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Herbal Medicine Chest for Cancer
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Published: 16 years ago
This is a reply to # 334,838

Herbal Medicine Chest for Cancer

Cancer and Immunity

Immune System Basics
Immune Building Agents:
1. Cats Claw (Una de Gato)
2. Olive Leaf
3. Essiac Herbs
4. Hoxsey Herbs
5. Fish Oil
6. Mistletoe
7. Medical Mushrooms
8. Bovine Tracheal Cartilage (BTC)
9. Ukrain
10. Addition Factors to Boost Immunity

The human immune system is a magnificent and well-coordinated network of cells, organs, and glands. An optimized immune system is the key to good health and longevity. There is little doubt that the immune system plays a critical role in deterring cancer. Many in the forefront of cancer research in fact regard cancer as an indication of immune weakness. The fact is, that a weak immune response has a direct and inverse correlation with many types of cancer. Restoring the immune system function is perhaps the most critical step to be taken in any cancer treatment program. Having a strong immune system is a key component of any anti-cancer protocol, traditional or otherwise.

Immune System Basics

The key elements of our immune system are the T and B-lymphocytes. B-lymphocytes are in charge of humoral immunity. They are primarily concerned with the manufacturing and deployment of immunoglobilins. Immunoglobilins can act what they determined to be antigens, and for this reason, these immunoglobulins are known as antibodies. There are many different kinds of antibodies. They are classified into five five major classes, IgA (immunoglobulin A), IgD, IgG, IgM and IgE. Each class has a special function. Together, they ensure that all foreign bodies are recognized and destroyed.

T-lymphocytes are in charge of cellular immunity. They act as a command post from which most orders for the immune system flows. They stimulate macrophages and B-lymphocytes. These are the soldiers vital for the ultimate protection of the body against disease such as bacterial infections, strong viruses, most fungi, cancer, and some parasitic infections. This system protects the body against most chronic, disabling and fatal diseases.

A small, but important, sub-group of T-lymphocytes, the T-helper cells, also known as CD4s, control the various WBCs, by issuing chemical codes known as cytokines. Examples of cytokines include interleukins and interferons. T-helper cells, therefore, coordinate the combined effort of the WBCs to contain and destroy any non-self substance, once detected. Without T-helpers, the deeper immune responses that keep the body healthy would be unable to function on an optimal basis.

To keep the lymphocytes in check, the body makes T-suppressor or T-8 cells. These secrete counterbalancing cytokines to down-regulate the destructive activities of cytokines from other WBCs. This is an important function and serves to protect the host. The proper ratio of T-helper to T-suppressor cells is critical as it maintains a balance between necessary aggressive action, that kills the enemy, and all out generalized destruction, that may target healthy cells as well.

Immune Building Agents

1. Cats Claw (Una de Gato) - A woody vine of up to 100 feet in length, Cat's Claw is found on trees in the rain forests of the Andes Mountains, particularly in Peru. Although virtually unheard of in the United States until recently, the beneficial effects of the Peruvian herb Uncaria Tomentosa, commonly known as "una de gato" in Spanish and "cat's claw" in English, have been studied at research facilities in Peru, Austria, Germany, England, Hungary and Italy, since the 1970's. These studies suggest that the herb may be beneficial in the treatment of arthritis, bursitis, allergies, diabetes, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, herpes, organic depression, menstrual irregularities and disorders of the stomach and intestines.

It far surpasses such well-known botanicals as Echinacea, Golden Seal, Astragalus, and Siberian Ginseng in its anti-bacterial and immune building properties.

Unique alkaloids in una de gato seem to enhance the immune system in a general way. These alkaloids have a pronounced effect on the ability of white blood cells to engulf and digest harmful microorganisms and foreign matter. Laboratory testing has shown these alkaloids to have a pronounced enhancement effect on phagocytosis (the ability of the white blood cells and macrophages to attack, engulf and digest harmful micro-organisms, foreign matter and debris). The most immunologically active alkaloid appears to be isoteropodine or isomer A. Cat's claw has also been shown to increase the production of leukocytes and specifically T4 lymphocytes, thus blocking the advance of many viral illnesses.

In addition to its immune-stimulating and anti-inflammatory actions, Cat's Claw has antioxidant properties that could reduce the risk of the hardening of arteries and heart disease. Traditionally, the bark of the root was considered the medicinal part, but bark from the vine is now sold instead.

Dosage: Tea: 1 cup of tea 3 times per day; Tincture: 1 to 2 milliliters up to 2 times per day; Dry extract: 20 to 60 milligrams per day; Cancer in remission: 2 to 6 grams a day, and in advanced cases, up to 3 times as much can be taken if an aggressive stance is taken. Because Cat's Claw may cause the immune system to reject foreign cells, anyone with organ or tissue transplants should avoid it, as should those with autoimmune illnesses, multiple sclerosis, or tuberculosis. Cat's Claw should also be avoided during pregnancy, and is not for children under 2 years of age. It may block platelets from forming clots, so those on blood thinners such as aspirin or warfarin should be used careful.

