Research and Resources

Links and Resources:
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine, Diet and Nutrition, Daoism, Women’s Health, Pediatrics, Health and the Environment

Research Articles and Abstracts:
Gynecology, Fertility, Pregnancy, Digestive Issues, Dermatology, Immunity, Cardiovascular, Neuromusculoskelatal, Diet and Nutrition

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

Yin Yang House
Very good information on Chinese medical theory, including yin and yang, qi and blood, meridian systems, and acupuncture point discussion, as well as a Chinese herb database with Chinese and botanical names, and herb functions.

Sacred Lotus
Excellent site for acupuncture and herbal medicine theory and diagnosis, articles and links for information on special topics, and database for referencing Chinese herbs and formulas.

TCM Health Info
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine database with detailed information on herb formulas with ingredients listed in pinyin and botanical names, WHO (World Health Organization) reports on acupuncture research.

Gluten Intolerance Group
A comprehensive resources with detailed information on many aspects of gluten-free (GF)diet, health and nutrition, including GF labeling and and interactive GF guide.

The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen
A great website for information and tips on whole foods diet, elimination diets, and going gluten free, with a useful blog by the authors of the fabulous book “The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook”.

Elana’s Pantry
Extensive collection of recipes (with photos) for a variety of special diets: paleo, candida, gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free, dairy-free, nut-free”, by the Elana Amsterdam, the author of 3 best selling cookbooks.

Dao House
A wide range of great resources on Daoism (Taoism), including Daoist history, philosophy. poetry. literature, yijing, feng shui, and more.

Yijing Dao
Introduction and links for resources on Yijing (I Ching).

Dr. Susan Ott: Osteoporosis and Bone Physiology
Great educational website by Dr. Susan Ott (University of Washington) gives a detailed explanation of osteoporosis and osteopenia, prevention and treatment options from a Western medicine point of view, and clear discussion of pros and cons of drug and nutritional treatment approaches.

Resolve: The National Infertility Association
Links and resources for fertility issues, with information on the Resolve national network, sponsored events, and support groups around the country.

Fertility Friend
Very popular site for free interactive ovulation charting and course on chart analysis, with handbook on fertility, hormones, and BBT chart interpretation available for free download.

Childbirth Solutions
Wonderful resource for information and online classes on many aspects of fertility, pregnancy, birth and postpartum issues, including online childbirth classes.

Debra Betts: Acupressure for Labor
Excellent booklet by Debra Betts, available for free download, with detailed instructions and point location diagrams for using acupressure during labor

LaLeche League
Offering information and encouragement to all mothers who want to breastfeed their babies, and a support system to help parents understand how to best care for their infants and children.

National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC)
Dedicated to the prevention of vaccine injuries and deaths through public education, providing assistance to parents whose children have suffered vaccine reactions, promoting research to evaluate vaccine safety, effectiveness and factors which causing high risk for vaccine reactions.

Birthing the Future
Promoting the well-being of mothers and babies by supporting their physical, psychological and spiritual health and the development of their full potential, in the context of family, community and society.

Kids With Food Allergies
Helping to enhance the quality of life for children with food allergies by providing peer support, news, cooking help, tips and practical resources for families.

Bioneers
An innovative nonprofit educational organization that highlights breakthrough solutions for restoring people and planet, and honors indigenous knowledge, restorative food systems, resilient communities, and women and youth leadership.

The Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE)
A group of organizations and individuals dedicated to advancing knowledge and effective action to address the link between human health and environmental factors, including information from special working groups on breast cancer, infertility, women’s health, asthma, Parkinson’s, electromagnetic fields, learning disabilities, and more.

The Green Guide
National Geographic’s site for useful information on green living and buying guides to help consumers make healthy choices for themselves and the planet.

Environmental Working Group
Extensive research and news on chemicals, toxins, natural resources, and energy use, exposing health threats and discussing solutions.

The Story of Bottled Water
Story of Stuff Project presents how “manufactured demand” pushes what we don’t need and destroys what we need most, exploring how the bottled water industry’s attacks on tap water cover up the mountains of plastic waste it produces.

The Story of Cosmetics
Story of Stuff Project examines the pervasive use of toxic chemicals in our everyday personal care products, from lipstick to baby shampoo, and ways we can move the industry away from hazardous chemicals and towards safer alternatives.

 

Gynecology

1) Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a common, painful and debilitating gynaecological condition that may affect as many as 10% of women of reproductive age. Conventional treatment often leads to only short term benefits and may have significant side effects. Clinical experience , together with research from China, strongly suggests that Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) can make a real contribution to an improved management of this condition.

It occurs when endometrial cells which are normally found lining the inside of the uterus occur in other locations-most commonly in the pelvic cavity but sometimes as far a field as the lungs and even the brain. If these cells implant in the ovaries then they give rise to the classic endometrial or chocolate cysts. At other sites they form deposits of hormonally responsive endometrial cells that can damage local tissue and organs by applying direct pressure, by forming sticky adhesions, or by causing a destructive local inflammatory response.

As a consequence of these changes women with endometriosis frequently suffer conditions such as:

  • Painful periods
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain on intercourse
  • Painful on urination or bowel movements
  • Autoimmune and allergic disorders
  • Infertility-with up to 30% of women with endometriosis having difficulties in conceiving

There is still no generally agreed explanation for what causes endometriosis. Early explanations proposed that retrograde menstruation led to endometrial cells entering the pelvic cavity but as around 90% of women demonstrate some degree of this phenomena, it is clear that endometriosis is a complex condition which probably involves genetic, immunological, environmental and psychological factors.

Conventional Treatment of Endometriosis

The treatment of endometriosis can be broadly divided into medical and surgical management. Medical treatment ranges from symptomatic control with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and analgesics, through to treatments that aim to suppress the normal ovarian production of oestrogen by either hormonally simulating pregnancy (continuous oral contraceptives and progestins) or menopause (danazol and gonadotrophin-releasing hormone agonists. Surgical intervention can be either conservative, involving the removal of endometrial lesions or the severing of the nerve pathways responsible for the transmission of pelvic and uterine pain; or definitive, involving the removal of the uterus and ovaries.

Medical Management

Danazol, Progestins and the COC have comparable short term rates of success in alleviating the symptoms of endometriosis and in partially reducing the size of endometriosis related lesions. Unfortunately the benefits are poorly sustained over time with studies frequently reporting a high level of returning symptoms at 6 months post treatment and even studies with more positive findings commonly demonstrate a return of symptoms in over a third of the women who took part 2-3 years after stopping treatment.
These treatments also have unpleasant side effects including menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and osteoporosis, acne, weight gain. There may also be more serious side effects such as an increased risk of stroke from COC and progestin use.

Surgical Management

There is no doubt that surgery can lead to significant symptomatic relief from the symptoms of endometriosis however these benefits are often short lived with symptoms commonly reoccurring in up to 75% of women within 2 years of surgery. Surgery is also associated with potentially serious side effects with, for example, perforations of the bowel occurring in around 2-3% of operations. There is a general consensus that, despite the ability of surgery and drug therapies to provide short-term relief from the symptoms of endometriosis, the long-term management of this condition is still far from satisfactory.

