I need to ask you a tough question. How far would you go to save a loved one dying of cancer? What if mainstream medicine was doing everything in its power to keep you from your last chance?
Ted Hale had to answer that question and his story may shock you. But I wonder, how many of us would do what Ted did? Especially when a true cancer cure—one that had saved literally hundreds of people—was almost in his grasp. Rest assured, I am going to tell you all about this cure, but to illustrate exactly how important this breakthrough is, let me tell you Ted’s story.
It was 1977 and Iona Hale was in the fight of her life. Ted Hale was a strapping truck driver, but what his wife, Iona, was going through had him laid as low as you can imagine. He could not stop thinking about the six words the nurse at the hospital had told Iona. “You’re not going to live long.” They echoed in his mind, no matter how he tried to banish them. But Ted refused to accept his wife’s fate. Not when there was an alternative. And Ted was a man of action.
So, his mind made up, he carefully took out his pistol and tucked it under his belt. He wasn’t taking any chances, not when the stakes were this high. He looked over at Iona… the stomach cancer had reduced her to just 75 pounds…and Ted Hale walked out the door. He had been to see Rene Caisse twice before. The first time, she had reluctantly agreed to give him a small bottle of her miracle tonic, Essiac.
Whispered about reverently by cancer survivors, shunned by mainstream doctors…the miracle elixir could only be found if you knew someone who knew someone who knew Rene Caisse.
The effect was incredible. Almost immediately after taking the tonic, Iona had felt better. When her pain pills ran out, she told her husband not to bother picking up more. She wanted more Essiac. But Rene Caisse was afraid. She had already been brought before government officials for her unconventional approach to treating cancer. She became less and less willing to give out the tonic. The next “patient” could be an agent of the government, ready to send her to jail.
Ted Hale wasn’t in a position to take no for an answer. He’d watched his wife, given only weeks to live, begin to thrive after treatments with Essiac. The cancer seemed to be literally draining from her body. He had brought the gun in case he had to force the elixir from the aging Rene Caisse. Thankfully, extreme measures weren’t necessary. Rene relented and supplied him with more. And did it Essiac continue to work?
Well, a few years ago, Iona Hale was interviewed for the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail. She was 85 years old. Vibrant and energetic, she called her recovery “a miracle.”
It was this remarkable tale of a man’s love for his wife that first introduced me to Essiac. But it turns out that Ted and Iona Hales’ story is just one of the amazing stories surrounding this proven cancer cure. The Native American cancer cure that was almost lost forever.
The story of Essiac begins across a campfire, in the gold rush wilderness of northern Canada. In the early 1890s, Mrs. A (as Rene Caisse later came to call her) had come from England to join her prospector husband. You could walk for miles without meeting another human being. The stillness was, at times, unnerving.
Mrs. A had been in her new home, far from the conveniences of the changing world, for ten years when she began to feel soreness in her right breast. Over time, it became painful enough that she and her husband talked of leaving camp for the hospital in Toronto.
As they prepared for the journey, an old Ojibway Indian, a familiar face around the camp, appeared quietly. Without ceremony, he told Mrs. A he knew her condition was cancer. And then he said he could cure her. For a moment, at least, she believed him. But then doubt crept in and they left for the busy streets of Toronto, where his words were soon forgotten.
There, doctors told Mrs. A the breast would have to be removed immediately. She thought of her friend who had died from breast surgery. Of others who had gone under the knife only to have the cancer return. And then the woman did something that would change the course of alternative cancer therapy forever. She refused the surgery and returned to the camp, ready to put her life in the hands of the Ojibway man.
He told her of four herbs, growing wild in the area, that would cure her. He carefully measured out portions, telling her how much to brew and for how long, teaching her so that she could repeat it without thinking about it. She was to drink the brew daily. He said it would put her body back into balance with the Great Spirit.
Twenty years later, she told her tale to Rene Caisse, then head nurse at the Sisters of Providence Hospital in Ontario. Another 55 years would pass before Ted Hale would appear at Rene Caisse’s door, demanding that same formula for his dying wife.
However, the story almost ended much earlier… For a year, the notes on the concoction that had saved Mrs. A’s life sat untouched in Rene’s desk at the hospital. Life went on as usual until she went to visit an old friend, a well-respected doctor.
As they walked through his garden, the doctor stopped at a particular plant, lifting a leaf with his cane. If people would only take that herb, he told Rene, “there would be little cancer in the world.” With a shock, Caisse recognized it as one of the herbs in the formula relayed to her by Mrs. A. And at that moment, she decided that, if she were ever diagnosed with cancer, she would use her body as testing ground for the formula.
