|Traditional Medicinal Plants (Dar Es Salaam University Press - Ministry of Health - Tanzania, 1991, 391 p.)|
|PART III: THE USE AND PROMOTION OF TRADITIONAL MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE LATIN AMERICAN REGION|
Jardin Etnobotanics, Via Tres Picos
Cumana 6101, Venezuela
An urgent need is felt for a conceptual change in the modern scientific approach to health problems. Tropical herbs have been used for ages in food and remedies, either to prevent, maintain, or cure ailments. The modern views neglect, if not dismiss, the ancient experience of the peoples from the tropics in this regard. A change is also required in scientific attitude in general towards a holistic view of human values. Eight cases of different kinds of cancer are cited to illustrate the effectiveness of the method presented by the author in this paper.
The abundance of tropical flora, qualitatively and quantitatively, provide ample opportunity for use of these materials ready for consumption. Correct deployment of these resources has been established through appropriate practical experience and information available from scientific literature, or traditional sources. From this evidence thousands of plant species could be useful for human needs. However, just by the proper use of a few dozens of these plants, along with some life-style changes, we could do a great deal in maintaining good health, preventing diseases, or even curing the human being if necessary.
In order to attain such results a few conceptual changes are indispensable. These are as follows: (a) no natural product should be discarded as garbage or weed just because we do not know its use; (b) food is required by the human being for living and maintenance of good health, proper growth, repair of wear and tear and elimination of toxic residues; (c) proper living habits should be observed to prevent any possible alteration of health; (d) whenever one is ill, adequate food and living habits need to be complemented by corrective measures; (e) totality is always more than the sum of its constituent parts; and (f) human values should view human well-being as the goal and economic values as the means.
All these principles when applied to the correct use of tropical resources, should lead to the self-reliance and self-sufficiency of tropical people to meet their health needs. The excess national production of raw materials could then be used for international exchange to meet the requirements of the national economy, which cannot be met through its own resources.
Other aspects of the new conceptual framework which should be highlighted are:
(a) The structural diversity and functional dynamism of the human organism permit its progressive development and expression of its vital force, in space and time. Such vitality can so far, only be felt, but owing to the absence of criteria and parameters, cannot yet be measured.
(b) Cells, tissues, organs and such other structural delimitations serve as more objects for analysis and descriptive purposes. In a living organism with vital dynamism, these units are-constantly inter-related and harmoniously interdependent. Therefore, the organism, for functional purposes, should be considered a synthetic whole.
(c) The technical names, descriptions, etymology and such other attributes of diseases serve for communication among professionals, but do not express the state of affairs of the individual, since they fail to recognize the inherent uniqueness of each individual.
(d) The human body produces toxic substances during life processes. Depending upon the nature of their structure or functional alterations such poisons get accumulated further. Moreover, proportional to the quality and quantity of undigested food products more toxins are added on to the system. The chemically pure or synthetically produced pharmaceutical products, when consumed, add yet further toxins to the organism.
(e) An isolated active principle may have specific action, reaction, interaction or final effects on a particular organ, tissue or cell. But its total effect on every organ, tissue or cell can never be known. Most of the time the collateral (side) effects of such active principles do more harm than good by adding more toxins directly to the human system.
(f) Some of many active principles, elements or substances in a given natural product may have been analytically studied through specialized instrument, in spite of the fact that the total number of ingredients of every natural product remain unknown. Thus, the quality and quantity of any isolated substance is conditioned by the uncertainty of the whole.
(g) When used as a whole, with the least chemical processing, a given natural product will have maximum action, reaction, interaction and final effects on the organism as a single unit with cumulative benefits.
(h) By regulating the food and breathing habits it is possible to rectify, depending on the extent of the damage caused by the internal interference, any human disease and restore the normal vitality of the organism.