Chinese Medicine and Endometriosis

Endometriosis is understood in Chinese medicine as being a manifestation of Qi (vital energy) and Blood stagnation. There are different sub-types of endometriosis that are determined according to an analysis of the presenting signs and symptoms. It is very common, for example, for patterns of stagnation to exist upon a background of deficiency and in practice it is important to address both aspects to optimise treatment benefits.

There have been many studies investigating the role of Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of endometriosis. Most trials are simple observational studies such as one reporting the treatment of 56 patients with endometriosis (Xi Jian Zhong Yi Za Zhi 1996;5:209-210) over a 3 month period. At the end of the trial period pain had improved in 94% of the group and pelvic pain in 92%.

A useful summary of 10 clinical trials conducted in China over the past 20 years reports very positive findings (Dharmanada S (2002) Chinese herbal therapy for endometriosis). Of the 900 women treated in a series of studies, 88% reported significant relief from their endometriosis symptoms.

Other studies compare the effect of using Chinese herbs with conventional treatments.
A study in the Liaon Ning Journal of TCM (2004;4:315-316) compared 46 women using the hormonal treatment Danazol with an equivalent group using only Chinese herbs. In the Danazol group after 6 months of treatment 60% of the women reported effective treatment compared to 87% of the herbal group. Another study (reported in Xin Zhong Yi 2005;7:19-20) compared women having only surgical intervention with women having either hormonal treatment or hormonal treatment with Chinese herbs. After 2 years only 30% of the surgical group were pain free and 62.5% of the hormonal group, compared to 84% of those who combined Western and Chinese medicines.

Although research from China tends to lack rigorous research methodology, there is a significant weight of evidence suggesting that Chinese herbs may have an extremely useful role to play in the management of endometriosis.

2)  Chinese Herbs for Endometriosis may have comparable benefits with fewer side effects than conventional drug treatment

28 September 2009

Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) may relieve symptoms in the treatment of endometriosis, according to a study published today. A systematic review by researchers at the University of Southampton found some evidence that women had comparable benefits following laparoscopic surgery and suffered fewer adverse effects if they were given Chinese herbs compared with conventional drug treatments.

Endometriosis is a gynaecological disorder affecting as many as one in six women of reproductive age. It can cause pelvis pain, irregular and painful periods, and infertility. Surgical treatments do not always lead to long-term improvement in symptoms and drug treatments can have unpleasant side effects such as hot flushes, acne and weight gain.

The researchers conducted the first English language systematic review of CHM for treatment of endometriosis. Two trials, which focused on a total of 158 women, were included in the review. In one trial, CHM provided symptomatic relief comparable to that provided by the hormonal drug gestrinone, but with fewer side effects. In the other trail, CHM was more effective than the hormonal drug danazol, and also resulted in fewer side effects.

“These findings suggest that Chinese herbs may be just as effective as certain conventional drug treatments for women suffering from endometriosis, but at present we don’t have enough evidence to generalize the results,” says lead researcher Andrew Flower of the Complementary Medicine Research Unit at the University of Southampton.

The research was conducted in partnership with the Cochrane Centre of Beijing, China and published today by the Cochrane Library.

3) Endometriosis and Chinese Herbal Medicine

6 May 2008

(1) A study from Beijing compared three treatment methods to find the most effective treatment for endometrial ovarian cysts. 152 patients with endometrial ovarian cysts were divided into three groups: an integrated laparoscopy and Chinese herbal medicine (combination group), a Chinese herbal medicine group, and a Danazol group. The clinical efficacy, side-effects and reproductive hormones were compared. The shrinking rate and disappearance rate of the cysts were highest in the combination group as was the pregnancy rate. Few side effects were noticed in the combination and Chinese herbal medicine group. The authors conclude that combining laparoscopy with Chinese herbal medicine is an effective treatment for endometrial ovarian cysts with minimal side effects and a maximal preservation of the reproductive function.
Wu Y, Hua L, Jin Y [Clinical study on endometrial ovarian cyst treated by integrated laparoscopy and Chinese herbal medicine] Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2000 Mar; 20 (3):183-6.

(2) A study was carried out in Shanghai to explore the mechanism of treating endometriosis by tonifying Kidney and removing blood stasis with Neiyixiao Recipe (NYXR). METHODS: One hundred and three patients with endometriosis were divided randomly into the NYXR group (58 cases, treated with NYXR) and the control group (45 cases, treated with danazol) and were reviewed for the improvement of clinical symptoms, serum level of FSH, LH, PRL, E2, P and T, humoral and cellular immunity (C3, C4, CD3, CD4, CD8), and plasma prostaglandin after treatment. RESULTS: There was no significant difference in effect between the NYXR group and the control group in relief of dysmenorrhea and degradation of elevated plasma prostaglandin (chi 2 = 0.71, P > 0.05). But there was significant difference between the two groups in curing infertility (chi 2 = 14.77, P < 0.01), and the effect of NYXR in regulating endocrine and immunity was significantly better than that of danazol. The authors conclude that by tonifying Kidney and removing blood stasis, Chinese herbal medicine is an effective method for the treatment of endometriosis, simultaneously maintaining and improving fertility.
Liu J, Li X, Hu X. [Clinical observations on treatment of endometriosis by tonifying kidney and removing blood stasis] Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 1998 Mar;18 (3):145-7.

(3) A study in Shanghai tested the therapeutic mechanism of endometriosis by the treatment of Yiqi Huoxue Huayu Tongfu Principle (YQHXHYTFP, tonifying Qi and promoting blood circulation to remove stasis and purgation therapy) with Neiyi 1+ pill. METHODS: Forty-five cases with endometriosis were divided randomly into TCM group (30 cases, treated with Neiyi 1+ pill) and the control group (15 cases, treated with tamoxifen). The activity of natural killer cell of peripheral blood, T lymphocyte subsets, secreting interleukin-II and the EmAb were determined. RESULTS: Endometriosis is associated with immunologic disturbance. After treatment, the activity of NK cells and the count of T-suppressor cells were significantly increased (P < 0.01), the count of T-helper cells, the secretion of interleukin-II and TH/TS ratio were significantly reduced (P < 0.01). Over 50% of the cases whose EmAb was positive eventually turned to negative. The effective rate of this therapy was 90%. There was no significant difference between TCM group and the control group. CONCLUSION: Chinese herbal medicine could modulate the immunologic disturbance in women with endometriosis, and could clearly improve clinical symptoms and signs.
Li J, Zheng J, Wang D. [Clinical observation on treatment of endometriosis by tonifying qi and promoting blood circulation to remove stasis and purgation principle] Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 1999 Sep; 19 (9):533-5.