2. Olive Leaf. Health professionals first started using Olive Leaf extract in the mid 1990s when it became available. From research and clinical experience to date, olive leaf supplementation may be beneficial in the treatment for conditions caused by, or associated with, a virus, retrovirus, bacterium or protozoan. Among the treatable conditions are: influenza, the common cold, meningitis, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), encephalitis, herpes I and II, human herpes virus 6 and 7, shingles (Herpes zoster), HIV/ARC/AIDS, chronic fatigue, hepatitis B, pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhea, malaria, dengue, bacteremia, severe diarrhea, blood poisoning and dental, ear, urinary tract and surgical infections.

Olive leaf has also been known to boost energy. After a continued use of olive leaf, people are more likely to have a greater sense of well-being. Often times, olive leaf extract produces an infusion of energy, giving those who use it an "upper" feeling. Olive leaf helps sustain energy during exercise and acts as a good source of pep for those who are not active. Many people who live stressful lives or who may be particularly susceptible to colds and viruses may benefit from the long-term use of olive leaf as a preventative agent. Some patients have expressed other unexpected benefits of olive leaf, including improved psoriasis, normalization of heart beat irregularities and less pain from hemorrhoids, toothaches and chronically achy joints.

The active ingredient in olive leaf is called Oleuropein. It was found to be one ingredient in a compound produced by the olive tree that makes it particularly robust and resistant against insect and bacterial damage. From a technical angle, oleurpein is an iridoil, a structural class of chemical compounds found in plants. It is present in olive oil, throughout the olive tree, and is, in fact, the bitter material that is eliminated from the olives when they are cured.

Research suggests that olive leaf may be a "true anti-viral" compound because it appears to selectively block an entire virus specific system in the infected host. It then appears to offer healing effects not addressed by pharmaceutical Antibiotics . Olive leaf's broad killing power includes:

∑ An ability to interfere with critical amino acid production for viruses.
∑ An ability to contain viral infection and/or spread by inactivating viruses by preventing virus shredding, budding or assembly at the cell membrane.
∑ The ability to directly penetrate infected cells and stop viral replication.

Olive leaf extract also has a powerful immune system boosting effect by means of increasing phagocytosis in white blood cells (the effect is the destruction of foreign bacteria and viruses that are literally gobbled up).

Dosage: Standardized extract is best, containing at least 20 % active ingredient. 500mg-2000 mg a day.

3. Essiac Herbs - A very select blend of herbs which has been passed up through the Ojibwa medicine men, a native Indian tribe in Canada. In 1922, it landed in the hands of an Ontario, Canadian nurse named Rene Caisse. Although Rene was not ill at the time; she asked for the formula just in case she might ever need it. Unfortunately, and ironically, a member of her family had been diagnosed with cancer and was given six months to live. Sensing that she had "nothing to lose" Rene decided to test this tea on her dying aunt. The result: the woman went on to live another 21 years, eventually dying of natural causes. Nurse Caisse named this special anti-cancer blend of tea "Essiac".

Inspired by her aunt's success with the tea, Rene Caisse began to offer the remedy's recipe to anyone who asked for it. Soon thereafter, Dr. Charles Brusch (personal physician to former President John F. Kennedy) learned of the successes of the tea and became a research partner with Rene.

The blend consists of the following four herbs, which work together to purify the blood, aid cell repair, and ease pain.

Burdock Root (67.7%) reportedly decreases cell mutation and inhibits tumors. It is used to reduce and prevent gall and kidney stones. It has vitamin A and selenium, which help eliminate free radicals. Its chromium helps regulate blood sugar. A Japanese scientist at Nagoya University in 1984 discovered burdock contains a new type of desmutagen, a substance called B-factor that is uniquely capable of reducing cell mutation either in the absence or in the presence of metabolic activation. In general, it acts as a cleanser and strengthening agent. Two studies conducted at the National Cancer Institute reported anti-tumor activity of burdock in animal tumor systems, while two others reported no significant activity for this herb. The National Cancer Institute tested burdock 14 times, with one sample showing activity, though not considered significant, in the P388 mouse leukemia system. Benzaldehyde, which has been isolated from burdock, has shown anti-tumor activity in some animal tests.

Slippery Elm's (5%) inner bark is rich in calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A, B, C, and K. This is reported to soothe organs, tissues and mucus membranes. It is considered especially helpful to the lungs. It is also reported to aid digestion and to relieve asthma. It dissolves excess mucous deposited in organs, tissue, lymph glands, nerve channels, and eases wastes through alimentary canal. Slippery Elm has been tested at National Cancer Institute seven times using samples from various parts of the United States and found no anti-tumor activity in mouse leukemia systems. Slippery elm contains beta-sitosterol and a polysaccharide, both of which have been reported to have anti-tumor activity in an animal tumor models.