Her chance to test the brew came even sooner than expected. A beloved aunt was diagnosed with stomach cancer and given six months to live. Conventional medicine was helpless to relieve her suffering. With nothing to lose, the doctor agreed to allow Rene to try the herbal medicine. I’m sure you can guess the end of that story: Rene Caisse’s aunt lived 21 more years.
More patients came to Nurse Caisse. The story was always the same… Miraculous and swift recoveries, cancer expelled from the body like waste. Lives that were only supposed to go on for weeks or even just days stretched into extra years. Rene soon became known as Canada’s Cancer Nurse, the person to go to when all hope was lost. She did not charge for treatment, accepting small donations only when offered. Patients who had to be carried into her clinic for their first treatment were able to walk in on their own by the fifth or sixth visit. Her own mother, stricken with liver cancer, lived another 18 years after Essiac wiped the cancer from her body.
As patients of Rene Caisse started talking about the miracle of Essiac (Caisse gave the brew her name, only spelled backwards), she knew she must protect the ancient Indian formula. She would keep it a secret, safeguarding it from those who would use it for financial gain. Word continued to spread. Doctors who doubted her work were welcomed into the clinic to observe, and left convinced. However, the tales of Essiac attracted a different kind of attention, too. Despite a petition signed by 8 well-respected physicians, the Department of Health and Welfare in Ottawa sent two doctors to arrest her, with the charge of practicing medicine without a license.
The movement to silence her work had only just begun. Before Caisse’s death in 1978, she would be threatened with heavy fines and imprisonment, harassed, and brought before a specially created Cancer Commission. And what was her crime…providing hope where there once was none?
Rallying to support their beloved Nurse Caisse, 387 of her patients showed up at the hearing by the Commission to testify on her behalf. Only 49 were called to testify, and the Commission dismissed them all…yes, all 49 people…on grounds that their testimonies were somehow invalid.
The pressure got to be too much. Fearing imprisonment, Caisse was deeply fatigued. She closed the clinic in 1942, and people like Ted Hale were forced to seek her out, desperate for the cure that had extended so many lives.
Four common herbs combine to form a super cancer killer. Throughout her life, Rene Caisse maintained that Essiac should be tested in clinical trials. She wanted to prove to the world that her faith in the formula was well founded.
Rene herself conducted two separate trials on mice given terminal cancer, keeping the first set alive for fifty-two days, longer than anyone else had been able to. The second set? 72 days. But she knew more was needed.
Every time a doctor showed interest, however, it was to be at the expense of her clinic. “Close your clinic, and come to the lab,” she heard time and again. But she refused to turn her back on the people who needed her most. How could she?
Her extreme fear of what would be done with her formula were it to fall into the wrong hands kept Rene Caisse from sharing it. She wanted it to belong to mankind as a whole. Of course, because Rene kept it a closely guarded secret, it could reach only those who knew about her and could make the journey to her home.
Her belief that the cancer industry is big business, not a charity, drove her to zealously protect the formula for most of her life. She maintained that she would be willing to turn over the formula if she were assured that it would be used to help ease the suffering of humanity, and that it would not be shelved to keep the way open for conventional treatment methods.
In October of 1977, she found a company that would fulfill the promise she demanded. The Resperin Corporation of Toronto bought the Essiac formula for just one dollar. The witness to the signing of the contract was none other than JFK’s personal physician, Dr. Charles Brusch, who had been a longtime supporter of Nurse Caisse’s work with Essiac.
For the first time, the miracle formula was revealed. Essiac is made of four herbs: Burdock Root, Sheep Sorrel, Slippery Elm, and Indian Rhubarb. All plants that could be found, as Caisse was fond of saying, at a roadside in spring.
In 1966, Hungarian researchers discovered anti-tumor activity in Burdock Root.’ It contains the oil inulin, which attaches to white blood cells and enhances their function. It also contains benzaldehyde, which has significant anti-cancer effects in humans. Rounding out the power of Burdock Root are vitamin A and selenium.
A staple of folk medicine, Sheep Sorrel was used in cancer treatment as early as the 1740’s. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, and contains chlorophyll, which helps to carry oxygen to the cells of the body. As a folk remedy, it has been used to relieve bruises and burns.
The third component of Essiac, Slippery Elm, has also shown anti-tumor activity and is an anti-inflammatory for the digestive system. It also lubricates bones and joints, and contains fatty acids. Fatty acids similar to those in Slippery Elm have been shown to boost the immune systern in studies on mice.