(4) A study in Kunmin aimed to find a medicine that treats endometriosis effectively with less side-effects. METHODS: A Chinese herbal prescription [Dan’e mixture] (DEM, consists of Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae and Rhizoma Zedoariae) was used to treat 189 cases of endometriosis and the change of symptom and sign, the B ultrasonograph, the anti-endometrium antibody and endometriosis quantitative diagnostic index were observed. Another 160 cases were treated with Danazol as control. RESULTS: One hundred and eighty-nine cases were treated for 9 months. According to National Standards, 39 cases (20.6%) were cured, 67 cases (35.4%) were markedly effective, 67 cases (35.4%) were effective, and 16 cases (8.4%) were ineffective. Compared with 160 cases treated with Danazol for 9 months, the total effective rates were 95% and 91.5% respectively, the difference between them was insignificant. Animal experiments showed similar results to the clinical ones. CONCLUSION: The authors conclude that the Chinese herbal prescription is as effective as Danazol for the treatment of endometriosis, without observed side effects. It is particularly helpful for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of endometriosis in the early stage.
Cai L, Shu Y, Xie H. [Clinical and experimental study on the treatment of endometriosis with dan’e mixture] Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 1999 Mar;19 (3):159-61.

(5) Another study from Shanghai observed the clinical effectiveness of Chinese herbal medicine on endometriosis and the uterine arterial blood flow. The study group consisted of 53 women with endometriosis who manifested with dysmenorrhea, menoxenia, ovarian chocolate cysts and enlarged uterus. The control group consisted of ten women with normal regular menstrual cycle. This article deals with the method of using the hemodynamic index of uterus arterial blood flow. After treatment the blood flow amount of uterus arteries of 53 cases (study group) obviously decreased and their uterus arterial blood flow speed reduced markedly as compared with pre-treatment status, (P < 0.001 and P < 0.01 respectively), while pre-treatment group was significantly higher than that of control group (P < 0.001). After medical treatment for 3.5 months, symptoms such as dysmenorrheao (period pain) and menstrual disorder basically disappeared. 22 ovarian chocolate cysts became smaller and 16 disappeared. The pregnancy rate was 45%. The data of this study suggest that the mechanism of treatment of promoting blood circulation to remove stasis might be closely related to the regulation of physico-chemical characteristics of blood and the adjustment of hemodynamics.
Zhu WX, Cheng XA. [Clinical study of the treatment of endometriosis with promoting blood circulation and stasis removing method] Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 1993 Jan;13 (1):16-8, 4.

4) Chinese Herbal Medicine and Ovarian Dysfunction (PCOS)

23 April 2008

(1) The effectiveness of a Chinese formula called “Tian gui fang’ in comparison with metformin was tested on patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome [PCOS]. The patients were divided into two groups and either Tian gui fang or metformin was administered for three months. After treatment, 4 out of the 8 patients on metformin had restoration of menstrual cyclicity, and two of them had a double phase BBT. The testosterone levels had decreased. No other measures changed. In the group that received the Chinese medicine, 6 patients out of 8 had a restored cycle as well as a double phase BBT. Testosterone and the body mass index (BMI) decreased significantly. The authors conclude that both therapies can induce ovulation but that Chinese herbal medicine has a higher efficacy in restoring ovulation and normal BBT measures.
Hou J, Yu J, Wei M. “[Study on treatment of hyperandrogenism and hyperinsulinism in polycystic ovary syndrome with chinese herbal formula “tian gui fang]’. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Jie he Za Zhi. 2000; 20 (8):589.

(2) The effectiveness of a Chinese herbal formulary was tested on patients with high LH levels due to polycystic ovary syndrome. Eight weeks of treatment with Chinese herbal medicine significantly reduced plasma LH.
Ushiroyama T, Ikeda A, Sakai M, Hosotani T, Suzuki Y, Tsubokura S, Ueki M. “Effects of unkei-to, an herbal medicine, on endocrine function and ovulation in women with high basal levels of luteinizing hormone secretion.’ J Reprod Med. 2001 May; 46(5):451-6.

(3) In Japan, a Chinese herbal formulary was tested on patients with polycystic ovarian disease [PCOD] to find an effective treatment without side effects that could be used instead of clomiphene citrate or gonadotropin therapy. After a course of treatment, the FSH/ LH ratio had significantly decreased, and the ovulatory rate was 70.6%. Serum testosterone did not change during treatment. The authors conclude that the Chinese formula may be useful for the treatment of anovulation in PCOS patients.
Sakai A, Kondo Z, Kamei K, Izumi S, Sumi K. “Induction of ovulation by Sairei-to for polycystic ovary syndrome patients.’ Endocr J. 1999 Feb; 46(1):217-20.

(4) A case study from Taiwan discusses the effectivetreatment of premature ovarian failure using Chinese herbal medicine. Clomiphene citrate therapy over 8 months had not changed the FSH and LH levels from the postmenopausal range. A course of 4 months treatmentwith Chinese herbal medicine based on Zuo gui wan induced an ovulation, and the patient fell pregnant. The authors conclude that Chinese herbal medicine can restore ovarian function effectively and promptly andoffers another option for treating infertility in patients withpremature ovarian failure. Chao SL, Huang LW, Yen HR. “Pregnancy in premature ovarianfailure after therapy using Chinese herbal medicine. A case study.’Chang Gung Medical Journal 2003 Jun; 26(6): 449-52.

(5) At Shanghai medical university, the effectiveness ofChinese medical herbs from the category of yin supplementing weretested on 35 patients with polycystic anovulation. The patients were treated for three months, and a variety of tests were carried outbefore and after the course of treatment. Testosterone levels lowered significantly. In 59.7% of patients and a regular cycle was restablished. 41.2% of women became pregnant. The authors conclude that Kidney Yin nourishing herbs could provide a good microcircumstance forovarian follicular growth, which results in ovulation and pregnancy.
Zhou LR, Yu J. [Clinical observation on treatment ofhyperinsulinemia and hyperandrogenism anovulatory patient withreplenishing kidney-yin drugs] Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 1996Sep; 16(9): 515-8.

(6) Hachimijiogan, a Chinese herbal formulary (Liu wei dihuang wan + rou gui, yin yang huo, huang qi), was shown in one study to benefit female infertility due to pituitary dysfunction. Two infertile women (one with and one without a pituitary adenoma) who were resistant to medical treatment, were given Hachimijiogan which subsequently reduced the serum prolactin level, and resulted in a normal ovulatory cycle and pregnancy, without side effects.
Usuki S; Kubota S; Usuki Y. Treatment with hachimijiogan, anon-ergot Chinese herbal medicine, in two hyperprolactinemic infertilewomen’. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 1989, 68 (5) p475-8.