Sheep Sorrel (21.6%) is known as a traditional folk remedy for cancer. It is also reported to relieve internal ulcers, and if applied externally, to clear skin problems such as eczema, ringworm and herpes. It's reported to nourish the glandular system because it is rich in vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Its active ingredients, aloe emodin, isolated from sorrel, do show significant anti-leukemic activity. It is responsible for the destruction of cancer cells in the body according to Dr. Chester Stock at Sloan-Kettering in New York. The National Cancer Institute tested one sample of sorrel from Taiwan and found no activity in mouse leukemia systems. The compound aloe emodin and emodin have been isolated from sorrel and have shown activity in some animal test systems.

Turkey Rhubarb root (5%) (Indian rhubarb) is reported to act as a gentle laxative and purges the body, especially the liver, of waste and toxins. It is also considered to aid digestion and to carry oxygen throughout the body. It contains a substance called rhein that inhibits disease-causing bacteria in the intestines and also reduces fever and inflammation. Anti-tumor activity was demonstrated with Indian rhubarb in the sarcoma-37 animal test system. Laboratory tests, on a single, isolated compound from one herbal formula, fail to address the synergistic potency of all the herbs when combined together. The National Cancer Institute tested two samples of Indian rhubarb from Poland and found no ant-tumor activity in mouse leukemia systems. Another type of Indian rhubarb, Peltiphyllum peltatum, was tested three times, and none was found active in mouse leukemia systems. Components of Indian rhubarb include emodin and catechin that have shown anti-tumor activity in some animal test systems.

In addition to it's reported effects on cancer, this tea is reported to be beneficial in the treatment of AIDS, diabetes, inflammatory skin problems, liver ailments, normalization of the thyroid, stomach ulcers and other degenerative diseases. Due to its immune boosting properties, many take it as a cold remedy.

Extensive clinical experience showed that this blend of tea breaks down nodular masses to a more normal tissue, while greatly alleviating pain. Many patients would report an enlarging and hardening of the tumor after a few treatments. Then the tumor would start to soften. Discharge of large amounts of pus and fleshy material has also been reported. Masses of diseased tissue were sloughed off in persons with breast, rectum, and internal cancers as the cancer shrinks. It is theorized these herbs reduced tumor growth while the other herbs acts as blood purifiers, carrying away destroyed tissue as well as infections related to malignancy.

Strengthening of the body's immune system is probably the primary mechanism of action of Essiac tea. In fact, Nurse Caisse maintained that even if a tumor does not disappear, it is forced to regress. In fact, she recommends the use of these herbs for 6 to 8 treatments before any surgical procedure, and then given once a week for at least 3 months after surgery, during remission, to supply the body with the resistance to a recurrence.

Essiac tea comes in a variety of forms commercially. The best and most effective form is to brew the tea from raw herbs purchased from herbal suppliers. Strict instructions must be followed. If that is too troublesome, taking an extract or essence of such a tea offers a good and safe alternative. Some prefer the tea to come bottled and ready for consumption. This is good for general preventive healthcare but not for cancer treatment due to its low potency. Few companies offer these herbs in a capsule format, but the efficacy of such crushed herb capsule is unknown. Those who are serious about this herbal tea blend should consider the raw herb or the essences format. Through the years, researchers have tried to improve the blend with additional proprietary ingredients, including other herbs and medical mushrooms. One word of caution: A popular commercial version of this tea is called Flor-essence. It incorporates red clover and watercress together with the original four herbs. Those with hormone sensitive tumors should refrain from red clover that has estrogen like effect.

Dose: Dosage varies from one ounce a week to two ounces three times a day. More is not recommended. The common recommended dosage is 2 oz diluted in 2 to 3 oz of body temperature water to be taken once a day for first 10 days, later reduced to 1 oz in the same dilution per day. The maximum recommended dose is 6 ounces a day in 2 -3 divide doses. This is recommended for 1 to 2 years or longer, with amounts eventually being further reduced to 2 or 3 times per week.

People with bowel obstructions, kidney disease, ulcers, colitis, lactating mothers, pregnant women, and children under 12 should not consume this blend of tea. It should be taken with caution with people taking anticoagulant therapy, diabetic or patient on digoxin.

4. Hoxsey Herbs. In the early 1900's, Harry Hoxsey developed an herbal formula that he believed was effective for the treatment of cancer. It consists of two remedies, one to be used externally, the other internally. The external mixture is said to be selectively destructive of cancerous tissue and consists of a red paste containing antimony trisulfide, zinc chloride, and bloodroot, and a yellow powder containing arsenic sulfide, sulfur, and talc. The internal mixture is a liquid containing licorice, red clover, burdock root, stillingia root, barberry, cascara, prickly ash bark, buckthorn bark, and potassium iodide. This mixture is considered to be cathartic/cleansing or immune boosting. The preparation is used either directly on the skin or drunk as a tonic. Patients are encouraged to avoid pork, vinegar, tomatoes, carbonated drinks and alcohol, and to use immune stimulants, yeast tablets, vitamin C, calcium, laxatives, and antiseptic washes, as well as adopt a positive mental outlook while taking the Hoxsey treatment.

