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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Herbal headache cure may help cancer, too

Cancer Defeated Publications

This Herbal Migraine Cure
May Help Treat Cancer, Too

    If you're one of the unfortunate billion or so folks who suffer from migraines, you may already be familiar with this bitter-tasting tonic.

    It's a popular alternative treatment for migraines that's been known for centuries, but gained new popularity in the 1980s in the U.K. A member of the sunflower family, it was commonly used in European folk medicine as a remedy for headaches, arthritis, and fevers.

    More than 70% of the 270 U.K. people surveyed in one study reported feeling much better after taking two to three fresh leaves daily. Several human studies suggest the herb may reduce the frequency of migraine episodes in people who suffer from this painful health problem. But read on, because it may help with cancer too.

Continued below. . .

You've been told to avoid it at all costs. But--
This "forbidden" food could be the biggest health breakthrough of our time
    Your whole life, you've been warned that this substance can wreak havoc on your health.

    But the bad rap could be for nothing. Because research proves this shunned food:
  • "washes away" stubborn bladder infections (often in less than 48 hours)
  • decreases tooth decay by 80%--without having to drop any of your favorite foods
  • reduces blood clots without the dangerous side effects of aspirin
  • cuts sinus and ear infections by 93%--One pioneering Texas doctor reports these results that are so dramatic his patients forget to keep using it!
    And you should see how it helps you drop weight!

    How can one food--especially one we're told to stay away from--do so much?

    More importantly--what is it? And how can you get your hands on it?

    The name feverfew even comes from a Latin word meaning "fever reducer" — just as its name suggests.

    The active compound in this plant is called parthenolide, which drug makers are also investigating. Scientists think parthenolide blocks substances that constrict the blood vessels and lead to migraines.

    However, not all studies show that feverfew has a positive impact on migraines.

    It seems to depend on your timing. It's most effective when taken just as you feel the headache coming on. Another important factor is the quality of the supplement. Feverfew supplements should be standardized to a minimum of 0.2% parthenolide.

    Feverfew actually works in a similar manner to ibuprofen — inhibiting the chemicals that cause your head to spasm.
Good for what ails your joints, too
    Not only does feverfew help reduce head spasms, it may also help reduce inflammation throughout your body. This may be valuable for those who suffer from inflammatory illnesses such as arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In fact, feverfew has been used for centuries as a remedy for arthritis.

    The herb is believed to hinder the hormone-like substances called prostaglandins — substances which cause pain and inflammation.

    Some studies have even shown that feverfew inhibits inflammation better than NSAID drugs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs)… truly good news for RA sufferers.

    Most people believe feverfew's positive activity comes from the compound parthenolide. However, a parthenolide-free feverfew extract also showed free radical-scavenging properties and protection from UV-induced sun damage.1

    There's more. Some researchers believe feverfew's flavonol content may also contribute to its anti-inflammatory properties.2
New evidence that feverfew
may be cancer-protective
    Cancer is often regarded as an inflammatory disease. Like heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer's and many other diseases of aging, inflammation is certainly one of the major symptoms — and chronic inflammation may be a cause as well.

    Feverfew's active compound, parthenolide, is now being tested by scientists as a potential treatment for a variety of cancers… both as an alternative and complementary treatment.

    Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine started studying feverfew because parthenolide is known to inhibit the DNA-binding protein that turns genes on and off. This transcription factor is called NF-Kappa B, and is connected to cancer.

    Harikrishna Nakshatri, PhD., Associate Professor, explains it this way… "NF-Kappa B is generally not active in a normal, healthy body, except when there is an infection or inflammation. Then it activates to help fight the infection. We have found, however, that it isalways active in cancer."3

    According to Hakshatri, this "cancer hyperactivity" may be one mechanism involved in cancer metastasis.

    How does feverfew perform against specific types of cancer? Here's what science is discovering about this.
  • Breast Cancer. Tamoxifen is the world's most widely prescribed cancer drug. Though we here at Cancer Defeated prefer alternative cancer treatments, if you're inclined toward conventional treatments and want complementary ways to enhance your recovery chances, you'll be interested in this study, and how it might help prevent resistance to Tamoxifen.4

    Patients with hormone-driven cancers are often given Tamoxifen, developed to block hormones from binding to cellular protein receptors. But many patients either don't respond to the treatment or develop resistance to it.

    NF-Kappa B proteins trigger inflammation which can also signal tumor development. Feverfew's parthenolide effectively suppresses NF-Kappa B.

    A Clemson University study tested feverfew against both breast cancer andcervical cancer cells. In this study, feverfew stopped the growth of all these cancer cells… as reported in the Spring 2006 issue of the Journal of Medicinal Food.
  • Secondary Lung Cancer. Dr. Nakshatri, mentioned above, discovered that parthenolide reduced breast cancer metastasis to the lungs by 25 percent. But due to the number of mice involved in the study, this result is not considered statistically significant.

    However, when parthenolide was combined with docetaxel — a common chemotherapy drug — lung metastasis went down by 50 percent compared to untreated animals.

    Dr. Nakshatri also gave mice a phytochemical from chamomile, called apigenin. It also blocks NF-Kappa G — though in a different way than parthenolide. Nakshatri hoped that these two compounds used in conjunction with docetaxel would enhance the drug's benefit in stopping metastasis to the lungs. But it proved too toxic.5
  • Secondary Bone Cancer. In further research, Dr. Nakshatri is examining whether parthenolide and the drug docetaxel can stop breast cancer from spreading to the bone. (Bones and lungs are the most frequent sites for breast cancer metastasis.) He's trying to get rid of the drug's toxicity by combining it with natural substances like feverfew and chamomile.

