.

Bottom line is that if you are going to get your health advice from the internet you should research the claims from various non-commercial sites to find out if the information is factual or hype.

The next  series of blog posts are going to cover details from some of the Internet sites I have dealt with or studied explaining why I would not recommend them as sources of health information.

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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.

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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