Even though the American Medical Association admitted this treatment was effective against some forms of cancer, the medical establishment branded Hoxsey as the worst cancer quack of the century and forced his clinic to Tijuana, Mexico, at the Bio-medical Center, where it continues to claim very high success rates.

The idea is to stimulate the body's own defense system (the immune system) to do what it usually does in a healthy body - overcome cancer. By supplying the body with an overabundance of herbs and supporting this with various digestive enzymes, Iodine and potassium compound, the necessary nutrition is provided. The herbal remedies are said to strengthen the immune system and to help carry away wastes and toxins from the tumors that the herbal compounds caused to necrotize. While this theory may be inexact, current research appears to be vindicating Hoxsey, or at least showing that his method merits a thorough, unbiased investigation by the medical orthodoxy.

The main component is its high concentration of potassium iodide. While Iodine itself does not have significant anti-cancer properties, Iodine is an important component of thyroid function, and potassium is an important of cellular metabolism. The modern day diet is generally low in potassium. Similarly, about 10 percent of the adult population may have an under-active thyroid function that is considered "normal" by traditional laboratory test. Supplementing with iodine will ensure proper thyroid gland function.

The thyroid gland is the main temperature control center of the body. Those with under active thyroids often will have a lowered basal body temperature. Cancer cells cannot tolerate heat as well as normal cells due to the lack of collateral circulation around tumor cells. Maintaining a normal temperature creates an internal environment unfavorable for cancer growth.

Dose: The dose of the therapy varies, depending on the specific needs of each patient and whether the cancer is internal or on the skin. Some of the ingredients in the Hoxsey formula can cause side effects. For instance, buckthorn bark can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea if taken in large quantities. Cascara can cause diarrhea. Barberry root administered to rabbits (dose unspecified) caused swelling of the kidney and cardiotoxicity.

5. Fish Oil. Over half of all cancers are diet related, including breast and colon cancer. A high fat diet rich in linolenic acid promotes cancer and metastasis. Fish oil can inhibit metastasis. Fish oil contains omega 3 (also present in flaxseed, walnut, cold water fish like salmon) fatty acid.

Over the past 150 years, the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 ratios has gone from 2 to 1 to become 30 to 1. Omega 6 (corn and canola oil) fatty acid is pro-inflammatory. Omega 3 is ant-inflammatory and acts like a natural aspirin. Omega 3 blocks the arachondic acid cascade. Arachondic acid is high in meat. Omega 3 and omega 6 compete for cell receptors and its incorporation into the cell membrane. Omega 6 produces prostaglandin E2, which is associated with reduced immune response, suppression of cytokines, attenuation of T-cell proliferation, lower immune function, inhibition of macrophages and natural killer cells, and promotion of tumor growth. Omega 6 supports angiogenesis in many cancer tumors.

Fish oil has a direct effect on tumor cell proliferation via alternation of prostaglandin E2 production. Fish oil directly inhibits tumor cell proliferation and inhibits angiogenesis through inhibited VEGF, similar to liquid shark cartilage. It also acts as counterbalance effect to omega 6 fatty acid's production of inflammatory econsinoids. Fish oil reduces the rate of tumor attachment to endothelial extra-cellular matrix that leads to angiogenesis. It also alters the rate of tumor attachment in lymph nodes. Omega 3 reduces tumor promotion and metastasis with or without chemotherapeutic agents. It has an adjunct therapy during chemo and radiotherapy. One of the primary anti-cancer diets is to reduce fat intake to 20 percent (current American Diet derives 40% of its calories from fat).

Dosage: Increasing intake of fatty fish is the easiest. Most fish oil supplement provides 1500 mg of fish oil, with about 450 mg of EPA and 300 mg of DHA per capsule. 6-9 capsules are needed per day. Flaxseed is a good source of omega 3 fatty acid. It is better than flaxseed oil.

6. Mistletoe (Viscum album L.) is a semi-parasitic plant that lives with several tree species, including oak, pine, fir, elm and apple. It is found in Europe, America and Korea, but only the European species is used in the treatment of cancer. Mistletoe (Iscador) has long been used in the treatment of a variety of acute and chronic conditions. It was not widely used for treating cancer, however, until the 1920s. Presently, mistletoe is given to patients either as the central component of a complex, broader treatment regimen in the practice of Anthroposophic medicine mainly in Europe or as a single agent partially or completely removed from the overall context of Anthroposophic care (e.g., in the United Kingdom and other countries). It is widely used in Europe, at clinics and private practices specializing in Anthroposophic or in various types of "holistic" medicine. Its use in the United States is limited.