Illustrations of cancer cases
1. Conceptual framework for treatment
In recent decades technological advances have enormously helped modern methods of analysis to diagnose cancer symptoms, both in precision and rapidity. However, in spite of this and a dedicated technical manpower, the causal factor and the exact nature of cancer, remain to be ascertained. It is possible to distinguish more than 200 types of cancer from symptoms alone. As stated earlier on, with all the instrumental analysis, all the components of every natural product are yet to be publicized.
However, in traditional medicine persons with cancerous diseases have been cured using plant extracts irrespective of their analysis in "scientific language". These results have been possible through the following line of thinking:
Always considering the organism as a single unit for all cases of cancer three phases are distinguished for practical purposes: intoxication, inflammation, and ulceration (externally visible or not). In some cases, however, degeneration has to be considered as a fourth phase. From the author's own blend of practical application each phase can be treated with natural products, to obtain very satisfactory results in the following manners:
Solid, liquid and gaseous substances, or energy, are the different types of toxins accumulated in the body. Extra fibre in food eliminates some of these toxins. Tubers of the common "weed" sedgegrass (i.e., Cyperus rotundus Linn., of the Family Cyperaceae), taken in the form of water extracts eliminate some more wastes. Fresh juice of inflorescence axis (the portion within the 'false stem' immediately after harvests of the banana or plantain (i.e. Musa x paradisiaca Linn., of the family Musaceae), taken once, twice or up to six times a day, about 250 ml each time, eliminate toxins from the body. On the other hand the intake of extra liquid produces additional urination, and hence morning time is best for such intake, for if taken at night it disturbs the sleep. This process does not permit the expression of the so-called metastasis.
(ii) Elimination of inflammation
A water extract (decoction) of the fresh leaves and/or stem bark of the Ben tree (also known as 'Drumstick' (Moringa oleifera (/L.) Lam., Family Moringaceae), about 30 ml each time, 3 to 4 times a day eliminates the inflammation (hence produces pain relief) in tissues and organs and at the same time helps to increase the haemoglobin content of the body.
(iii) Elimination of ulceration
A water extract (decoction) of the fresh leaves and/or stem bark of the pride of India (Melia azedarach Linn., Family Meliaceae), about 30 ml each time, 3 to 4 times a day eliminates the ulceration by helping disinfection and wound healing. Further, it helps the liver to get back to its normal functioning. Whenever necessary other herbs may be added to obtain specific effects.
In all these three steps the following precautions should be borne in mind: (a) the duration of each process may vary according to the severity of the illness, the vitality of the patient and the patient's general condition; (b) whenever required, honey may be added to sweeten the extracts so that assimilation is quicker; and, (c) additional information on earlier mentioned plant resources is found in Appendix I (after conclusions).
One drop per day of diluted Royal jelly (1-1.5% dissolved in 100 ml of honey and homogenized) helps regeneration or reconstitution of damaged cells.
As regards to this step the following precautions should be taken into account: (a) royal jelly is a very delicate and sensitive product of the bee hive which deteriorates easily on exposure to the air; (b) in order to maintain its effectiveness it is dissolved in honey so that it may be used for another three months, only from that moment. After three months its therapeutic value diminishes; (c) since it contains active principles of several kinds, its use should be supervised professionally.
To ensure a permanent cure, a rich but fat-free natural diet is compulsory, along with obvious complementary living habits such as keeping away from tobacco, alcohol, chemicals, or natural stimulants, strenuous physical exercises, and similar activities.
2. Case Studies
The following case studies are presented as representative samples on the successful application of the treatment.
Case 1.A: female (about 36 years, bank executive)
Both breasts were removed surgically, the biopsy had revealed malignant tumour. After a few months ovaries had to be removed for the same reason. Then the hormonal imbalance in the body was so much that the patient was bed ridden. Then the medical advice was to remove the supra renals. This however would not ensure her recovery. She received, at this stage treatment under (i) and (iv) alone, as described in the previous section. Owing to the removal of the organs there was no need for (ii) and (iii). The patient responded well. In about three weeks she started to walk around the house. One month later she was able to attend to her office normally. Frequently she takes the treatment as a precaution, but otherwise, she has been fully recovered.