(7) In another study looking at pituitary dysfunction causinginfertility, 27 women were given the same formulae as discussed above.6 of the women had amenorrhea. In 15 patients, the prolactin levelsdropped to a healthy range, and remained low 6 months after the courseof treatment. Four patients with amenorrhea ovulated. Eleven patientsconceived and delivered a healthy baby. In three women, the prolactinlevel did not lower. The authors conclude that a modification of Liuwei di huang wan can be a safe and effective treatment for hyperprolactinemic women.
Usuki S, Usuki Y. “Hachimijiogan treatment is effective in themanagement of infertile women with hyperprolactaemia orbromocriptine-resistant hyperprolactaemia.’ American Journal of ChineseMedicine 1989; 17 (3-4):225-41.

(8) In one study of female infertility, 53 patients withluteal phase defect (LPD) were treated with different Chinese medicinalherbs at different phases of menstrual cycle. The patients were treatedfor three menstrual cycles and there was significant improvement in theluteal phase of endometrium, and a tendency for normalization of thewave forms and its amplitude after the treatment. The findings suggested that Chinese herbal medicines are capable of replenishing the Kidney and regulate the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis and thus improve the luteal function. Among the 53 cases, 22 (41.5%) conceivedbut 68.18% of them required other measures to preserve the pregnancy.
Zhang HY; Yu XZ; Wang GL Preliminary report of the treatment ofluteal phase defect by replenishing kidney. An analysis of 53 cases.Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za zhi Aug 1992, 12 (8) p473-4, 452-3.

(9) Women with normal menstrual cycles but low basal body temperature and progesterone levels (luteal insufficiency) were effectively treated with a Chinese herbal formulary called Dang guishao yao tang, with no observed side effects.
Usuki S, Higa TN, Soreya K. “The improvement of lutealinsufficiency in fecund women by tokishakuyakusan treatment’. Am J ChinMed. 2002; 30(2-3):327-38. 

5) Chinese Herbs relieve Menstrual Pain better than Drugs or Acupuncture

23 April 2008

Wednesday, April 09, 2008 by: Mike Adams
Chinese herbal medicine appears to be more effective at relieving menstrual cramps and pain than pharmaceutical drugs, acupuncture or heat compression therapy, according to a new study conducted by Australian researchers and published in the journal Cochrane Library.

“All available measures of effectiveness confirmed the overall superiority of Chinese herbal medicine to placebo, no treatment, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, oral contraceptive pills, acupuncture and heat compression,” said lead researcher Xiaoshu Zhu, from the Center for Complementary Medicine Research at the University of Western Sydney.

Researchers conducted an analysis of data from 39 different randomized, controlled trials that involved a total of 3,475 women. Women in these trials were given traditional Chinese herbs including cinnamon bark (rougui), Chinese angelica root (danggui), fennel fruit (huixiang), licorice root (gancao), Szechuan lovage root (chuanxiong), Chinese motherwort (yimucao), nut-grass rhizome (xiangfu), red peony root (chishao) and white peony root (baishao). The treatments were carried out in a traditional way to regulate energy (qi) and blood, warm the body and improve liver and kidney functioning.

The researchers found that Chinese herbal treatments led to a significant reduction in the symptoms of menstrual cramps, and that the degree of pain reduction was higher than that from other treatments. In one study, 53 percent of women receiving Chinese herbal treatment reported decreased pain, in comparison with only 26 percent of the women receiving a placebo treatment.

Menstrual pain is estimated to affect up to 50 percent of women of reproductive age, and anywhere from 60 to 85 percent of teenagers. While some scientists believe that it is caused by a hormonal imbalance, there is still no scientific consensus on the cause.

The Journal of Chinese Medicine
22 Cromwell Road, Hove, East Sussex BN3 3EB, England
www.jcm.co.uk

Fertility

1) Hu Tao Ren – The Walnut and Sperm Health

23 November 2012

As the supermarkets start to put their festive Fruit & Nut selections out on the shelves, we take a closer look at Hu Tao Ren, the Walnut. Originally from the Middle East (Persia), the English name comes from the Germanic Old English wealhnutu, literally meaning foreign nut! The walnut is now found all over the world and has been used in TCM for many years.

The clue as to why it has been in the press recently is found in its botanical name, Semen Juglandis. A study published in the journal, ‘Biology of Reproduction’ found that, after twelve weeks, men who added a couple of handfuls of walnuts to their diet every day had better sperm shape, movement and vitality.

“The study involved 117 men between the ages of 21 and 35, who were divided into two groups. One group added 2.6 ounces (75 grams) of whole-shelled walnuts to their daily diet. The other group continued their usual diet but avoided eating tree nuts. Both groups ate a typical Western-style diet. Lead author, Prof Wendie Robbins from UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health said: “We found a significant improvement in sperm parameters in the group that consumed the walnuts. ” The men who ate no tree nuts saw no change.” Sperm quality improved in terms of concentration, vitality, movement, shape and chromosome abnormalities[i].”

In TCM Hu Tao Ren is used to tonify the kidneys and replenish the Jing, the Chinese word for ‘essence,’ specifically kidney essence. Jing is responsible for regeneration and reproduction. It regulates the body’s growth and development and works with Qi to help protect the body from harmful external factors.  “According to tradition, Jing is stored in the kidneys and is the most dense physical matter within the body (like Qi and Shen). It is said to be the material basis for the physical body and is yin in nature, which means it nourishes, fuels, and cools the body. Jing is also believed by some to be the carrier of our heritage (similar to DNA). Production of semen, in the man, and menstrual blood (or pregnancy), in the woman, are believed to place the biggest strains on jing.[ii]

Walnuts have many other uses in TCM, from treating weakness in the knees and lower back, coughs, and constipation to treating prematurely grey hair! Walnut oil can also be used externally for some skin conditions.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19254383

Pregnancy

1) Research into Recurrent Miscarriage and Chinese Herbal Medicine

29 April 2008

(1) The effect of Chinese herbal medicine in threatened miscarriage was observed in a study at Shanghai Gynaecology & Obstetrics Department of Shanghai Medical University. In 40 women with threatened abortion and a history of miscarriage, blood test showed threatened abortion (TA), compared to the blood test of normal pregnant women (The plasma beta-EP level in TA was significantly higher than that in normal pregnant women, P < 0.01. On the contrary, plasma GnRH, HCG and P4 were obviously lower in TA as compared with those of the normal cases, P < 0.01.) After treatment with Chinese herbal medicine that supported reproduction and blood circulation and protected the foetus, 36 of the 40 patients continued their pregnancy without symptoms of TA, and the above-mentioned four criteria measured at 10-12th week of gestation were similar to those of normal cases, P > 0.05. The authors concluded that Chinese herbal Medicine can regulate plasma beta-EP and placental endocrine function in threatened abortion in women with a history of recurrent miscarriage.
Sun F, Yu J. [Effect of TCM on plasma beta-endorphin and placental endocrine in threatened abortion] Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 1999 Feb; 19 (2):87-9.