Mistletoe preparations are used to stimulate the immune system and to kill cancer cells. Studies have shown that it reduces tumor size and improves survival of some cancer patients. It is particularly good for cancers of the cervix, ovaries, breast, stomach, colon, and lung. In addition to treating solid tumors, Iscador is also used, though less effective than on solid tumors, for cancers of the bone marrow, connective tissue, and blood-forming organs, specifically, lymphomas, sarcomas, and leukemias.

Therapeutic Dose: Mistletoe is typically given by subcutaneous injection, ideally near the site of the tumor or indirectly into the tumor, at the same time avoiding irradiated areas. Direct tumor injection is most common for tumors of the liver, esophagus and cervix. A typical treatment course lasts several months to years with subcutaneous injections given early in the morning 3-7 times per week. The doses are gradually increased and adjusted depending on the patient's general condition, sex, age, and type of cancer. Side effects are rare, except rare cases of allergic symptoms and an increase in body temperature and flu-like symptoms that are desirable. The injection site can become inflamed and abdominal pain with nausea may occur. Eating mistletoe, particularly the berries, is considered highly toxic, especially for infants. Seizures and death have been reported. Because the preparation contains tyramine, patients on any type of monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor antidepressant should not take it. This product should only be used in a closely supervised setting, and should not be used for normal consumption.

7. Medical Mushrooms

A. Maitake Mushroom: This Japanese mushroom is also called "hen of the woods," because it grows in clusters that resemble the tail feathers of a nesting hen. The most important studies on its effect on cancer cells were carried out using nothing more than dried mushroom powder mixed into animal feed. These studies showed that maitake mushrooms possessed the ability to significantly inhibit various cancer systems when used orally. Like the other mushrooms, Maitake's action is that of an HDP, or 'Host Defense Potentiator'. The inhibition of tumor cells, in comparison to other mushrooms, appears to be superior. Its main anti-cancer mechanism seems to be the activation of the polysaccharide natural killer cells by the beta glucans present in maitake. Maitake mushroom powder showed an 86% tumor inhibition in these feeding studies. With similar activity was shiitake mushroom powder; an inhibition rate of 78% was shown in the same study. The optimum dose in animal experiments, performed by Dr. Hiroki Nanba of Japan, appears to be 25 mg./kg of body weight (about 1.5-2 grams in adult) for cancer prevention and 3-4 times that much as adjuncts to conventional treatment in powder form.

Maitake mushrooms can be analytically broken down into four different fractions called Fractions A to D of active ingredients, with approximately 2.9 % of fraction A, 0.59% of fraction B, 0.49% of fraction C, and 0.16% of fraction D.

Out of the various fractions, studies seem to show that the D-fraction is more potent against cancer cells. It has been shown in vitro to reduce in vitro cancer cells mitosis by 91% versus 81% with the maitake powder. Animal studies show tremendous effectiveness in tumor growth inhibition (up to 98%) when maitake D fraction is used in combination with half the usual dose of chemotherapy. A Japanese study did show extended survival when maitake was used together with chemotherapy. It works well orally to enhance natural killer cells, IL1. It is very important that D-fraction is effective in oral administration, because any pure beta-glucan alone is only effective through injection.

In another study of Breast Cancer and liver cell tumor, D fraction inhibits the growth of Breast Cancer by 80% when given orally. When given at the time of tumor implantation, the growth of cancer cells is reduced by 70 percent. Recurrence rate with maitake powder is 20% while the D-fraction is only 10 percent. Its use is particularly useful in breast and lung cancer. In vitro studies showed maitake extract leads to cell apoptosis in prostate and breast cancer. In liver cancer, the combination of maitake D fraction and chemotherapy is best. Early vitro cell line studies showed that in liver cancer, D fraction, when combined with chemotherapy at half dose, yield an effective rate of 96%. D fraction alone is 75%, while mitomycin C is 46%. Breast and breast cancer- taking it alone or together with chemotherapy - 75%

Therapeutic Dosage: 1 drop per kilogram Maitake Pro-D fraction (1 drop contains 1 mg) and 2-8 grams whole mushroom powder. There is a large variety of maitake mushroom powder on the market, and the quality is very difficult to ascertain by the average consumer. It is important to only buy from sources you can trust if you take the raw powder form. Furthermore, mushroom powder mostly contain hard to digest fiber, and too high an intake may be cause a gastrointestinal upset.

For safety and maximum effectiveness, it is best to take the standardized extract form of maitake mushroom instead of maitake powder. Many suppliers may not disclose the extraction ratio, but you should know or its equivalent in extract form between meals or mushroom extract. A 100 mg. of 8:1 extract, for example, is equivalent to taking 800 mg. of dry powder, even though the label only shows 100 mg. The higher the extraction ratio, the less you have to take and still receive the desired active ingredient and its effect. Good quality extracts run from a 4:1 to 8:1 extraction ratio and is much more expansive than the powder form.