Case 2.A: male (about 56 years, surveyor)
Gastrointestinal disorders required x-ray check up of the colon, rectoscopy and biopsy of the tissues. The diagnosis was adenocarcinoma of the rectum, localized at about 8 cm from the anus. Due to its location electro-fulguration of the tumour through the rectum was carried out in July 1975. Rectosigmoidal examination revealed tumour repeatedly, after several surgeries (in Aug. 75, Oct. 75, Jan. 76, March 76 and Oct. 1976). In April 1976, and to some extent also in October of the same year, a complete course of treatment (i, ii, iii and iv) was taken. On 1st June 1977 another check-up revealed no trace of the tumour. The following annual check ups have revealed that everything is normal.
Case 3.A: male (about 26 years, writer, unmarried)
Owing to pain and weakness in the body he was admitted in the hospital for check up. On blood test, his hemoglobin count was as low as 4.5 gram%, with stiff lymphatic vessel. Immediate blood transfusion as well as drainage was recommended by specialists. The patient refused any such treatment, and voluntarily went home. Took all the four steps of the treatment (i, ii, iii and iv) for about 20 days upon which he was able to move about without body pains. Continued the treatment for a period of two months. A new blood test revealed a 12 g% hemoglobin and the lymph vessel had softened. Since August 1976 attends his normal duties and has taken to farming.
Case 4.A: female (about 52 years, housewife, mother of three)
In September 1976, on a routine check-up and cytological studies, abnormal cells at the cervical region of the uterus were found. Total hysterectomy was suggested. In view of the patient being physically weak the operation was postponed. Meanwhile she went on with treatment (i, ii and iii only) for a period of three months. Then she was physically fit for an operation but on a pre- operational check-up there was no abnormality whatsoever. The patient returned home. Later on she improved on her food and living habits too and now she can tell her experience to people who visit her. For safety sake she gets annual check-ups to ensure that everything is under control.
Case 5.A: male about (35 years, worker)
On December 11, 1980, a computerised scan followed by a microscopic observation revealed a liomiosarcoma of the right kidney, with five metastatic lymphatic ganglia infiltration combined with moderately differentiated liomiosarcoma infiltration in the perirenal fat. The kidney was promptly removed, x-ray and chemotherapy were initiated. Due to physical weakness the patient could no longer withstand that treatment. Then he took our treatment, including steps i, ii, and iii, complemented by the consumption of some other natural resources for a period of four months. A new check-up revealed no signs of the disease. He has remained on that normal condition since 1981.
Case 6.A: female (about 54 years, housewife with 3 children)
Multiple mioloma was determined after extensive studies at different clinics and laboratories, including the Mayo Clinic in the U.S.A. Several blood transfusions and chemotherapy were given. Then in September, 1985, it turned out to be a terminal case. She followed meticulously all the four steps of the treatment along with other natural resources. After one full year she has retained her health with no more transfusions nor chemotherapy. However, on a precautionary measure she takes the herbs once in a while.
Case 7.A: male (about 65 years, politician)
After the operation and being under steroids for some time a routine check-up revealed prostate cancer. Computerised scanning revealed metastasis in all bones. Since it was a terminal case arrangements were being made for a simpler last rite. But then from April 1985 was put under the above mentioned treatment for six months. Improvements were limited but significant. On discontinuing cortisones and repeating the steps i, ii, iii and iv of treatment for another six months, he got cured completely as evidenced by a new computerised scanning in 1986. He continues to enjoy good health and is writing his experience in a book, soon to be published.