(2) A study in Japan showed that recurrent miscarriages with an immunological component (rejection of the foetus as foreign) benefit positively to the treatment with Chinese herbal medicine. Twelve patients with recurrent abortion who had shown positive anti-phospholipid antibodies were treated through the administration of a Japanese modified traditional Chinese herbal medicine Sairei-To (Cai ling Tang). The patients had experienced a total of 27 spontaneous abortions in their previous pregnancies and had no other pregnancy history except for one patient. The patients were treated with 9.0 g of Sairei-To per day before their next pregnancy. The positive value of antiphospholipid antibodies returned to negative in 9 patients out of 12 patients through the treatment. Out of 12 patients, 10 patients continued their new pregnancy uneventfully, and they delivered an offspring (Success rate: 83.3%). Thus, the current treatment was considered to be an effective therapy for patients with recurrent abortion whose miscarriage is immune related (positive anti-phospholipid antibodies).
Takakuwa K, Yasuda M, Hataya I, Sekizuka N, Tamura M, Arakawa M, Higashino M, Hasegawa I, Tanaka K. Treatment for patients with recurrent abortion with positive antiphospholipid antibodies using a traditional Chinese herbal medicine. J Med. 1996; 24(5):489-94.

Digestive Issues

1) Herbal treatment of IBS

23 March 2009

Inflammatory bowel disease  or syndrome (IBD or IBS) affects the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract; the etiology is unknown and treatment is directed at systemic immunosuppression. Natural products, including medicinal herbs, have provided approximately half of the drugs developed for clinical use over the past 20 years.

The purpose of our current study was to determine the effects of a novel combination of herbal extracts on intestinal inflammation using a murine model of IBD. Female Swiss-Webster mice were randomized to receive normal water or 5% dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) drinking water to induce colitis. Mice were treated with either a novel combination of herbal aqueous extracts or vehicle control per os (po) or per rectum (pr) every 24 hours for 7-8 days. Disease activity index score (DAI) was determined daily; mice were sacrificed and colons were analyzed by H & E staining, MPO assay, and cytokine (TNF-alpha, IL-6) ELISAs.

Mice treated with the combination of herbal extracts, either po or pr, had significantly less rectal bleeding and lower DAI scores compared to the vehicle-treated group. Moreover, colonic ulceration, leukocytic infiltration, and cytokine levels (TNF-alpha and IL-6) were also decreased in the colons of herbal-treated mice, reflected by H & E staining, MPO assay, and cytokine ELISA. Treatment with the combination of medicinal herbs decreases leukocyte infiltration and mucosal ulceration, ameliorating the course of acute colonic inflammation. This herbal remedy may prove to be a novel and safe therapeutic alternative in the treatment of IBD.

Am J Chin Med. 2008;36(5):953-65.  Jackson LN, Zhou Y, Qiu S, Wang Q, Evers BM.

2) Chinese medicines as a resource for liver fibrosis treatment

https://cmjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1749-8546-4-16

27 January 2010

Liver fibrosis is a condition of abnormal proliferation of connective tissue due to various types of chronic liver injury often caused by viral infection and chemicals. Effective therapies against liver fibrosis are still limited. In this review, the authors focus on research on Chinese medicines against liver fibrosis in three categories, namely pure compounds, composite formulae and combination treatment using single compounds with composite formulae or conventional medicines. Action mechanisms of the anti-fibrosis Chinese medicines, clinical application, herbal adverse events and quality control are also reviewed. Evidence indicates that some Chinese medicines are clinically effective on liver fibrosis. Strict quality control such as research to identify and monitor the manufacturing of Chinese medicines enables reliable pharmacological, clinical and in-depth mechanism studies. Further experiments and clinical trials should be carried out on the platforms that conform to international standards.

The complete article is available as a provisional PDF. The fully formatted PDF and HTML versions are in production. www.cmjournal.org/content/4/1/16

 

Dermatology

1) Psoriasis Successfully Treated with Traditional Chinese Herb

7 March 2009

Clinical assessment of patients with recalcitrant psoriasis in a randomized, observer-
blind, vehicle-controlled trial using The Chinese Medicine Qing Dai (indigo naturalis).
Lin YK, Chang CJ, Chang YC, Wong WR, Chang SC, Pang JH.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of treatment with Qing Dai  in
patients with recalcitrant plaque-type psoriasis.

DESIGN: Randomized, observer-
blind, vehicle-controlled, intrapatient comparison study.

SETTING: Ambulatory department of a hospital.

PARTICIPANTS: Forty-two outpatients with chronic plaque psoriasis were enrolled in the study from May 1, 2004, to April 30, 2005.

INTERVENTION: The patients applied either Qing Dai  ointment or vehicle
ointment topically to each of 2 bilaterally symmetrical psoriatic plaque lesions for 12
weeks (depending on the date of enrollment in the study).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The outcomes were assessed using the following criteria: the sum of erythema, scaling, and induration scores and the clearing percentage of the target plaque lesion assessed by 2 blinded observers.

RESULTS: Significant reductions in the sum of scaling, erythema, and induration scores (P < .001) (mean score, 6.3 after Qing Dai  treatment vs 12.8 in control subjects) and plaque area percentage (P
< .001) (mean percentage, 38.5% after Qing Dai  treatment vs 90% in controls) were achieved with topical application of Qing Dai  ointment. Approximately 31 of 42 patients (74%) experienced clearance or near clearance of their psoriasis in the Qing Dai ointment-treated lesion.

CONCLUSION: Topical Qing Dai  ointment was a novel, safe, and effective therapy for plaque-type psoriasis.
Arch Dermatol. 2008 Nov;144(11):1457-64.

2) Treatment of Severe Atopic Eczema

23 April 2008

(1) First Trial: A report in the British Journal of Dermatology (1) reveals that Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine has been shown to be extremely effective in the treatment of severe cases of atopic eczema.
A controlled study carried out at the Department of Dermatology, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children, U.K. proves what has been know for a long time by practitioners of Chinese medicine: Chinese herbal medicine has a major role to play in treating moderate and severe cases of atopic eczema (the most common form of eczema to afflict children and adults).
The researchers acknowledged that severe and widespread atopic eczema often fails to respond adequately to conventional treatments and, after observing substantial benefit in patients receiving daily decoctions of traditional Chinese medicinal plants, they decided to undertake a placebo-controlled double-blind trial.
A specific prescription of Chinese herbs was specially formulated for widespread non-exudative atopic eczema. Forty seven children were randomly selected to receive the Chinese herbal formula or a placebo (medicine that has no effect on the disease) for 8 weeks, with an intervening 4-week wash-out period.
Thirty-seven children completed the treatment. The response to the treatment was significantly greater than the response to placebo, and was judged by the researchers to be clinically valuable. There was no evidence of haematological, renal or hepatic toxicity in any of the children who participated in the study and the researchers predicted that there would be considerable therapeutic potential for traditional Chinese medicinal plants, not only in the treatment of eczema, but also for other skin diseases.

The same researchers were so impressed with the results of the 8 week study that they went on to do a longer term investigation, analysing the results of 37 children who were suffering from severe atopic eczema. This study conducted over a one year period found that 49% of the children experienced at least 90% reduction in the severity of their eczema. The study was repeated this time on adults with severe atopic eczema (2) when equally impressive results were achieved.

