Dandelion has been used medicinally since ancient times for its various health benefits. However, the most powerful benefit to come out of this common weed is something that medical researchers are super excited to have “discovered” – which is its potential to cure cancer!
This potent root builds up blood and immune system- cures prostate, lung, and other cancers better than chemotherapy. According to Dr. Carolyn Hamm from the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre in Ontario, Canada, dandelion root extract was the only thing that helped with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. This form of cancer typically affects older adults.
John Di Carlo, who at the time was a 72-year old cancer patient at the hospital, was sent home to live out his final days after all efforts failed to treat his leukemia. He told CBC News that he was advised to drink dandelion root tea as a last ditch effort. Perhaps it should have been the first option offered in his treatment plan, as his cancer went into remission only four months later! His doctors attributed this to the dandelion tea that he drank.
Recent studies have shown that dandelion root extract can work very quickly on cancer cells, as was evidenced in Di Carlo’s case. Within 48 hours of coming into contact with the extract, cancerous cells begin to disintegrate. The body happily replaces these with healthy new cells.
Further studies have concluded that the extract also has anti-cancer benefits for other types of cancer, including breast, colon, prostate, liver, and lung cancer! Dandelion root tea may not taste as pleasant as other teas, but it’s certainly more pleasant than living with the side effects of chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
Traditional cancer therapies harm the immune system by killing all cells, even the healthy ones. Dandelion root has the opposite effect – it actually helps boost your immune system and only targets the unhealthy cells. It’s definitely a win-win situation!
Dr. Hamm warns, however, that dandelion root extract can negatively impact the effects of chemotherapy. It’s always best to consult with your doctor, and let them know any and all supplements or foods that you are consuming on a regular basis.
Screenshot via YouTube
Even if you don’t have cancer, eating the greens or drinking dandelion tea can still give you great health! For example, the roots and stems of dandelion can help fight diabetes. It does this by stimulating the pancreas to produce insulin, which in turn stabilizes the spikes in blood sugar levels.
If you suffer from digestive issues or need to get rid of toxins, dandelion tea may be just what the herbal medicine doctor ordered! The liver aids the digestive system by producing bile, and it also filters the blood of chemicals and other impurities. According to Dr. Axe, the vitamins and minerals found in dandelions can help cleanse the liver and keep it in tip top shape. So by supporting your liver, you are actually creating better health!
Dandelions are also high in antioxidants and vitamin C, which is crucial to helping your body fight off infections, such as the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections. If you suffer from frequent bouts of UTI, drinking dandelion tea on a daily basis may prevent it from happening ever again.
Dandelion greens are bitter, but completely edible – as long as you get it from an area that hasn’t been sprayed with chemicals. The greens are rich in fiber, which is great for intestinal health! High fiber diets have also been shown to reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.
The greens are also high in vitamin A – just one cup contains 100% of your recommended daily allowance. Vitamin A is critical for maintaining healthy vision, and it can also prevent premature aging of the skin.
Since you probably aren’t likely to eat an entire cup of bitter greens on its own, you can incorporate it into a morning smoothie. Just blend it up with your favorite fruit, which will offset the bitter taste.
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Researchers are using algorithms and machine learning to tackle the disease
Microsoft is working towards fighting cancer using computer science such as machine learning and algorithms.
By treating cancer like an information processing system, Microsoft researchers are able to adapt tools typically used to model computational processes to model biological ones.
Ultimately, the company hopes to create molecular computers to program the body to fight cancer cells immediately after detection.
“We are trying to change the way research is done on a daily basis in biology,” said Jasmin Fisher, a senior researcher who works in the programming principles and tools group in the Microsoft’s research lab in Cambridge.
This is combined with a data-driven approach; putting machine learning at the core of Microsoft’s attempts to try to tackle the disease. The company wants to take the biological data that is available and use analysis tools to better understand and treat the disease.
“I think it’s a very natural thing for Microsoft to be looking at because we have tremendous expertise in computer science and what is going on in cancer is a computational problem,” Chris Bishop, director of the Cambridge-based lab, told WIRED.
“It’s not just an analogy, it’s a deep mathematical insight. Biology and computing are disciplines which seem like chalk and cheese but which have very deep connections on the most fundamental level.”