When used with 2000 mg of Vitamin C, the effect is synergistic and demonstrated in breast and prostate cancer cell apoptosis, with a reduction based on PSA marker.

Little information has been collected concerning the toxicity of maitake, although some cases of allergic reactions have been reported. Maitake can be found in gourmet restaurants, dried and packaged in gourmet grocery stores, and increasingly in prepared products in the United States, Asia, and Europe. As a general health supplement, 3 to 7 g a day in tea or in soups and other dishes is recommended.

B. Reishi Mushroom: Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) has a dark, reddish-orange cap. The Latin word lucidum means "shiny" or "brilliant", and refers to the varnished surface of the Reishi cap. For four millennia, the Chinese and Japanese have used Reishi as a medicine for liver disorders, hypertension, and arthritis. Through in vitro and human studies, today's researchers have found that Reishi has anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant properties. In vitro experiments also indicate that Reishi may help fight tumors. In addition, a protein isolated from Reishi - Ling Zhi-8 - may reduce the risk of transplant rejection

Reishi is hard and bitter. You can buy Reishi dried and ground for tea, but an alternative to the taste is in capsules. Reishi is an effective immuno-stimulant that was demonstrated as an anti-tumor action. It has been shown to protect the liver, act as a tonic for the central nervous system and heart, lower cholesterol, and inhibit allergic response (histamine release). Reishi has been shown to increase the production of Interleukin-1 & 2, is shown to be a significant anti-inflammatory, as well as inhibit malignant tumor growth. It also is reported to reduce allergic responsiveness, and protect the liver.

The active anti-cancer constituent in Reishi is called Beta-D-glucan. Beta-D-glucan is a polysaccharide--basically a huge Sugar molecule made up of many little Sugar molecules chained together bound to amino acids. These intricate sugars stimulate or modulate the immune system by activating immune cells such as macrophage and helper T-cells, as well as increase the immunoglobulin levels (immunoglobulin are specific types of antibodies) to produce a heightened response to foreign cells, whether bacteria, viruses, or tumor cells.

One interesting and important finding by Dr. Fukumi Morishige, M.D., PhD, the leading researcher in this field, was that the effectiveness of Reishi could be increased by combining it with high doses of vitamin C. Polysaccharides are huge molecules absorbed by the body with difficulty. Vitamin C aids in the break down of these huge molecules into much smaller molecules called oligoglucan, which can be easily absorbed. Vitamin C, thus, increases the bioavailability of Reishi, and therefore, synergistically increases Reishi's immune-stimulating and anti-cancer effects.

As the "medicine of kings", Reishi is widely used for different purposes. It is used for symptomatic relief of arthritis, menopausal anxiety, asthma, hypertension, hypothyroids, insomnia, and cardiovascular symptoms. Chinese medical texts traditionally call for using 1.5 to 9 grams of dry mushrooms per day, which approximates to 150 to 900 mg of concentrated Reishi extract. For serious illnesses like cancer, Dr Morishige adjusts the dosage from 2 to 10 grams of Reishi per day. Since it is almost impossible for the average consumer to ascertain the quality of the Reishi powder, it is recommended that consumers buy powder from only professional sources, or to take standardized extracts to ensure efficacy. The extracts are usually more expansive.

C. Shitake - This Asian mushroom is medicinal as well as culinary. Shitake contains cortinelin, a strong antibacterial agent. It also produces an extract containing Lentinan, which stimulates the production of T lymphocytes and natural killer cells. The reports show shiitake to take positive action against several cancers and assists AZT in the treatment of AIDS. These meaty and flavorful mushrooms contain a substance called eritadenine that encourages body tissues to absorb cholesterol and lower the amount circulating in the blood. You can find dried shiitakes at Asian markets or at health food stores. This is a meaty and delicious mushroom that can be used alone or as an ingredient in a variety of dishes. Like maitake, shiitake also appears to be a formidable cancer fighter. In 1969, scientists at Tokyo's National Center Research Institute isolated a polysaccharide compound from shiitake they called lentinan. In laboratory trials, lentinan caused tumors in mice to regress or vanish in 80 to 100% of the subjects. Lentinan appears to stimulate immune-system cells to clear the body of tumor cells. Taking shitake mushroom in the standardized extract form is superior to the powder form, unless the powder is from a reputable source.

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D. Agaricus Blazei Murill (ABM) is one of the most potent of medical mushrooms. It was first noticed about 30 years ago when two researchers from Penn State University visited Piedade and discovered that the natives were very healthy with very low rates of disease and that a disproportionately high number enjoyed longevity. The polysaccharide contained in ABM vitalizes production of interferon and interleukin. This effect indirectly functions to destroy or prevent the proliferation of cancer cells. Researchers have shown that ABM is effective against Ehrlich's ascites carcinoma, sigmoid colonic cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, and liver cancer, as well as against solid cancer. In fact, in experiments performed on mice injected with Sarcoma 180, a strong cancer-causing agent, that developed cancerous tumors, ABM was found to be effective in 90% of all tested animals in eliminating the cancerous tumors. ABM is less promoted than the other mushrooms, but its therapeutic efficacy should not be overlooked.

