Understanding the many benefits of cannabis in cancer treatment


Image: Understanding the many benefits of cannabis in cancer treatment

A cancer diagnosis is both devastating and terrifying. Patients are almost always directed towards conventional cancer treatments like surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, and are made to feel that any other, more “natural” treatments are not only ineffective but dangerous.

The truth is, however, that mainstream cancer treatments wreak havoc on the body, leaving it defenseless against disease and breaking it down at the exact time when it needs to be as strong as possible. With its less than impressive success rate of between 2 and 4 percent, along with its devastating effects on the body, it is unsurprising that three out of every four doctors say they would refuse chemotherapy as a treatment option if they themselves became ill.

While doctors like to promote the idea that there are no treatments scientifically proven to work besides the usual surgery/chemotherapy/radiation regimen, the truth is there is a strong body of evidence that many natural, non-invasive treatments are effective in the fight against cancer. One of the most well-researched and solidly proven of all these natural medicines is cannabis.

The miraculous power of cannabinoids

As noted by Dr. Mark Sircus, writing for Green Med Info, there is no confusion about whether marijuana is an effective cancer treatment. Cannabis has been scientifically proven to kill cancer cells without the devastating and body weakening effects of conventional cancer treatments.

The marijuana plant contains about 113 powerful chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. The most well-known of these compounds are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the chemical that induces marijuana’s “high” – and cannabidiol – a non-psychoactive compound which has been extensively studied as a cure for many diseases.

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These and other cannabinoids are what make marijuana such a potent anti-cancer treatment, as reported by Green Med Info:

Cannabinoids are found to exert their anti-cancer effects in a number of ways and in a variety of tissues.

  • Triggering cell death, through a mechanism called apoptosis
  • Stopping cells from dividing
  • Preventing new blood vessels from growing into tumors
  • Reducing the chances of cancer cells spreading through the body, by stopping cells from moving or invading neighboring tissue
  • Speeding up the cell’s internal ‘waste disposal machine’ – a process known as autophagy – which can lead to cell death

All these effects are thought to be caused by cannabinoids locking onto the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. Almost daily we are seeing new or confirming evidence that Cannibinoids can be used to great benefit in cancer treatment of many types.

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What the science says

Scientific studies published in a host of peer-reviewed journals have confirmed marijuana’s powerful ability to fight breast, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate and other cancers.

A meta-analysis of over 100 published studies, performed by researchers from Germany’s Rostock University Medical Centre, concluded that cannabis both boosts immunity and fights cancer.

The Daily Mail reported:

Scientists are calling for more studies to be done on humans after studying the cancer-fighting effects of chemicals in the drug.

Studies suggest chemicals called phytocannabinoids could stop cancer cells multiplying and spreading, block the blood supply to tumors, and reduce cancer’s ability to survive chemotherapy. …

The new research review admits cannabis has ‘anti-cancer effects’ and says more research needs to be done in real patients to confirm the findings.

It takes real courage to receive a cancer diagnosis and decide not to follow mainstream advice but seek alternative treatments. But even for those who choose to receive conventional cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy, cannabis can still be an important part of their overall wellness plan. As Dr. Sircus admonishes, “Every cancer patient and every oncologist should put medical marijuana on their treatment maps.”

Here’s what research shows about the mental health benefits of ginger


Image: Here’s what research shows about the mental health benefits of ginger

Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory that also offers other health benefits. In fact, the versatile plant can even help boost your mental health.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) comes from the rhizome or root of a flowering plant native to China, but the spice can grow in any area that is warm and humid. Aside from its use as a natural remedy for digestive disorders, ginger can also be used to address arthritis, memory loss and dementia, and muscle aches and pains.

Thanks to scientific research, experts are beginning to understand how ginger works. To date, research has identified over 100 compounds in ginger. More than 50 of these are antioxidants, which is crucial to brain health since the organ is vulnerable to free radical damage.

Ginger is often used as an anti-inflammatory, making it a popular natural remedy for arthritis. The plant’s anti-inflammatory property can also help people with brain disorders like ADHD, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, brain fog, and depression, which are often associated with chronic inflammation of the brain. Experts believe that ginger’s anti-inflammatory effects on the brain are due to two unique compounds called 6-shogaol and 10-gingerol.

Like the Indian spice turmeric, ginger also has a compound called curcumin. This compound is a natural antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral. Curcumin is a potent herbal brain supplement ingredient that can help address anxiety, brain aging, depression, and neurodegenerative diseases. (Related: What Happens To Your Body When You Start Eating Ginger Every Day.)

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Ginger for brain health

Your body is constantly under attack from oxidative stress. Oxygen in the body splits into single atoms with unpaired electrons, and electrons can often be found in pairs. These atoms, called free radicals, scavenge the body to find other electrons so they can become a pair. When these atoms are paired, they cause damage to cells, DNA, and proteins. Studies show that free radicals are linked to diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, cancer, and Parkinson’s, among others.