Finally, Indian Rhubarb Root, rich in iron, helps to purge the liver and the rest of the body of wastes. It, like Sheep Sorrel, contains aloe emodin, which have been shown to inhibit tumors in animal tests.
However, few trials have been carried out on Essiac as a whole. Dr. Brusch conducted a few experiments at his medical center near Boston. One study on mice injected with human cancer cells showed that Essiac killed tumors at a higher rate than seen in control mice.
Dr. Brusch even successfully used Essiac in his own battle with bowel cancer. He also wrote in a notarized letter that Essiac “reduces pain and causes a recession in [tumor] growth. Patients gained weight and showed a great improvement in their general health…In some cases, if the tumor didn’t disappear, it could be surgically removed after Essiac with less risk of metastasis.”
In 1982, Resperin’s tests of the formula were shut down by the Canadian government, with claims that the testing procedures were flawed. One man involved in the trials, Ed Zalesky, aged 63, had been diagnosed with cancer of the small intestine. He was given two years to live if he gave in to dangerous radiation treatments. He refused, was treated with Essiac, and in 1995 was still running the Canadian Museum of Flight seven days a week. Mr. Zalesky openly wondered why Essiac, which had saved his life, couldn’t be given a fair trial.
A more recently published trial on Essiac was conducted in 2004. This in vitro test of prostate cancer cells showed that at low doses Essiac may be able to inhibit tumor cell growth while enhancing immune response. In 2006, two studies, both conducted in Toronto, were presented at a meeting of Naturopathic Physicians. The first showed increased cytotoxicity toward prostate cancer cells as well as significant antioxidant properties. The second, in which Essiac was administered to rats, demonstrated Essiac’s positive effects on gastric protection.
Despite a lack of conclusive evidence, it is hard to ignore the vast body of stories and testimonials claiming Essiac has saved lives. So powerful it literally flushes cancer out of your body. On my desk is a stack, almost an inch thick, of letters and e-mails, all about how Essiac has changed lives. These stories are testament to the fact that, despite a lack of conclusive clinical evidence about the effects of Essiac, there is indeed something to the formula.
Consider the story told to me by a certain physician. A father brought his 13-year-old son in to see the Dr. because the boy had developed a firm, ugly mass on his knee. The Dr. urged the father to have it diagnosed, and when he did, it came back as cancer so bad that it would require experimental chemotherapy. The doctors told him he had no choice, that he had to go through this dangerous treatment, and that he would most likely lose the leg above the knee anyway.
And what do you think the father did? Refused, of course. And then came the final blow. He found out he would be turned in for child abuse (yes, child abuse) for refusing medical “standard-of-care.” Experimental chemotherapy as standard care? That’s a good one. So this man did what any other father would do when the life of his child is at stake. He fought for his child’s life by fleeing to Canada in the middle of the night.
And that was the last the Dr. thought he’d hear from the family. Then, about three years later, a lanky teenager walked into his office. It was that same boy, no lump on his knee, both legs working just fine. The father followed behind, saying they couldn’t stay, because there was still an outstanding warrant for his arrest.
But he had wanted the Dr. to see how Essiac had cured his son.
There are countless stories just like this one. As I’m writing this to you, I’m looking at a letter with a photo attached. In the center of the photo is a Canadian penny. Surrounding the penny are black, squishy-looking masses, some half the size of the penny, some twice its size. Tumors and pieces of cancerous tissue, passed by then 81-year old Richard Schmidt. He had been diagnosed with bladder cancer in 1985. In 1992, after ten surgeries related to the cancer, his wife received a call from the hospital. Richard was on life support in intensive care, in almost hopeless condition. Three weeks later, he was home, hardly able to walk, his doctor hinting he wouldn’t make it through another operation.
That’s when they spoke to a naturopathic doctor, who recommended Essiac. Richard’s wife, expecting the tonic would simply give him more strength, was shocked when those black chunks of tumor started passing with his urine. So great was her astonishment that she actually preserved the tumors in formaldehyde.
Soon, doctors could find no trace of the cancer in Richard’s body He lived five more happy years, passing away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 86.
In 1994, Alwyn Hodgkinson, the past president of the West Coast Prostate Awareness Society, was told that a cobalt radiation treatment for his Stage D1(terminal) prostate cancer might give him 10 months to a year of life after the treatment. Already in terrible pain and with a PSA of 13.9, he of course didn’t see this as good news.