These studies demonstrated that Chinese medicine is a valid therapeutic option available in the treatment of childhood and adult eczema. But until earlier this year, researchers were still unsure how or why the treatment worked. Scientists at the Department of Immunology, UCL Medical School, London discovered that selected Chinese herbs have a significant effect on the production of white blood cells and thereby affect the immune system, reducing allergic responses and alleviating inflammation.
1.British Journal of Dermatology (1992) 126 179-184 2.The Lancet Vol 340: July, 1992.

(2) Second Trial. Doctors at the Royal Free Hospital in London have completed an evaluation of an ancient Chinese remedy for dermatitis. The combination used consisted of a mixture of 10 herbs and was first described in the Inner Classic of the Yellow Emperor written over 2000 years ago. 40 adult patients with longstanding, widespread, atopic (genetically predisposed) dermatitis participated in the trial which lasted 5 months. Each patient was randomly allocated to receive either the herbal remedy or a placebo of similar taste and texture for an 8- week period. Followed by a 4-week wash-out period, the group originally receiving the herbal remedy received the placebo for 8 weeks and vice versa. The active herbs (and the placebo herbs) were prepared as a decoction each day and 200 ml of it consumed while still warm. 31 of the patients completed the study. Both groups showed a rapid and continued improvement in the extent of erythema (redness of the skin) and surface damage during the time they consumed the Chinese herbal remedy. The authors of the study conclude that the remedy is effective in treating adult atopic dermatitis, but warns that further experiments are needed to ensure its safety especially in patients suffering from liver or kidney complications.
The Lancet, July 4, 1992, pp. 13-17.

(3) Follow Up Treatment
A study has followed up a group of 31 patients with severe atopic eczema who initially took part in a double-blind placebo-controlled crossover trial of a specific formulation of Chinese herbal therapy (see above). All were offered continued therapy for one year after the trial was completed. Of 17 patients who took up the offer, 12 had a greater than 90% reduction of symptoms and the other 5 had a greater than 60% reduction. 11 patients who decided not to continue treatment reported a gradual deterioration of symptoms, resulting in a significant difference (both erythema and surface damage) between the two groups. Toxicology screening revealed no abnormalities in either full blood counts or biochemical parameters in any patient on continued treatment. Improvement in disease was not associated with any significant change in serum IgE level or peripheral blood lymphocyte subsets (Clinical & Experimental Dermatology. 1995 ;20(2):136-40).

(4) New Study demonstrates effectiveness of Herbs
It is reported in an article published in the August, 2007 issue of the British Journal of Dermatology, that doctors at the Chinese University of Hong Kong conducted a double blind placebo controlled trial to established whether Chinese medicine has a beneficial effect in treating atopic eczema. Between February 2004 and July 2005, 85 children suffering with moderate to severe forms of this common childhood eczema where recruited for the trial. 42 children were given a mixture of five traditional Chinese herbs, which have long been used to treat eczema.  According to Chinese medicine these herbs, when combined in exact proportions have the effect of “clearing heat, draining dampness and resolving fire toxin” (a metaphorical but precise description for reducing inflammation, alleviating itching and controlling allergic response). The herbs where administered twice daily for 12 weeks. To ascertain their effectiveness, the remaining 43 children were given placebos (ingredients that have no medicinal effect, but are used as a control to establish if the active herbs do indeed make a difference) for the same duration of time.

Despite the shortcomings of the trial (according to Chinese medicine typically a specific and varied group of herbs are prescribed individually to suit the characteristics of each patient, rather than one fixed formula that is used for all cases), by the end of the study, the conditions of the children who were given the herbs “significantly improved” and their use of corticosteroid creams and ointments was also “significantly reduced by one third”. “Adverse events, tolerability, haematological and biochemical parameters were monitored during the study, and no serious adverse effects were observed between the groups”.
The British Journal of Dermatology, Volume 157 Issue 2. Pages 357—363.

3) Green Tea and Skin

Studies on mice indicate that green tea might help slow the muscle degeneration seen in Duchenne muscular dystrophy, possibly by reducing oxidative stress. The lowest effective dose in the study corresponded to seven cups of green tea a day for humans (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2002;75:749-753).

Immunity

 

Cardiovascular

1) Angiogenic Effects of the Extracts from Chinese Herbs: Angelica and ChuanXiong

29 September 2008

New Research into Chinese Herbs for Heart Disease

Angelica and ChuanXiong are used to cure ischemic heart disease in China. Previous studies found that these two herbs could increase myocardial blood flow, oxygen-supply and keep myocardial oxygen balance, etc. However, the mechanisms of angiogenic effects of these two herbs are not well-known. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of Angelica and ChuanXiong on vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression in rat myocardial infarction, on endothelial cell proliferation and quantity of vessels on chick embryo chorioallantoic membrane (CAM).

In this study, rats were divided randomly into either pre-treatment or acute-treatment group and sacrificed at the end of the treatments. VEGF expression using Western blot analysis was significantly increased in the groups pre-treated with ChuanXiong and Angelica when compared to the control group (p < 0.05). There was significant increase in VEGF expression in the rats treated acutely with Angelica (p < 0.05). In the contrary, the rats treated with ChuanXiong showed a decrease in VEGF expression when compared to the acute-treatment control group (p < 0.05). Similar results were observed in immunohistochemistry of VEGF expression in the myocardia. Our study also demonstrated that these two herbs significantly enhanced endothelial cell proliferation (p < 0.05) and revascularity in CAM (p < 0.05).

The data showed that Angelica and ChuanXiong could affect VEGF expression in rat myocardial infarction, promote endothelial cell proliferation and stimulate quantity of vessels on CAM model. The results suggest that Angelica and ChuanXiong have angiogenic effects, and may provide some mechanisms for the treatment of myocardial infarction and peripheral ischemia.

2) Tea and Heart Attack Mortality

In a study of 1900 patients hospitalised with confirmed acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) between 1989 and 1994, with a median follow-up of 3.8 years, it was found that there was a significant reduction in long-term mortality among moderate tea drinkers (those who drank less than 14 cups a week compared with those who drank no tea), a benefit that was further increased among heavy tea drinkers (more than 14 cups a week) (Circulation 105: 2476-2481).


Neuromusculoskelatal

1) Chinese Herbs Reduce Fracture Healing Time
23 March 2009

OBJECTIVE: To explore the effects of Yishen Zhuanggu decoction ([Chinese characters: see text], YSZGD) on the fracture healing and function of wrist joint in osteoporotic distal radius fractures (ODRF) of elderly patients.