Your brain is prone to free radical damage since it requires a lot of oxygen. Free radicals are caused by common factors like:

  • Air pollution
  • Fried food
  • Grilled meat
  • Lack of sleep
  • Radiation from your mobile phone and computer
  • Stress

Antioxidants in ginger can also protect the brain from further damage and memory loss after a stroke.

Ginger increases the level of two of the most important brain chemicals: dopamine and serotonin. Depression is strongly associated with deficient levels of both chemicals.

Dopamine is called the “motivation molecule” because it helps you focus and be productive. Dopamine is also in charge of your pleasure-reward system. Meanwhile, serotonin is known as the “happiness molecule” because it helps sustain a positive mood.

The spice is traditionally used to treat memory loss and dementia and research has determined that ginger can help improve other cognitive functions besides memory. According to a study, healthy adults given dried ginger supplements showed improvements in attention, reaction time, and working memory.

People with diabetes also rely on ginger as a natural remedy because it can help control blood sugar, especially if you are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Ginger has antioxidants called gingerols that enhance insulin sensitivity and prevent certain neurological diabetic complications.

Ginger is an effective remedy that can minimize the pain of migraine headaches. The spice has similar effects to sumatriptan, a commonly prescribed migraine drug that narrows blood vessels to the brain. But unlike sumatriptan, which is associated with negative side effects, ginger can relieve migraines without any side effects.

Suggested ginger dosages

Ginger, which comes in many forms, can be used as a food and as a supplement. Ginger supplements are available as capsules, crystals, essential oils, extracts, loose powder, and tinctures.

A typical dose of ginger is one gram, and the best way to ingest this dose is by taking two ginger capsules. Most supplements contain at 500 milligrams (mg) per capsule.

Below are some ginger dosage equivalents:

  • One teaspoon of fresh, grated ginger root
  • Two droppers (or two milliliters [ml]) of liquid ginger extract
  • Two pieces of crystallized ginger (about a one-inch square and 1/4 inch thick for each piece)
  • Four cups of ginger tea (Make the tea by steeping two teaspoons of grated ginger in 32 ounces of water for five to 10 minutes.)

Possible ginger side effects and interactions

When consumed as a food, especially fresh, ginger is considered very safe with little to no side effects. However, when too much ginger is consumed in other forms, especially powdered ginger, it may cause side effects such as bloating, gas, heartburn, and nausea.

Ginger also functions as a blood thinner. Avoid taking it as a supplement if you take blood-thinning medication such as warfarin. If you take diabetes or high blood pressure medications, talk to a healthcare professional to determine adjustments to your medication if you want to take supplemental ginger.

Ginger is a versatile herbal remedy that can help relieve digestive upset, and it also offers various benefits for brain health and function. Add fresh ginger to your diet or take it as a supplement to enjoy its many benefits and improve both your physical and mental well-being.

Visit Healing.news to read more articles about ginger and other natural cures that can help improve your mental health.

Sources include:

BeBrainFit.com

LiveScience.com

Scientists study Canadian medicinal plants to explore natural cures for diabetes


Image: Scientists study Canadian medicinal plants to explore natural cures for diabetes

Diabetes is a complex disease that leads to a wide variety of complications, one of the most common of which is diabetic nephropathy (DN) or kidney damage. A team of researchers from Canada sought to identify natural extracts, found in the eastern James Bay area, with potent anti-apoptotic properties that can prevent kidney cell death characteristic of DN. Their study was published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

When it was first recorded in ancient Egypt, diabetes was considered mainly a rare disease. Today, it has exploded into a worldwide epidemic, with about 422 million sufferers on the planet in 2014. The prevalence of the disease is known to be spreading steadily, particularly in mid- to low-income countries.

One of the most dangerous complications of diabetes is DN, which is usually a precursor to kidney failure when left unaddressed. It is just one of the many results of the abnormal apoptotic process that occurs as a result of diabetes.

Apoptosis or cellular death is a natural process that’s essential to the continued balance of the human body. Because of it, old, dysfunctional cells are replaced by new ones. A proof of its importance is how its absence can cause the development of severe diseases, such as cancer.

But as with everything, too much apoptosis is hardly a good thing. In diabetes, the cells go through apoptosis at an abnormal rate. It usually starts with the death of the pancreatic beta cells, the cells responsible for producing the hormone insulin. The insufficiency in insulin results in a jump in blood glucose levels, which leads to more cellular death. Apart from kidney cells, those in the liver and the nervous system are also at a considerable risk.

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DN is one of the most common offshoots of diabetes among the people of the Cree nation in Canada, according to the study’s authors. This has prompted them to look into potential natural treatments that are readily available in the area. They compiled a list of 17 plant species:

  • Balsam fir – Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.
  • Speckled alder – Alnus incana subsp. rugosa (Du Roi) R.T. Clausen
  • Creeping snowberry – Gaultheria hispidula (L.) Muhl.
  • Ground juniper – Juniperus communis L.
  • Sheep Laurel – Kalmia angustifolia L.
  • Tamarack – Larix laricina Du Roi (K. Koch)
  • Common clubmoss – Lycopodium clavatum L.
  • White spruce – Picea glauca (Moench) Voss
  • Black spruce – Picea mariana (P. Mill.) BSP
  • Jack pine – Pinus banksiana Lamb.
  • Balsam poplar – Populus balsamifera L.
  • Labrador tea – Rhododendron groenlandicum (Oeder) Kron and Judd
  • Northern Labrador tea – Rhododendron tomentosum (Stokes) Harmaja subsp. subarcticum (Harmaja) G. Wallace
  • Tealeaf willow – Salix planifolia Pursh
  • Pitcher plant – Sarracenia purpurea L.
  • Showy mountain ash – Sorbus decora (Sarg.) C.K. Schneid.
  • Mountain cranberry – Vaccinium vitis-idaea L.