His wife’s aunt showed up one day with a bottle of Essiac, and said he needed to “take it, or else.” He complied, and about a month later his PSA had already dropped to 1.4. His doctors said this was normal after radiation treatment, and he would need to schedule follow-up treatments every six months. Only, he hadn’t yet had the treatment…
Al gave in to his doctors and had the radiation treatment, but returned home in severe pain. Eventually, he looked at his counter full of prescription medications, decided that the side effects weren’t worth it, and flushed the lot of them down the toilet, deciding the only thing he would take from that point on would be Essiac.
Eleven years after his initial diagnosis, he wrote a letter to Essiac Canada International, telling them the cancer was completely clear and he was in the best health of his life. At a recent check-up with an oncologist, he was asked if he was on any “herbal schemes.” “Yes,” he said. “Essiac.” The oncologist replied, “Don’t stop.”
Beware of buying imitation Essiac. Rene Caisse maintained throughout her life that it is not just the individual herbs that make Essiac so powerful; it is the carefully blended combination —each herb in a specific amount— that creates the real power in the potion. She believed the combination of herbs set up resistance in the body, cutting off the substances that feed malignant cells.
In beginning my research on Essiac, I was astounded at how many websites sell many different products—all with different labels, all called Essiac (or sometimes “essiac”). I enlisted the help of that sameDr., who echoed the concerns that were already playing in my mind. He said care is needed in finding out who is the real deal, and which companies are just scamming people for a quick buck.
Many of the companies selling their version of Essiac claim to have “the” formula. They list the herbs that are, in fact, in Caisse’s original—but without the exact proportions she emphasized were so important, who knows if these blends actually fight cancer?
I found out that Resperin, the company that received the formula from Rene Caisse for one dollar, has since gone out of business, but not before transferring the rights to the Essiac formula to Essiac Canada International. They offer both the original powdered combination of herbs, as well as a more convenient liquid version.
Essiac can safely be taken in conjunction with other cancer treatments, and can be taken every day. In addition to being used for cancer treatment, Essiac can be used preventatively to keep your immune system healthy.
Essiac Canada International does sell direct to consumers. You can find them online at:
How Many People Died in Vain While this Billion-dollar Drug Maker
Concealed the Secret of the Miraculous Graviola Tree?
For seven years a major U.S. pharmaceutical company knew of an astounding cancer killer–but decided to tell nobody about it…ever!!
There isn’t a scarier moment in anyone’s life than when a biopsy comes back positive. It’s cancer. It’s the beginning of a battle in which no holds are barred. Anyone with any sense will do almost anything at all to try and destroy the killer disease. Imagine one pharmaceutical company had the answer…had it, as it was, for SEVEN FULL YEARS…yet, not only didn’t tell anyone about it– but decided not to tell anyone about it ever!?
Why? Because the substance they researched is completely natural so they couldn’t take out a patent on it. For seven long years they tried to artificially mimic the compound’s effect in the lab but couldn’t. Mother Nature is the only thing that worked. They had no way to make money on the stuff– so they shelved their entire research.
Can you imagine how many Americans may have died in vain during that time? Read on to learn the full story of this astounding tree from the Amazon Rainforest they kept from you– but that’s just the beginning.
If there ever was a single example that makes it dramatically clear why the existence of Health Sciences Institute is so vital to Americans like you, it’s the incredible story behind the Graviola tree.
The truth is stunningly simple: Deep within the Amazon Rainforest grows a tree that could literally revolutionize what you, your doctor, and the rest of the world thinks about cancer treatment and chances of survival. The future has never looked more promising.
Research shows that with extracts from this miraculous tree it now may be possible to:
• Attack cancer safely and effectively with an all-natural therapy that does not cause extreme nausea or weight loss.
• Protect your immune system and avoid deadly infections.
• Feel stronger and healthier throughout the course of the treatment.
• Boost your energy and improve your outlook on life.
The source of this information is just as stunning: It comes from one of America’s largest drug manufacturers, the fruit of over 20 laboratory tests conducted since the 1970’s! What those tests revealed was nothing short of mind numbing. Extracts from the tree were shown to: Effectively target and kill malignant cells in 12 types of cancer, including colon, breast, prostate, lung and pancreatic cancer. The tree compounds proved to be up to 10,000 times stronger in slowing the growth of cancer cells than Adriamycin, a commonly used chemotherapeutic drug! What’s more, unlike chemotherapy, the compound extracted from the Graviola tree selectively hunts down and kills only cancer cells. It does not harm healthy cells!
The amazing anti-cancer properties of the Graviola tree have been extensively researched–so why haven’t you heard anything about it? If Graviola extract is as half as promising as it appears to be– why doesn’t every single oncologist at every major hospital insist on using it on all his or her patients? The spine-chilling answer illustrates just how easily our health– and for many, our very lives are controlled by money and power.