METHODS: Ninety patients of ODRF were treated with splint external fixation and YSZGD, including 28 males and 62 females, with an average age of 63 years (ranged, 61 to 91 years). According to AO classification, all the patients were classified as type A or B1. Among the patients, 80 patients had a type of Colles fracture, 7 patients were with a type of Smith fracture, and 3 patients had a type of Barton fracture. They were randomly divided into three groups included TCM, Western medicine and control group (30 cases each group) after the fractures were fixed manually by splint. Patients in TCM group took YSZGD orally, one potion and two time each day; the patients in Western medicine group treated with Calcitonin (50 units, intramuscular, 2 times each week), Caltrate D (1 tablets, taken orally, one time each day) and Alfacalcidol Soft Capsules (0.5 units, taken orally, one time each day); and the patients in control group took no medicine. X-ray examination on the fractured wrist was taken at the 4, 6, 8, 12th weeks after treating to observe, the fracture healings, the evaluation of wrist function and comparision of curative effects were taken at the 2nd month.

RESULTS: The fracture healing time in TCM group was 7.12 +/- 2.32 weeks and that in the Western medicine group was 9.25 +/- 3.05 weeks, showing significant differences between them (PC < 0.05), and that in the control group was 11.57 +/- 1.93 weeks which was longer thant in that in the two medicine groups (P < 0.05); According to Dienst wrist rating system, the excellent and good rates of three groups were 93.3%, 86.7% and 60% respectively which showing significant differences between medicine groups and control group (P < 0.05), and the curative effects of medicine groups were more excellent than that of control group through Ridit analysis.

CONCLUSION: YSZGD can promote the fracture healing evidently and shorten the healing time, whose curative effect surpassed Western medicine and promoted the restoration of wrist function.

Zhongguo Gu Shang. 2008 Mar;21(3):181-3.  Chen SX, Kang L, Chen HQ, Situ J, Zhao CD, Ding LJ, Liu HG.

2) Tea Strengthens Bones

In a study of 497 men and 540 women, 30 years and older, those with a history of tea consumption of between 6 and 10 years showed higher bone mineral density of the lumbar spine than non tea drinkers, and those with over 10 years history of tea consumption showed the highest bone mineral density in all measured regions of the body. (Arch Intern Med. 2002;162:1001-1006).

3) Green Tea and Muscular Dystrophy

Studies on mice indicate that green tea might help slow the muscle degeneration seen in Duchenne muscular dystrophy, possibly by reducing oxidative stress. The lowest effective dose in the study corresponded to seven cups of green tea a day for humans (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2002;75:749-753).

Diet and Nutrition

 

For people suffering from high cholesterol the common treatment is to take one of several Statins; a class of drug proven to lower cholesterol levels. However, statins are increasingly being associated with adverse effects such as muscle cramps and loss of energy. Dr Richard Karas of Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA, has stated that in the real world, although as yet unproven in a study, statin-associated muscle problems are a common and difficult problem for clinicians.

In a study held at the University of Pennsylvania scientists have discovered that the Chinese Medicine Red Yeast Rice (Hong Qu) has similar benefits to the statins but without the risk of the side effects.

Red yeast rice has been used in China for patients with circulatory and digestive problems for centuries and has been shown to lower plasma LDL (low-density lipoprotein) levels.

“Statin-associated myalgia [muscle pain] is an important clinical problem that will likely become more prevalent owing to the ever-expanding indications for statin use,” write lead author Dr Steven Halbert (University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA) and colleagues in the January 15, 2010 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology. “Although no definitive conclusions could be drawn, our data showed that red yeast rice…achieved clinically significant levels of LDL-cholesterol reduction in a population with previous statin intolerance.”
https://www.ajconline.org/article/S0002-9149(09)02325-X/fulltext


2) Diet and Cancer

7 May 2008

(1) Allium Vegetables & Prostrate Cancer
High consumption of allium vegetables (garlic, scallions/spring onions, chives, leeks etc.) appears to reduce the risk of prostate cancer according to a study of 238 prostate cancer subjects and 471 controls in China who were interviewed on their intake of 122 food items. Garlic and spring onions appeared to offer the greatest benefits. Allium vegetables have been shown in the laboratory to have anti-tumour effects (J Natl Cancer Inst. 2002:94(21):1648-1651).

(2) Folic Acid & Colorectal Cancer Risks
A diet rich in folic acid may lower the risk for colorectal cancer, according to researchers in Italy. In a study of 1,953 patients with colorectal cancer and more than 4,000 disease-free patients, researchers found an association between the amount of folic acid in the diet and the risk of cancer. Those with colorectal cancer tended to have diets containing less folic acid and the essential amino-acid methionine, and were heavier drinkers, than patients who were cancer free. Light drinking meant one glass of wine daily, while heavy drinking was equivalent to at least two 12oz beers a day. Methionine levels were studied because the amino acid plays a key role in regulating the availability of folic acid in the body. Previous studies have shown that high levels of methionine reduce colon cancer risk in people with a family history of the disease. Meat, fish, beans, eggs, garlic and sunflower seeds are all natural sources of methionine. Good sources of folic acid are leafy green vegetables, whole grains, and liver, as well as orange juice, beans and peas. The incidence of the disease was 40% higher for patients who were heavy drinkers and had diets deficient in folic acid and methionine. (International Journal of Cancer 2002;102:545-547).

(3) Burning Hot Curries
Cancer researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center have found that curcumin, a substance in curry long believed to have health benefits, seems to protect skin during radiation therapy. Curcumin, the substance that gives turmeric its yellow colour, is a natural anti-inflammatory compound and scientists have already shown that it can suppress tumour blood vessel growth. This process, called anti-angiogenesis, can strangle tumours. Now researchers have discovered through a study of mice that curcumin may protect skin from the burns and blisters that often occur during radiation treatment. The team of researchers studied the impact of curcumin on skin protection in mice given radiation therapy. The difference in skin damage was dramatically less where curcumin was used. As a result it is suggested that cancer patients could consider eating curries during their radiation treatment.

(4) Soy & Stomach Cancer
Japanese researchers have found that men who consume a diet rich in non-fermented soy products such as tofu, soybeans and soymilk (average 112g per day), have half the risk of dying from stomach cancer compared to men who consumed 37g a day on average. The research also found that men with a high rice intake had an 81% higher mortality from stomach cancer than did men with a low intake. (British Journal of Cancer, Vol. 87, July 1, 2002, 31-36).

(5) Dietary Fibre & Bowel Cancer
A study of the dietary habits of more than half a million Europeans suggests that an approximate doubling of total dietary fibre intake could reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by 40%. The study was funded by a consortium including Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the European Commission. The 519,978 individuals studied, who are taking part in the EPIC study recruited from ten European countries, completed a dietary questionnaire in 1992-98 and were followed up for cancer incidence. Those who ate the most fibre rich food had the lowest incidence of bowel cancer, while those with least fibre in their diets had the most cases of the disease. A fibre rich diet was defined as 35g a day. That equates to seven portions of fruit and vegetables per day plus five slices of wholemeal bread. The research found that cereals were the main source of fibre in Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Denmark, vegetables in France and the UK, and fruit in Italy and Spain. Although a separate team from US National Cancer Institute, who examined 45,000 women over three decades, failed to produce similar evidence, the European team has suggested that studies which do not show a protective effect from eating fibre may be sampling people whose fibre intake is not sufficiently high to produce a positive effect. (Lancet 2003; 361: 1496-501).

