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Saturday, March 31, 2012

3 Proven Herbs for Managing and Healing Cancer Pain



The chronic pain that accompanies a disease like cancer goes beyond physical discomfort. In the worst cases, it's relentless and can swallow up your whole life. All you can think about is the pain. 




Even when it's caused by some other health problem, like arthritis or allergies, chronic pain can be so devastating that many experts now consider it a condition in itself that needs treating. So what's the best thing to do? Here's what I think. . .
I can agree wholeheartedly: When you're in severe pain, getting rid of the symptom becomes job #1. You'll worry about the cause later. But that attitude is hazardous because most pain drugs are damaging. It's especially important to find natural ways to deal with pain.

 For ages, there's been a disparity in understanding cancer pain. Too many patients receive morphine as medicine's knee-jerk reaction to cancer pain. In some cases doctors prescribe morphine when the pain is only moderate.

 So, there are two things I want to share with you today. The first is the importance of understanding and getting control over your pain — that's key. Second, I want to tell you about three proven herbs that are worth looking into.
3 herbs for the treatment of cancer-related pain
A lot of folks are open to natural pain relief, but that poses a different problem. There are quite a few supplements to choose from and it can be hard to know what to do. The good news is that it's generally safe to try two, three, five or as many different ones as you like. You can take them all together.

 Many supplements are effective in pain suppression, without side effects, or with only mild side effects. Some even work to treat the cancer source itself. Most of the helpful herbs for the treatment of pain have anti-inflammatory properties that work by blocking the enzymes that trigger swelling and subsequent pain.
#1: Turmeric extract                                                                                  

Turmeric comes from Indonesia and South India. It's well-known as a main spice for curry. It's also commonly found in Indian food, usually either in curry powder or yellow mustard.

Curcumin is an extract from the turmeric root. If you were to take pure turmeric powder, curcumin would comprise about three percent of it.

Both turmeric and the curcumin extract have anti-inflammatory properties and potent antioxidant properties. Curcumin in particular is credited with anti-cancer properties, including the ability to reduce pain and slow deterioration in the body. (Just so you know, morphine and NSAIDs are NOT antioxidants!)

This anti-inflammatory herb is able to search for and destroy free radicals in your body that cause pain. According to a study by the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Research Center in New York, turmeric proved to be more precise (not to mention safer!) than aspirin when it came to stopping inflammation. It works by shutting down the COX2 enzyme that causes pain.

In general, turmeric does a good job of substituting for NSAIDs. I take a curcumin supplement and I think it's one of the reasons I've been able to drastically reduce my use of ibuprofen for the occasional sinus headache.

To get ideal levels of curcumin, you need to eat a moderate amount of turmeric. Eating an Indian diet with lots of curried dishes is one way to do it. Some people also recommend turmeric tea (I haven't tried it). Otherwise, supplements are a good source. Look for a supplement brand with the highest percent of curcumin extract.

By the way, turmeric appears to have no adverse side effects.

#2: Papain

Papain is an enzyme found in papaya fruit. Specifically, it's a proteolytic enzyme derived from the sappy, milk-like latex that comes from unripe papaya skins. That latex is dried and made into a powder.

Papain has been shown to attack tumor cells. It's also effective at boosting your immune system. It works by breaking down proteins, though its mechanism of action isn't fully understood.

In animal studies, papain has also been shown to work as a shield against the damaging effects of radiation.

Papain is often administered topically but can also be taken as a supplement when it comes to pain management. Topical creams are used to treat painful problems like bed sores, burns, and surgical wounds.

As for side effects, some people report of gastrointestinal distress while taking oral papain, and topical remedies have been reported to occasionally prompt a mild burning sensation.

Bromelain is another enzyme (made from pineapples) that's an effective natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory, although I don't know that it has the specific anti-tumor and radiation-protective benefits found in papain.

You can easily buy papain and bromelain in supplement stores, either separately or together in one pill.

#3. Ginger extract

Ginger is a well-known natural treatment for nausea, but it also reduces pain and inflammation.

It works thanks to the ability to lower your number of prostaglandins, the messenger molecules that tell you when you're in pain (sometimes you'd prefer not to know!)

Some studies show that ginger also helps reduce the nausea and discomfort associated with chemotherapy.