Graviola–the Plant That Worked Too Well
One of America’s biggest billion-dollar drug makers began a search for a cancer cure and their research centered on Graviola, a legendary healing tree from the Amazon Rainforest. Various parts of the Graviola tree–including the bark, leaves, roots, fruit and fruit-seeds have been used for centuries by medicine men and native Indians in South America to treat heart disease, asthma, liver problems and arthritis. Going on very little documented scientific evidence, the company poured money and resources into testing the tree’s anti-cancerous properties and were shocked by the results. Graviola proved itself to be a cancer-killing dynamo. But that’s where the Graviola story nearly ended. The company had one huge problem with the Graviola tree, it’s completely natural, and so, under federal law, not patentable. There’s no way to make serious profits from it.
It turns out the drug company invested nearly seven years trying to synthesize two of the Graviola tree’s most powerful anti-cancer ingredients. If they could isolate and produce man-made clones of what makes the Graviola so potent, they’d be able to patent it and make their money back. Alas, they hit a brick wall. The original simply could not be replicated. There was no way the company could protect its profits–or even make back the millions it poured into research. As the dream of huge profits evaporated, their testing on Graviola came to a screeching halt. Even worse, the company shelved the entire project and chose not to publish the findings of its research!
Luckily, however, there was one scientist from the Graviola research team whose conscience wouldn’t let him see such an atrocity committed. Risking his career, he contacted a company that’s dedicated to harvesting medical plants from the Amazon Rainforest and blew the whistle. Miracle unleashed. When researchers were alerted to the news of Graviola, they began tracking the research done on the cancer-killing tree. Evidence of the astounding effectiveness of Graviola– and its shocking cover-up– came in fast and furious. The National Cancer Institute performed the first scientific research in 1976. The results showed that Graviola’s “leaves and stems were found effective in attacking and destroying malignant cells.” Inexplicably, the results were published in an internal report and never released to the public.
Since 1976, Graviola has proven to be an immensely potent cancer killer in 20 independent laboratory tests – yet no double-blind clinical trials, the typical benchmark mainstream doctors and journals use to judge a treatment’s value were ever initiated. A study published in the Journal of Natural Products, following a recent study conducted at Catholic University of South Korea stated that one chemical in Graviola was found to selectively kill colon cancer cells at “10,000 times the potency of (the commonly used chemotherapy drug) Adriamycin…”
The most significant part of the Catholic University of South Korea’s report is that Graviola was shown to selectively target the cancer cells leaving healthy cells untouched. Unlike chemotherapy, which indiscriminately targets all actively reproducing cells (such as stomach and hair cells), causing the often devastating side effect of nausea in cancer patients. A study at Purdue University recently found that leaves from the Graviola tree killed cancer cells among six human cell lines and were especially effective against prostate, pancreatic and lung cancers. Seven years of Silence Broken– it’s finally here! A limited supply of Graviola extract, grown and harvested by indigenous people in Brazil, is finally available in America.
Ed. Note: You can also find out more about Graviola & acquire it at:
There are some contraindications to use if you are on certain medications. Read about it first.
Cat’s Claw (Uña de gato)
Family: Rubiaceae Genus: Uncaria Species: tomentosa
Synonyms: Uncaria surinamensis, Nauclea aculeata, N. tomentosa, Ourouparia tomentosa
Parts Used: Bark, root, leaves
Cat’s claw is a large, woody vine that derives its name from hook-like thorns that grow along the vine that resemble the claws of a cat. Two closely-related species of Uncaria are used almost interchangeably in the rainforests: U. tomentosa and U. guianensis. Both species can reach over 30 m high into the canopy; however, U. tomentosa has small, yellowish-white flowers, while U. guianensis has reddish-orange flowers and thorns that are more curved. Cat’s claw is indigenous to the Amazon rainforest and other tropical areas of South and Central America, including Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Trinidad, Venezuela, Suriname, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Panama. There are other species of plants with a common name of cat’s claw (or uña de gato) in Mexico and Latin America; however, they derive from an entirely different plant—not belonging to the Uncaria genus, or even the Rubiaceae family. Several of the Mexican uña de gato varieties have toxic properties.