Extracts were obtained from specific parts of the different plants. The researchers then took cultures of Madin-Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cells, which are cells from a cocker spaniel that are used for biological studies involving the kidneys. They induced damage on the MDCK cells by the administration of a hypertonic medium. This particular step was performed in the presence or absence of each of the 17 plant extracts’ maximal nontoxic concentrations. After 18 hours of treatment, the cells were examined to determine the cytoprotective and anti-apoptotic effects of the extracts. The researchers then looked at the effect of the treatment on the activity of caspases-3, -8, and -9, all of which play an important role in apoptosis.

After the test, the researchers identified Gaultheria hispidula and Abies balsamea as having the most potent cytoprotective and anti-apoptotic effects. The said extracts prevented apoptosis by blocking the activity of caspase-9 in the mitochondrial apoptotic signaling pathway.

Here are some natural interventions that slow down (and sometimes even reverse) cataracts


Image: Here are some natural interventions that slow down (and sometimes even reverse) cataracts

Regardless of your actual age, your eyes are often the last thing that stays young. However, this is only possible if you regularly follow a healthy diet.

Preventing and reversing cataracts

While cataracts are linked to poorer eyesight and even blindness, they are believed to be an inevitable part of aging. However, certain modifiable risk factors and natural interventions may help slow and even reverse this condition.

  1. Curcumin (turmeric extract) – There is significant data that confirms the health benefits of curcumin in the animal model of cataract formation. Study data revealed that curcumin, a highly therapeutic polyphenol that’s responsible for turmeric’s bright yellow color, can help prevent the formation of cataracts.
  2. Don’t use cholesterol-lowering statin drugs – For more than 20 years, data from animal research has determined that statin drugs are linked to cataracts. In the post-marketing surveillance of statin drug users, findings have shown that when taken, “either alone or in combination with other drugs which inhibit their metabolism,” the drugs increase the risk of cataracts in individuals who take them. An identified mechanism for the cataractogenic potential of these drugs is the fact that they can gain systemic distribution in the body, which happens when they pass through the blood-brain-barrier and enter the eye itself, specifically, the outer cortical region of the lens where cholesterol synthesis is critical. This mechanism is responsible for the damage in the lens. (Related: 8 Eye issues you can’t afford to ignore.)
  3. Lutein – According to a two-year double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study, lutein can help improve visual function in individuals with age-related cataracts. Sources of lutein include egg yolks, kale, and marigold.
  4. Wheatgrass – Data from a 2005 study, which was titled “Aging reversibility: from thymus graft to vegetable extract treatment — application to cure an age-associated pathology” and published in the journal Biogerontology, wheatgrass can potentially reverse lens opacity linked to cataracts. Researchers explained that for the study, the lens opacity of old dogs who received oral dosages of wheatgrass for one month was measured before and after the treatment. The results revealed that there was a 25 to 40 percent reduction of lens opacity. The study authors posited that the wheat sprouts can help in “the recovery of age-related alterations and in treating age-associated pathologies” because they contain “regulatory acid peptides, a remarkable level of highly energetic phosphoric radicals and antioxidant molecules. These compounds in wheatgrass can potentially help reduce lens opacity.

What are cataracts?

Cataracts are dense and cloudy areas that can form in the lens of your eye. A cataract often develops when proteins in your eye form clumps that prevent the lens from sending clear images to your retina.

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The retina works by turning the light that comes through the lens into signals. The signals are then sent to the optic nerve, which is finally sent to the brain.

A cataract forms slowly and in time, it will interfere with your vision. You might get cataracts in both eyes, but they rarely form simultaneously.

Older people often develop cataracts. The National Eye Institute reports that more than 50 percent of individuals in the U.S. have cataracts or have undergone cataract surgery the moment they turn 80 years old.

Some common symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Double vision in the affected eye
  • Frequently needing changes in prescription glasses
  • Halos surrounding lights
  • Increased sensitivity to glare
  • Trouble seeing at night

Some underlying causes of cataracts may include:

  • Certain diseases (e.g., diabetes)
  • The long-term use of steroids and other medications
  • Radiation therapy
  • Smoking
  • Trauma
  • Ultraviolet radiation

Don’t wait until your eyesight starts to worsen. Follow a healthy diet today to delay and maybe even reverse your cataracts.

Find more ways of taking care of your eyes naturally at Healing.news.

Sources include:

GreenMedInfo.com

Healthline.com