E. Cordycep Sinensis (CS) is a precious tonic found in the high plateau of southwestern China at 3000-4000 meters above sea level. It is sometimes called caterpillar fungus, and comes in the form of a fine light beige powder. In Chinese, Cordycep means "summer plant, winter worm." Cordycep grow by infecting insect larvae or mature insects with spores that germinate, often before the cocoon is formed. The fruiting body of the Cordycep grows from the dead host. CS has been shown by modern research to promote phagocytosis of peritoneal macrophages, enhance the function of the reticuloendothelial system, and reduce cholesterol levels.

CS has been used in Chinese traditional medicine for over 1,000 years to strengthen and rebuilt one's health after chronic illness and to treat lung disease, impotence, and neurothenia and to restore renal functions. It is an immune enhancer.

Recent studies have shown that CS is beneficial to cardiovascular health, as well as immune, lung, kidney, and sexual functions. It is an excellent tonic supplement overall for vitality and to counter aging.

It is an excellent strengthening tonic for convalescing patients, and patients with reduced appetite, weak blood, weakened resistance of respiratory tract and susceptibility to colds or flu can take this product orally to strengthen resistance.

Studies using CS have been confirmed, mostly conducted in China, with reported effective rates of 78 percent to 94.2 percent in the treatment of malignant cancers, bronchitis, heart diseases, leukemia, lung diseases, cirrhosis, B hepatitis, and diabetes.

The active polysaccharide in Reishi mushrooms varies from 5-25% by weight. Choosing the right powder is almost impossible for the average consumer. Always buy from a reputable and professional source.

Dosage: 1-3 grams a day. High quality natural CS can cost over $1,000 per pound due to its scarcity. However, recently developed cultured CS using bioengineering processes have significantly lowered the cost and increased its availability to consumers. The best method is to take standardized CS extract with a 2:1 extract ratio and at least 20% active ingredient (polysaccharide) by content. A 350 mg 2:1 extract capsule will therefore yield an equivalent of a 700 mg CS powder capsule. 20% of active ingredients of such a capsule will yield about 140 mg of polysaccharide. Normal dosage is 1 to 2 tablets per day. Take 2-3 times more for therapeutic dose.

What you should know about medical mushrooms: Medical mushrooms are well known immune system enhancers. They have been used for centuries as a tonic and folk medicine for a variety of other diseases. Intensive research is on going, but it is evident that each has its own special anti-cancer properties. For anti-tumor activity, Maitake, Reishi, Shitake, and Agaricus are good choices. Cordycep is the preferred choice as a strengthening tonic specially suited for convalescing patients. There is no one "magic" mushroom. Taking it as a blend or mushroom "cocktail" makes the most sense for most patients.


Because of tremendous individual variation, the use of nutritionals should therefore be personalized for your body. One personís nutrient can be another personís toxin. If you have a specific health concern and wish my personalized nutritional recommendation, write to me by clicking here.

8. Bovine Tracheal Cartilage (BTC): BTC has been used since the early fifties and has been effectively used to treat many conditions including cancers, tumors and Arthritis ever since. It is considered to be a non-toxic material has been scientifically demonstrated to produce anti-mitotic, anti-angiogenic and anti-inflammatory activities.

It was developed by Dr. John Prudden, a Harvard trained physician. Dr. Prudden published a 31 patient case series in which he recorded some remarkable remissions in a wide variety of intractable malignancies including, but by no means limited to, Pancreatic Cancer, Metastatic Breast Cancer, and Glioblastoma Multiforme. Some of these patients had been followed for more than five years at the time the case series was published in 1985. Out of the 31 cancer patients that had been treated, the response rate was 90 percent. Sixty-one percent had complete remission of tumors. Both oral and injected forms were used, but the oral was somewhat better.

In 1994, a group not associated with Dr. Prudden, published an abstract reporting a clinical trial of BTC in 35 patients with Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma. Within 3 months, 22 of the 35 patients had completed therapy and there were three objective responses, none of which had relapsed with follow-up of 6+, 12+, and 30+ months. There were also two patients with stable disease. While the response rate here is not as good as that reported by Dr. Prudden himself, independent confirmation of anti-cancer activity of a non-toxic alternative treatment is reassuring.

The main mechanism of action is immune modulation by polysaccharide components of BTC, although there may also be a direct cytostatic effect as well. There is well-documented evidence that oral polysaccharides can have an immune modulatory and anti-tumor effect in humans. Such polysaccharides are also present in Maitake mushroom, for example. This mechanism of action is very different from that of shark cartilage, which is known for its anti-angiogenic factors.