Both South American Uncaria species are used by the indigenous peoples of the Amazon rainforest in very similar ways and have long histories of use. Cat’s claw (U. tomentosa) has been used medicinally by the Aguaruna, Asháninka, Cashibo, Conibo, and Shipibo tribes of Peru for at least 2,000 years. The Asháninka Indian tribe in central Peru has the longest recorded history of use of the plant. They are also the largest commercial source of cat’s claw from Peru today. The Asháninka use cat’s claw to treat asthma and inflammations of the urinary tract; to recover from childbirth; as a kidney cleanser; to cure deep wounds; for arthritis, rheumatism, and bone pain; to control inflammation and gastric ulcers; and for cancer. Indigenous tribes in Piura use cat’s claw to treat tumors, inflammations, rheumatism, and gastric ulcers. Indian tribes in Colombia use the vine to treat gonorrhea and dysentery. Other Peruvian indigenous tribes use cat’s claw to treat diabetes, urinary tract cancer in women, hemorrhages, menstrual irregularity, cirrhosis, fevers, abscesses, gastritis, rheumatism, inflammations; for internal cleansing and tumors; and to “normalize the body.” Reportedly, cat’s claw has also been used as a contraceptive by several different tribes of Peru (but only in excessive dosages). Dr. Fernando Cabieses, M.D., a noted authority on Peruvian medicinal plants, explains in his book that the Asháninka boil 5 to 6 kilograms (about 12 pounds!) of the root in water until it is reduced to little more than 1 cup. This decoction is then taken 1 cup daily during the period of menstruation for three consecutive months, which supposedly causes sterility for three to four years.
With so many documented uses of this important rainforest plant, it is not surprising that it came to the attention of Western researchers and scientists. Studies began in the early 1970s when Klaus Keplinger, a journalist and self-taught ethnologist from Innnsbruck, Austria, organized the first definitive work on cat’s claw. Keplinger’s work in the 1970s and 1980s led to several extracts of cat’s claw being sold in Austria and Germany as herbal drugs, as well as the filing of four U.S. patents describing extraction procedures for a group of chemicals called oxindole alkaloids, and the immunostimulating actions of these alkaloids, found in cat’s claw. These novel oxindole alkaloids fueled worldwide interest in the medicinal properties of this valuable vine of the rainforest. Other independent researchers in Spain, France, Japan, Germany and Peru followed Keplinger—many of whom confirmed his research on the immunostimulating alkaloids in the vine and root. Many of these studies published from the late 1970s to early 1990s indicated that the whole oxindole alkaloid fraction, whole vine bark and/or root bark extracts, or six individually-tested oxindole alkaloids increased immune function by up to 50% in relatively small amounts. Independent Canadian researchers at the University of Ottawa documented that a whole vine extract demonstrated a strong immunostimulant effect in 1999. Independent Peruvian researchers demonstrated that a whole extract of the vine increased immune function in rats at a dosage of 400 mg/kg in a 1998 study. New, proprietary extracts of cat’s claw have been manufactured from 1999 to present day, and clinical studies have been published (funded by the manufacturers of these extracts) showing that these cat’s claw products continue to provide the same immune stimulating benefits as has been documented for almost 20 years.
But then matters surrounding cat’s claw muddied, as happens with market-driven research. A manufacturer of a cat’s claw extract funded a study around these immune-stimulating alkaloids. Their research indicated that, supposedly, two different types of cat’s claw (chemotypes) are growing in the rainforest, and/or that cat’s claw produces “good alkaloids” and “bad alkaloids.” It has coined the “good ones” pentacyclic (POA) and the “bad ones” tetracyclic (TOA) oxindole alkaloids. Its research attempts to prove that one set of “bad” alkaloids counteracts the immune benefits of the “good” alkaloids. Presumably, the presence of as little as 1% TOA content in a cat’s claw formulation would diminish the immunostimulant effect of the formulation by as much as 30%. This research has not been confirmed by independent researchers (that is, those who are not selling cat’s claw or being paid by companies selling cat’s claw). It would seek to discount or disprove all the definitive, independent research done over decades in Japan, Peru, Germany, Spain, and the U.S. (including the four U.S. patents filed by these same researchers). Much of the previous independent research was performed on whole oxindole extracts and whole root or vine extracts. This research documented the presence of both types of alkaloids in their analyses and extracts—all of which showed immune stimulant actions. Indeed, some of the “new research” refuted the marketer’s original (and confirmed) findings! As for the possibility of a “new chemotype”: a plant doesn’t change its chemical constituency in five years. Again, two species of cat’s claw exist— U. tomentosa and U. guianensis—with a similar phytochemical makeup but a different ratio of oxindole alkaloids. Admittedly (in the last 5–8 years), the presence of U. tomentosa has declined in the Peruvian rainforest by overharvesting. The lower-growing and easier-to-find guianensis variety is a common “adulterant” in many large lots of cat’s claw bulk material being exported out of South America today.