Ginger is extremely versatile as a food. Ginger products come from fresh or dried ginger root, and you can get the herb in capsule form, tinctures, extracts, and oils. You can also grate the fresh root as a spice for food, or prepare it as tea.

Side effects are rare unless you take ginger in incredibly high, unwarranted doses.
You deserve natural pain relief
    If anything, remember this: The benefits of natural pain management extend far beyond just relieving your pain. They also give you emotional relief and satisfaction. Because really, if you're dealing with consistent pain over time, you'll likely have less tolerance for the side effects that come from traditional pain medicines.

    Turning to pain-relieving herbs like the ones listed above means you don't have to just "deal" with the pain — you can lessen it or get rid of it completely, and without side effects.

    And here's one more benefit. Herbs make it easy to spruce up meals. They motivate you to look into fresh or new recipes. They're a simple, beneficial way to bring some fun back into your life if you or a loved one is facing cancer.






New Study: Vitamins Alter Aging
The next time you hear some nay-saying doctor claiming that there is no evidence that vitamins actually do anything show him this:

A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that multivitamins can keep you younger, longer. The study found that those who took a multivitamin daily had 5.1 percent longer telomeres than non-users.

Telomeres are the key to aging. And it’s not just your life span that’s affected… Short telomeres dramatically boost your risk of serious diseases. One study of 60 to 75 year olds showed those with short telomeres had a 300% higher death rate from heart disease and an 800% higher death rate from infectious diseases.




Friday, March 23, 2012

Would you ever eat GRAY meat?

 Believe it or not—gray is the color that meats like bacon and hot dogs would be if there were no sodium nitrite added to stabilize the red color and add flavor. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)1, when nitrite is added to food it can lead to the formation of cancer-causing chemicals called nitrosamines.

These compounds are carcinogens that researchers have linked to cancers of the bladder, brain, esophagus, mouth, and stomach. So meat that's been doctored to look healthy isn't really healthy. You might be better off eating gray meat.

You should know that nitrites also occur naturally in many green vegetables, such as celery, lettuce and spinach. Does that give you an excuse to avoid eating your veggies? 

Nice try. . .but no.

You see, vegetables also have healthy doses of vitamins C and D, which help block the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines. This is why eating plenty of vegetables can actually reduce your cancer risk.

As for the cured meats—you'd be better off eating them sparingly or not at all. Maybe it would help to take extra vitamins when you do eat them — that's speculation on my part, but it makes sense.

For me, cured meats are a treat I have a few times a year — when I'm someone's guest, for example, and sausage or bacon is on the breakfast menu. The rest of the time there are plenty of good meats that are much less processed and chemicalized.

The problem is nitrites are not the only food additive you should watch out for…

Some food additives have been used for centuries to preserve the flavor of food and enhance its appearance. Included are items such as salt in meats… vinegar for pickling… and sulfur dioxide to prevent wine from spoiling.

But in the mid-20th century, processed foods became more popular. This led to the development of more chemical additives such as:

    Acids—to preserve flavors
    Colorings—to make foods more attractive and replace color lost during preparation
    Emulsifiers—to help waters and oils stick together in foods like mayonnaise
    Humectants—to keep foods from drying out
    Preservatives—to prevent bacteria and other microorganisms from spoiling foods
    Stabilizers—to give foods firmer textures

  Recent examples Include: 
  • Butylated hydroxyanisol (BHA) and butylated hyroxytoluene (BHT)  -  widely used to prevent oils from becoming rancid. You'll find them in a wide variety of foods including cereals, gum and potato chips. 
  •  BHT is a widely used preservative that’s supposedly safe for people to eat and is even sold as a supplement. Years ago, I saw it recommended by some alternative practitioners as a treatment for herpes, because it’s a powerful antiviral. But more recent research suggests it may not be a good idea to consume it.  
  •  Propyl gallate. It is often used in tandem with BHA or BHT to prevent fats and oils from spoiling. You'll often see it used in chicken soup base, potato sticks and vegetable oil.
 Propyl gallate is known to cause kidney, liver and intestinal problems. It also may cause allergic reactions in people with asthma and/or sensitivity to aspirin.

 Animal studies suggest propyl gallate increases the risk of getting cancer. However, due to limitations in the studies, scientists have said they cannot be certain that propyl gallate directly causes cancer.

When all is said and done… you might just be better off eating some fresh, gray meat!


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