For instance, machine learning and natural language processing are being used to provide a way to sort through the research data available, which can then be given to oncologists to create the most effect and individualized cancer treatment for patients.
At the moment, there is so much data available, it is impossible for a person to go through and understand it all. Machine learning can process the information much faster than humans and make it easier to understand.
Machine learning is also being paired with computer vision to give radiologists a more detailed understanding of how a patient’s tumor is progressing. Researchers are working on a system that could eventually evaluate 3D scans by analyzing pixels to tell the radiologist exactly how much a tumor has grown, shrunk or changed shape since the last scan.
Andrew Phillips, head of the biological computation research group at the Cambridge Lab said researchers benefit from Microsoft’s history as a software innovator.
“We can use methods that we’ve developed for programming computers to program biology, and then unlock even more applications and even better treatments,” he said.
Phillips is working to create a molecular computer that could be put inside a cell to monitor for disease. If the sensor detected a disease, such as cancer, it would activate a response to fight it.
Research such as this would also use traditional computing and re-purpose it into medical or biotechnology applications, so the body could be programmed to fight a disease, in the way we program a computer to do something.
Though the research is still in the early stages, Phillips told The Telegraph it could be technically possible to put in a smart molecular system to fight a disease in this way, in “five to 10 years time”.
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March 4, 2015 – Clearwater, Florida, U.S. – JIM DAMASKE | Times.An opened capsule containing Kratom. – Following the recent crackdown on prescription and synthetic drugs across the state, authorities are now focusing on controlling an herbal supplement that is legal in Florida and believed to elicit the same effects of some narcotics. Made from the crushed leaves of a tree growing in southeast Asia, Kratom comes in pills as well as powder that can be added to tea, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. It is legal in most states except Indiana and Tennessee. Florida might be next in outlawing Kratom: State Rep. Kristin Jacobs filed legislation in January that would make the supplement a controlled substance. (Credit Image: © Jim Damaske/Tampa Bay Times/ZUMA Wire)
Forty-five years after the drug war was declared by President Richard Nixon, the United States leads the world in both recreational drug usage and incarceration rates. Heroin abuse rates continue to soar. Drug-related violence in our nation’s cities and cartel wars in Latin America exact horrific tolls.
And then there is the ever-present bully on the block, prescription drug abuse. More than two million Americans have become hooked on the pharmaceuticals that doctors prescribe to ease their pain. Opioids—both legal and illicit—killed a mind-boggling 28,647 people in 2014.
But not to worry: The Drug Enforcement Administration is on the case. “To avoid an imminent hazard to public safety,” the agency said in a press release, it will be adding kratom, a medicinal herb that has been used safely in Southeast Asia for centuries, to its list of Schedule 1 substances, placing the popular botanical in a class with killers like heroin and cocaine at the end of September.
Why ban the mild-mannered tree leaf? Well, because the DEA claims it’s an opioid with “no currently accepted medical use.” Wrong on both counts.
Pharmacologists label kratom as an alkaloid, not an opioid. True, kratom stimulates certain opioid receptors in the brain. But then, so does drinking a glass of wine, or running a marathon.
Kratom is less habit-forming than classic opioids like heroin and the pharmaceutical oxycodone, and its impact on the brain is weaker and more selective. Nevertheless, the herb’s ability to bind loosely with certain opioid receptors makes it a godsend for addicts who want to kick their habits. Kratom is currently helping wean thousands of Americans off illegal drugs and prescription pain relievers, without creating any dangerous long term dependency.
The powdered leaves are readily available from scores of herb sellers on the Internet. Since the ban was announced in late August, websites and social media have exploded with accounts from people who credit the plant with saving them from lives of addiction and chronic pain.
Take, for example, Virginia native Susan Ash. She was using Suboxone to help cope with severe joint pain resulting from Lyme disease. “My life was ruled by the clock—all I could think was, ‘when do I take my next dose,’” Ash says. Then someone suggested she try kratom to help kick her addiction to the prescription pain killer. “In two weeks time, I went from being a bed-bound invalid to a productive member of society again.