Cat’s claw has been used in Peru and Europe since the early 1990s as an adjunctive treatment for cancer and AIDS, as well as other diseases that target the immunological system. In addition to its immunostimulating activity, other in vitro anticancerous properties have been documented for these alkaloids and other constituents in cat’s claw. Five of the oxindole alkaloids have been clinically documented with in vitro antileukemic properties, and various root and bark extracts have demonstrated antitumorous and antimutagenic properties. Italian researchers reported in a 2001 in vitro study that cat’s claw directly inhibited the growth of a human breast cancer cell line by 90%, while another research group reported that it inhibited the binding of estrogens in human breast cancer cells in vitro. Swedish researchers documented it inhibited the growth of lymphoma and leukemia cells in vitro in 1998. Early reports on Keplinger’s observatory trials with cancer patients taking cat’s claw in conjunction with such traditional cancer therapies as chemotherapy and radiation reported fewer side effects to the traditional therapies (such as hair loss, weight loss, nausea, secondary infections, and skin problems). Subsequent researchers have shown how these effects might be possible: they have reported that cat’s claw can aid in DNA cellular repair and prevent cells from mutating; it also can help prevent the loss of white blood cells and immune damage caused by many chemotherapy drugs (a common side effect called leukopenia). Another significant area of study has focused on cat’s claw’s anti-inflammatory properties. While plant sterols (beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol, and campesterol) and antioxidant chemicals (catechins and procyanidins) found in cat’s claw account for some of these properties, new and novel phytochemicals called quinovic acid glycosides (found in the bark and roots) were documented to be the most potent antiinflammatory constituents of the plant (in 1991). This study and subsequent ones indicated that cat’s claw (and, especially, its glycosides) could inhibit inflammation from 46% and up to 89% in various in vivo and in vitro tests. The results of these studies validated its long history of indigenous use for arthritis and rheumatism, as well as for other types of inflammatory stomach and bowel disorders. It was also clinically shown to be effective against stomach ulcers in an in vivo rat study. Research in Argentina reports that cat’s claw is an effective antioxidant; other researchers in 2000 concluded that it is an antioxidant as well as a remarkably potent inhibitor of TNF alpha production. (TNF, or tumor necrosis factor, represents a model for tumor growth driven by an inflammatory cytokine.) Their research reported that the primary mechanism for cat’s claw’s anti-inflammatory action appears to be immunomodulation through the suppression of this cytokine. Researchers in the U.S. notably reported in 2002 that the anti-inflammatory actions of cat’s claw are not attributable to immunostimulating alkaloids. This would explain why a product comprised of mostly alkaloids showed only modest benefit to arthritis patients by another group studying (and selling) a special alkaloid preparation of cat’s claw.
This same group of anti-inflammatory glycoside chemicals also demonstrated in vitro antiviral properties in another earlier study. In addition to the immunostimulant alkaloids, cat’s claw contains the alkaloids rhynchophylline, hirsutine, and mitraphylline, which have demonstrated hypotensive and vasodilating properties. Rhynchophylline also has shown to inhibit platelet aggregation and thrombosis. It may also prevent blood clots in blood vessels and relax the blood vessels of endothelial cells, dilate peripheral blood vessels, lower the heart rate, and lower blood cholesterol. Some of the newer research indicates that cat’s claw might be helpful to people with Alzheimer’s disease which could be attributable to the antioxidant effects already confirmed or, possibly, the dilation of peripheral blood vessels in the brain by alkaloids such as rhynchophylline.
In herbal medicine today, cat’s claw is employed around the world for many different conditions including immune disorders, gastritis, ulcers, cancer, arthritis, rheumatism, rheumatic disorders, neuralgias, chronic inflammation of all kinds, and such viral diseases as herpes zoster (shingles). Dr. Brent Davis, D.C., refers to cat’s claw as the “opener of the way” for its ability to cleanse the entire intestinal tract and its effectiveness in treating stomach and bowel disorders (such as Crohn’s disease, leaky bowel syndrome, ulcers, gastritis, diverticulitis, and other inflammatory conditions of the bowel, stomach, and intestines). Dr. Julian Whitaker, M.D., reports using cat’s claw for its immune-stimulating effects, for cancer, to help prevent strokes and heart attacks, to reduce blood clots, and for diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome. The most common forms used today are cat’s claw capsules and tablets, which have become widely available in most health food stores at reasonable prices. There are also newer (and more expensive) proprietary extracts of cat’s claw in tablets and capsules—some backed by research (albeit paid-for research). A good-quality, natural cat’s claw vine bark with naturally-occurring chemicals is the best value, money-wise. It contains all the natural chemicals that nature provides in the proper ratio (including immune stimulating alkaloids, anti-inflammatory sterols and antioxidant glycosides) without laboratory adulteration. These invasive techniques may only extract one particular type of chemical, or change the complex ratio of naturally-occurring chemicals in herbal systems—which ignores the time-honored indigenous efficiency and synergy of the plant.