    In my opinion, it would be most interesting to test apigenin and parthenolide withoutany drug use. But for the moment it appears this isn't planned.
    NF-Kappa B is now believed to play a significant role in many types of cancer — including leukemia, lung and prostate cancer. So parthenolide's role as an NF-Kappa B inhibitor shows promise for a number of cancers besides breast cancer.
Perhaps most exciting of all —
can we now eradicate leukemia?
    Scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center have made an exciting discovery...

    An herbal extract of feverfew is reported effective against one type of human leukemia. Monica Guzman, PhD, and Craig Jordan, PhD, even go so far as to say that feverfew extracts can kill malignant stem cells like no other single therapy they've ever tested.

    The U.S. National Cancer Institute is even excited enough by their work to have moved it into their rapid access program — which fast-tracks experimental drugs from lab to human clinical trials.

    Says Dr. Jordan, "We have proof that we can kill leukemia stem cells with this type of agent, and that is good news."

    What's very promising is that this is the first agent known to destroy myeloid leukemia at the stem cell level. This is where malignancy is actually born. And scientists already know that unless it is attacked at the stem cell level, it can hardly ever be controlled, let alone cured.

    Researchers in the late 1800s proposed the theory that cancer could be caused by stem cells undergoing malignant change. The work of John Beard (1858-1924) was at first greeted by interest, but later maligned and forgotten. His findings were only kept alive through the years by a few maverick biologists — among them, Dr. William D. Kelley, whom we've written about in our Special Report on enzyme therapy, The Missing Ingredient for Good Health.
The stem cell connection
    More recently, scientists discovered cancer stem cells in blood, brain, and breast cancers.

    Two scientists at the University of Michigan showed that — contrary to what some experts assume — not all cancer cells are equally capable of producing cancer metastases. In fact, only a tiny fraction (under 1%) can actually cause metastasis. And these highly malignant cells are called stem cells.

    Then it was discovered at the University of Massachusetts-Worcester that the cells that initiate malignancy in stomach cancers are not the stomach tissue itself, but the stem cells that migrated from the bone marrow.

    This action was initiated by a low-grade stomach infection, usually caused by Helicobacter pylori. In response to this infection, bone-marrow-derived cells (BMDCs) move to the stomach. And once there, these BMDCs take on the characteristics of the surrounding tissue. But they're influenced by the hormonal signals sent by the inflamed tissue. So they go through a malignant change.

    The above-mentioned University of Rochester discoveries about feverfew have been pivotal in giving us a deeper understanding of how stem cells are linked to both cancer genesis and progression.

    Dr. Craig Jordan of the University of Rochester said that the reasons some drugs are only moderately effective is "you're pulling the weed without getting to the root." Stem cells are the root.

    As we've said in this newsletter a number of times, stem cells are the most likely reason cancer keeps coming back after a patient appears to be completely well. Very few substances are known to kill them off. One of the few is paw-paw, which we wrote about inIssue 53. If feverfew has the same benefit, it's very exciting news indeed.

    In their laboratories, the University of Rochester team showed that parthenolide is more selective at promoting apoptosis — programmed cell death — than the standard drug cytarabine (Ara-C).

    Previous experiments also showed that feverfew compounds can stop cancer cell growth. And a phase I trial also found it was relatively non-toxic.6

    Interestingly, a University of Rochester press release claims that someone with leukemia would be unable to consume enough over-the-counter feverfew to stop it from spreading. Ironically, in the absence of clinical trials, it's not clear how this could have even been established. I also wonder why feverfew has attracted the interest of the NCI when paw-paw's stem-cell-killing properties have been known for years.
If you're going to take feverfew…
    The amount of active ingredient parthenolide varies wildly from one plant to another. So you definitely want a standardized product, or you won't really know what you're really getting.

    Standardized feverfew is available, but you're well-advised to read labels carefully.

    Some products claim to contain 2, 5, or even 7 percent parthenolide by weight. Since some of these supplements apparently come from obscure and unknown companies, do your homework to find products marketed by well-known and reputable companies that have a lot to lose by deceitful marketing or impure products.

    One company, Nature's Way, actually markets three different feverfew products — feverfew leaves, feverfew extract, and a more highly concentrated product called MygraFew which claims it has 2% standardized parthenolide.
A couple of cautions are in order...
    Feverfew is not recommended for pregnant (may cause contractions) or lactating women, nor for children under 2 years of age.

    Also, if you're allergic to ragweed, chamomile, or yarrow, you should not take feverfew. Skin irritation or eczema may occur in those with feverfew allergies.

    Further, if you take blood thinning drugs (anticoagulants like warfarin/Coumadin) you should avoid feverfew, as it may increase a risk of bleeding. Of course, readers of this newsletter know that they can get off drug blood-thinners easily, with natural remedies. If feverfew is an effective anticoagulant, why not just reduce the dose of warfarin?

    Some people may experience oral discomfort or irritation (swelling of the lips, bleeding of the gums, and loss of taste) when using feverfew.

    Other than these side effects, participants in studies have been found to tolerate feverfew well.

    If you experience any unusual symptom with feverfew (or anything else, for that matter!) — stop taking the product immediately. Your body chemistry may differ from even people in your own family.

    When feverfew intake is suddenly stopped after a long period of use, a patient may experience rebound headaches, anxiety, sleep disturbances, muscle stiffness or pain. You may be able to sidestep this issue by reducing your intake gradually.

    Have you tried feverfew for migraines, cancer or other symptoms? Sound off on ourFacebook page, and let your health-minded friends in on your experiences.

    Our last issue was one of the most interesting we've had this year, in my opinion. We wrote about how cutting kids' tonsils out is not such a good idea, because these little glands pack immune-boosting power that may help avoid cancer and other diseases, too. If you missed this article, you can scroll down and read it now.
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