She founded the American Kratom Society in 2014 to help keep this herbal lifeline legal. Ash says that tens of thousands of people use kratom not just to help with chronic pain, but also to alleviate depression and to provide relief from PTSD. She strongly disputes that users like herself are simply exchanging one addictive drug for another.
“I have never had a craving for kratom,” Ash says. “You can’t compare it to even the mildest opiate. It simply won’t get you high.”
What it might do, users say, is slightly tweak your mood. The leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa tree, a biological relative of coffee, have been chewed for centuries in Southeast Asia by farmers to increase their stamina. Kratom is gently euphoric and also relaxing—think coffee without the jitters and sleeplessness. It is hard to take toxic levels of the herb, since larger doses induce nausea and vomiting.
But does it provide medical benefits? Dr. Walter Prozialeck, chair of the Department of Pharmacology at Midwestern University in Downers Grove, Illinois, who conducted a survey of the scant medical literature on kratom, says the herb did indeed help to relieve pain in animal studies.
While no clinical trials have yet been done with humans, addicts in Thailand and Malaysia have used kratom for decades to detox from heroin and alcohol. It was so successful in getting people off opium that Thailand banned kratom in 1943 to stem the loss of the opium taxes that funded the government.
Nobody knows how many are using kratom here in the US. “There are so many testimonials out there [from kratom users] on the Internet that I personally found quite compelling,” Dr. Prozialeck says. “This merits further study.”
But study has proven difficult. Dr. Edward Boyer, director of toxicology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, says that when he tried to conduct research on kratom, potential partners told him, “we don’t fund drugs of abuse.” Drug companies have shown sporadic interest in isolating the active constituents in kratom since the 1960s, he says, but no pharmaceuticals have yet been developed from them.
Given the current opioid crisis, Boyer hopes researchers will dive deeper into the plant’s pharmacology. “Wouldn’t it be great to have an analgesic that will relieve your pain and not kill you?” Boyer notes that kratom is free from the potentially deadly side effects like respiratory failure that have bedeviled prescription opioids.
However, drug companies have shown little interest in a plant remedy that cannot be patented. While some of kratom’s active ingredients have indeed been patented by researchers who hope one day to market them to pharmaceutical firms, Boyer said that these compounds have failed to exhibit as powerful pain-killing effects as the whole plant. “There is something in there that we don’t yet understand,” he added.
And if the DEA’s ban goes into effect, we may never understand kratom’s remarkable potential. That’s because the federal action would have a chilling effect on research, according to Boyer.
The DEA claims that kratom is addictive. Since you can get hooked on most anything— even coffee or chocolate, as Dr. Boyer pointed out, this claim is both relatively meaningless and also hard to dispute. Users report that withdrawal symptoms from kratom are comparable to giving up coffee—a few days of irritability, perhaps a headache.
In issuing its scheduling notice, the DEA said that the Centers for Disease Control received 660 complaints about kratom (including reports of constipation and vomiting) between 2010 to 2015, out of 3 million calls annually reporting adverse reactions to assorted other foods and drugs. To put this number in perspective, the National Poison Data System registers more than 3,700 calls about caffeine annually, every year leading to multiple overdoses that result in death.
“This hardly constitutes a public health emergency,” says Susan Ash. “They definitely get more calls about energy drinks.”
In banning kratom, the DEA dispensed with the usual public comment period. Advocates, however, refuse to be silenced. They plan to challenge the DEA’s action in court and are marching on the White House on September 13. A petition urging President Barack Obama to reverse the ban has surpassed the 100,000 signature mark which, by law, requires a personal response from the president.
“There is a cheap plant out there that’s helping people getting off opioids,” Ash says, “and now so many are going to be forced back into active addiction, or made a prey to black market drug dealers.”
What if, instead of turning tens of thousands of law-abiding Americans into either addicts or felons, the DEA listened to those who have used kratom successfully to kick their addictions and manage chronic pain? Instead of banning the herb, why not draft some sensible regulation to establish dosage and labelling requirements and to protect consumers from adulterated product?
And while they are at it, America’s drug agency should sponsor some long overdue scientific research into a substance that may be the best thing going to combat our runaway epidemic of opioid addiction.
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