As the market demand has increased for this rainforest plant over the last five years, more companies have gone into the business of harvesting it and the quality of the bulk materials coming in from South America can be sometimes questionable. Oftentimes, a combination of both U. tomentosa and U. guianensis is harvested and sold as “cat’s claw” (as, presently, the guianensis species is found more easily). Pick a good quality and trusted label and manufacturer for the best results and the best value.
Documented Properties and Actions: Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antioxidant, antiproliferative, antitumorous, antiviral, cytoprotective, cytostatic, cytotoxic, depurative, diuretic, hypotensive, immunostimulant, immunomodulatory.
Phytochemicals: Ajmalicine, akuammigine, campesterol, catechin, chlorogenic acid, cinchonain, corynantheine, corynoxeine, daucosterol, epicatechin, harman, hirsuteine, hirsutine, iso-pteropodine, loganic acid, lyaloside, mitraphylline, oleanolic acid, palmitoleic acid, procyanidins, pteropodine quinovic acid glycosides, rhynchophylline, rutin, sitosterols, speciophylline, stigmasterol, strictosidines, uncarine A thru F, vaccenic acid.
Traditional Remedy: For general immune and health benefits, practitioners usually recommend 500 mg to 1 g daily of vine powder in tablets or capsules. Therapeutic dosages of cat’s claw are reported to be as high as 10 g daily. Generally, as a natural aid for arthritis, bowel, and digestive problems 3–5 g daily is recommended if a good product is obtained. Alternatively, a standard vine bark decoction can be used as well much the same way in indigenous people of the Amazon use it. Dosages for a standard decoction for general health and maintenance is 1/2–1 cup of a decoction once daily and up to 1 cup three times daily in times of special needs. Adding lemon juice or vinegar to the decoction when boiling will help extract more alkaloids and less tannins from the bark. Use about 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar per cup of water. For standardized and/or proprietary extract products, follow the label instructions.
Contraindications: Cat’s claw has been clinically documented with immunostimulant effects and is contraindicated before or following any organ or bone marrow transplant or skin graft.
Cat’s claw has been documented with antifertility properties and is contraindicated in persons seeking to get pregnant (this effect however has not been proven to be sufficient to be used as a contraceptive and should not be relied on for such).
Cat’s claw has been documented with chemicals which can reduce platelet aggregation and thin the blood. Check with your doctor first if you are taking coumadin or other blood thinning drugs and discontinue use one week to ten days prior to any major surgical procedure.
Two alkaloids in cat’s claw have been documented with hypotensive properties. Persons with low blood pressure or taking antihypertensive drugs should check with their doctor prior to taking this plant and use with caution. It’s best to monitor blood pressure levels accordingly as medications may need adjusting in some individuals depending on the amount of cat’s claw taken.
Cat’s claw requires sufficient stomach acid to help break down the tannins and alkaloids during digestion and to aid in absorption. Avoid taking bark capsules or tablets at the same time as antacids. Avoid taking high tannin (dark colored) liquid extracts directly by mouth and dilute first in water or acidic juice.
Large dosages of cat’s claw (3–4 gram dosages at a time) have been reported to cause some abdominal pain or gastrointestinal problems including diarrhea (due to the tannin content of the vine bark). The diarrhea or loose stools tend to be mild and go away with continued use. Discontinue use or reduce dosage if diarrhea persists longer than 3–4 days.
Drug Interactions: Due to its immunostimulant effects, cat’s claw should not be used with medications intended to suppress the immune system, such as cyclosporin or other medications prescribed following an organ transplant. (This theory has not been proven scientifically.) Based upon in vivo rat studies, cat’s claw may protect against gastrointestinal damage associated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. May potentiate coumadin and blood-thinning drugs. May potentiate antihypertensive drugs.
Ed. Note: You can also find out more about Cat’s Claw & acquire it at: www.puritanspride.com
Legal CMA Disclaimer:
Although this article may contain factual information, the information contained in this article has probably not been evaluated by the FDA nor is it in any way intended to be medical advice.
Unfortunately I must recommend that for any change in medical or health behavior or for any change in the way you use prescribed drugs by your healthcare providers or before acting upon any of the advice given in this or any other article, that you consult with your licensed healthcare provider or physician.
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