(6) Green Tea prevents Ovarian Cancer
In an Australian study of 254 Chinese patients with epithelial ovarian cancer and 652 healthy controls, it was found that the risk of ovarian cancer declined both with the more tea they drank and the length of time they had been drinking tea, with those drinking tea daily having only 39% of the risk (compared to non tea drinkers) and those who had drunk tea for more than 30 years having a 23% risk. (Cancer Epidemio Biomarkers Prev 2002; 11: 713-18).

(7) Tomatoes & Prostrate Cancer
Analysis of the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) involving over 47,000 male dentists, optometrists, osteopaths, podiatrists, pharmacists, and veterinarians appears to show that consumption of tomato products reduces the risk of developing prostate cancer, possibly due to the antioxidant properties of lycopene, a carotenoid found in tomatoes. Tomato sauce appeared to be the most effective form, lowering relative risk of prostate cancer to 0.77. (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2002; 94: 391-398). Separate research from Cornell University shows that cooking tomatoes makes them healthier by substantially raising the levels of lycopene, even though vitamin C is lost in the cooking process. (J. Agric. Food Chem., 50 (10), 3010 -3014, 2002).

(8) Prostrate Cancer & Diet
A fat-laden diet and high calcium consumption are both well-known suspected risk factors for prostate cancer. However, new findings from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center suggest that fat and calcium themselves may not cause prostate cancer, as previously thought, but instead may fuel its progression from localised to advanced disease. While high intake of dietary fat and calcium is associated with an increased risk of clinically significant, advanced prostate cancer, it has no apparent impact on risk of early-stage disease. Saturated fats (found in meat and dairy fat) and monounsaturated fats (found in certain oils, such as olive and peanut) were associated with an increased risk of advanced prostate cancer. Polyunsaturated fats (found in certain oils, such as canola) were not. Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids (found in oily fish such as mackerel) also did not have an impact on overall prostate-cancer risk, contrary to experimental studies in cell cultures that have suggested there may be a protective effect.

In the study of 1200 men aged between 40 and 64, researchers also found the risk of advanced prostate cancer was 112% higher – more than double – among men who consumed the most calcium (more than 1,200 mg per day, equivalent to four or more glasses of milk) as compared to those who got the least (fewer than 500 mg). It didn’t matter whether the calcium came from food or supplements. Total calories consumed was significantly associated with risk for both localised and advanced disease. Men who ingested the most calories each day more than doubled their risk of localised prostate cancer (a 115% increased risk) and nearly doubled their risk of advanced prostate cancer (a 96% increased risk) compared to men who ate the fewest. The researchers conclude that men who have been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer should change to a diet low in fat and calories in order to reduce the progression or recurrence of the cancer. (Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, American Association for Cancer Research. 2002/8/6).

(9) Pomegranite Juice slows the progress of Prostrate Cancer
Drinking a daily eight ounce (0.24 litre) glass of pomegranate juice can significantly slow the progress of prostate cancer, a study suggests. Researchers say the effect may be so large that it may help older men outlive the disease. Pomegranates contain a cocktail of chemicals which minimize cell damage, and potentially kill off cancer cells.

The study, by the University of California in Los Angeles, appears in the journal Clinical Cancer Research. Previous research had indicated that pomegranate juice could have a beneficial effect on prostate cancer in tests on mice. But the latest study has shown that humans can potentially benefit too. The UCLA team focused on 50 men who had undergone surgery or radiation treatment for prostate cancer – but had shown signs that the disease was rapidly returning. The presence of prostate cancer cells is monitored by measuring levels of a chemical they produce called prostate-specific antigen (PSA). The researchers measured how long it took for PSA levels to double in individual patients – a short doubling time indicates that the cancer is progressing quickly. The average doubling time is about 15 months, but in patients who drank pomegranate juice this increased to an average of 54 months. Some men on the study continue to show suppressed PSA levels after more than three years, even though they are receiving no treatment apart from drinking pomegranate juice.

Combination effect Lead researcher Dr Allan Pantuck said: “I was surprised when I saw such an improvement in PSA numbers”. In older men 65 to 70 who have been treated for prostate cancer, we can give them pomegranate juice and it may be possible for them to outlive their risk of dying from their cancer.

“We are hoping we may be able to prevent or delay the need for other therapies usually used in this population such as hormone treatment or chemotherapy, both of which bring with them harmful side effects.”

Pomegranate juice is known to have anti-inflammatory effects and high levels of anti-oxidants, which are believed to protect the body from damage by particles called free radicals. It also contains isoflavones which are believed to play a role in cancer cell death. Dr Pantuck said: “There are many substances in pomegranate juice that may be prompting this response. “We don’t know if it’s one magic bullet or the combination of everything we know is in this juice. “My guess is that it’s probably a combination of elements, rather than a single component.”

Chris Hiley, of the Prostate Cancer Charity, said more work was needed to firm up the findings. She said: “It may well turn out that pomegranate juice has a wider application than just delaying disease progression in men with prostate cancer who have already been treated. “It might also help as a reassuring low-key intervention for men whose cancer is being monitored rather than treated.” Dr Laura-Jane Armstrong, of the charity Cancer Research UK, said: “If the results of this study can be confirmed, it could have important implications for prostate cancer patients, especially by delaying the use of other more aggressive treatments that can have debilitating side effects.” (Taken from BBC website)

(10) Citrus Fruits & Cancer
Pectin, found in highest concentration in the meat and segment membrane of citrus fruits, appears to be able to prevent prostate and other cancers by acting as a mediator in cell communication – a factor known to reduce the likelihood of abnormal cell growth. Sour fruits such as lemon appear to have the greatest effect (J. Agric. Food Chem., 49 (6), 3051 -3057, 2001).

(11) Carrots, Tomatoes & Lung Cancer
Eating fruits and vegetables containing carotenoids may reduce the risk of lung cancer, according to researchers at Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston. In an analysis of answers to questionnaires about their diets from 124,207 men and women at the start of a pair of ongoing studies and ten years (for men) and 12 years (for women) later, those who reported eating the greatest amount of lycopene, found in tomatoes, and alpha-carotene, found in carrots, had a lower risk of being diagnosed with lung cancer. Further, the risk was significantly lower among those who reported eating a variety of carotenoids. Study participants who never smoked and who ate the most alpha-carotene had a 63% lower incidence of lung cancer. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, October 2000; 72:990-997).

(12) Medicinal Mushrooms
According to research conducted by Cancer Research UK, oriental fungi such as shiitake, enoke and oyster mushrooms contain compounds which could have an effect in reducing the side effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy and can significantly improve the quality of life for patients with cancer. However, the large flat mushrooms and button varieties commonly eaten in the UK do not seem to share these qualities. (Cancer Research UK 2002).