Dose: 3 to 5 grams per day of powder in the form of capsules before meals. The cost is much less than shark cartilage. Responses may take several months to develop, and if there is a response, treatment should be continued indefinitely. Side effects associated with BTC therapy is limited and generally mild, including gastric upset, fatigue, nausea, fever, dizziness, and edema of the scrotum. It is virtually non-toxic.

9. Ukrain - Ukrain was first developed in 1978 by Dr. Wassyl J. Nowicky, director of the Ukrain Anti-Cancer Institute of Vienna, Austria and unveiled at the 13th International Congress of Chemotherapy in Vienna in August 1983. It is classified as a semi synthetic "reaction product" or "conjugate" created by the merger of a common herb, Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus L.) and one of the oldest cytotoxic drugs, thiotepa.

Greater Celandine is a poppy-like plant, filled with a bright and acrid orange-colored juice. It has a long folk history of disease-fighting effects. A tincture, or lower attenuations, is used in homeopathy, mainly as a liver remedy. The main ingredients of this plant are alkaloids, such as chelidonine, which have anticancer potential. By analogy, the common periwinkle contain alkaloids and yield two standard anticancer agents, Vinblastine and Vincristine. Such alkaloids, taken by themselves, can be irritating or even toxic.

The force marriage of this herb and the thiotepa drug results in a compound that is non-toxic to normal cells, yet has a strong affinity for killing cancer cells. Animal studies in hamsters and rats, for example, showed no clinical signs of toxicity or damage to embryos. The only toxicity was a slight decrease in the average hamster's litter size. In addition, for three years, healthy human volunteers in Poland, Austria, and Germany, received repeated courses of the new drug with few side effects; other than some local pain, and a few reported cases of drowsiness, as well as increased thirst and urges to urinate.
Ukrain has been tested extensively against 60 different human cancer cell lines at the National Cancer Institute with a 100 percent growth inhibition. While the exact mechanism is not known, it apparently increases the oxygen consumption of both normal and malignant cells; but while oxygen consumption normalizes in non-cancerous cells within 15 minutes, it decreases irreversibly to zero in cancer cells, effectively killing them.

In addition, Ukrain activates a whole series of highly effective immune system mechanisms in the patient so that the body's own antitoxins contribute towards combating the tumor. It also has anti-angiogenesis properties. This results not only in the "starvation" of the tumors but also suppression of metastases formation. It was found to be cytostatic or cytotoxic to human leukemias, large and small cell lung cancers, colon cancers, central nervous system cancer, melanomas, ovarian cancer and renal cancer.

In the clinical trial, the drug was given either intramuscularly or intravenously either every day or every second to fifth day, for ten days to three months. There was some slight transient pain reported on intramuscular injections. In general, patients who had a weak response to Ukrain also experienced little heat or pain in the tumor sites. The cost is quite high. Ukrain is only available through holistic clinics mainly in Europe, Mexico, and selected clinics in USA and is quite expensive.

10. Additional factors to boost immunity:

a. Avoid chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which suppress the rapid turnover over in immune cells

b. Avoid immune lowering drugs such as glucocorticoids, commonly prescribed for asthma and other inflammatory conditions

c. Get the proper amounts of sleep, along with adequate exercise and stress reduction. This will normalize the adrenal gland and reduce production of internal cortisol, an anti-inflammatory and pro-aging hormone

d. Moderate alcohol intake.

e. Proper nutrition and diet. Supplement with vitamins A, C, E, B6 and folic acid. Moderate supplementation with zinc, chromium, magnesium, and selenium is also recommended

f. Additional supplementation such as amino acid glutamine, herbs such as Echinacea and goldenseal, as well as thymus extract can help to support normal lymphocyte proliferation and maintain dysfunctional immune system.


Maintaining a strong immune system is a key component to any anti-cancer program. A variety of micronutrients are available to achieve this. Taking a blended cocktail of the above immune enhancing nutrients should be considered for cancer prevention and cancer treatment.

Message from Dr. Lam

I hope you have enjoyed reading this article. If you have areas you donít understand, comments (good or bad), or if you have a specific health concern, feel free to write to me by clicking here.

About The Author
Michael Lam, M.D., M.P.H., A.B.A.A.M. is a specialist in Preventive and Anti-Aging Medicine. He is currently the Director of Medical Education at the Academy of Anti-Aging Research, U.S.A. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Oregon State University, and his Doctor of Medicine degree from Loma Linda University School of Medicine, California. He also holds a Masters of Public Health degree and is Board Certification in Anti-aging Medicine by the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine. Dr. Lam pioneered the formulation of the three clinical phases of aging as well as the concept of diagnosis and treatment of sub-clinical age related degenerative diseases to deter the aging process. Dr. Lam has been published extensively in this field. He is the author of The Five Proven Secrets to Longevity (available on-line). He also serves as editor of the Journal of Anti-Aging Research.

For More Information

For the latest anti-aging related health issues, visit Dr. Lam at Feel free to email Dr. Lam at if you have any questions.


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