Case 8. A: male (about 68 years, cardiologist)
In February 1988 an echosonogram of abdomen revealed pancreatic tumour, with laboratory tests showing a hyperglycemia 150; as well as cholesterol 320 and triglycerides, 220 mg. An exploratory laparotomy on March 9th, 1988 revealed neoplasic tumouration of the pancreas with possible hepatic participation. Biopsy confirmed adenocarcinoma of the pancreas. No remedies were possible as it was a terminal case. On 15th March, 1988 he was subjected to steps i, ii, iii and iv, with some additional natural supplements. By October 1988 all was well. By December 1988 glycemea was at 205; cholesterol at 180, triglycerides at 100 and all other physical and chemical tests indicated normal values. He has continued to lead a retired, but normal life ever since.
From the eight cases and other similar ones it is logical to conclude that: cancer abnormality is a local/general response of the body cells, tissues or organs by way of abnormal behaviour, owing to a generalised intoxication all over the body, the expression being located in a limited area or spread all over. The cause is the accumulation of toxins (solids, liquids, gases or energies) produced within, due to structural and/or functional defects, or incorporated from outside through inadequate food or breathing leading to respective symptoms. In every case cure has been possible through herbal remedies in the following manner: (a) by locating and rectifying the factor responsible for such intoxication; (b) detoxifying at the earliest, through appropriate natural resources and at the same time, in no way, adding more toxins into the system; (c) whenever necessary, the secondary symptoms are eliminated; and (d) regeneration of cells or tissues (when the corresponding organ is intact) to the maximum extent possible, is facilitated. A similar approach is possible for any other bodily illness in order to restore human well-being, through herbal healing.
Cyperus rotundus Linn., Family Cyperaceae (Nutgrass, Sedge-grass)
Scientists consider this to be the "worst weed" in about 92 tropical countries. This highly resistant plant develops tubers at regular intervals in the profusely branched underground network, where, from each tuber, an aerial shoot grows out ending in an inflorescence. In a fertile sandy soil the tubers grow bigger and tasty. Although available round the year, the tubers are well developed when the aerial shoots start drying up. With improved methods, better harvesting is possible. Since this tuber can be used for food and medicine, and the plant grows as an abundant weed, this serves as a good example of a generous natural product, easily available for use. The clean tubers may be used as such, or dried under shade, powdered and packed for use. The abundance of this resource is not taken advantage of, probably because of ignorance of its beneficial properties.
Melia azedarach Linn., Family Meliaceae (Pride of India, China tree).
In the tropics, this tree reaches a height of about 8 - 10 m. It normally branches for a dense crown which may bend downwards. The berries turn brown when dry. The lilac flowers in inflorescence, form a delicately perfumed bouquet. The reddish tinged tender leaves turn dark-green and when dry, turn brown. The compound leaves and the stem bark may be used fresh or dried in the shade, and kept in dry places duly packed. The presence of a bitter principle repels insects and microbes. Therefore, these leaves may be dried and mixed with food grains under storage for their protection. A decoction of the leaves and/or bark may be used for washing ulcers and disinfecting wounds. Every fruit carries four seeds which germinate when fresh.
Moringa oleifera (Linn.) Lam., Family Moringaceae (Ben tree, "Drum Stick" Tree):
A soft-wooded tropical tree reaching 15 - 20 in height under favourable conditions. May be pruned heavily every three months. New shoots grow quickly and establish a beautiful crown. The tender leaves, or fresh leaves flower buds, flowers and tender fruits are all useful for culinary delicacies. The compound leaves and stem bark may be used fresh, or shade-dried for remedies. The winged seeds yield an oil (Ben oil), formerly used in watch repairs. Cut branches may be used for live hedges and fences either in large or small areas. Multiplication is possible both through seeds and cuttings especially from older branches.
Musa x paradisiaca Linn., Family Musaceae (Banana, Plantain):
A tropical giant in all respects which requires fertile humid soils. Among hundreds of varieties of banana, only those which have agreeable taste alone are used. Normally the farmer cuts down the pseudostem once the harvest is done. Instead of dumping it into garbage this natural product may be used in food and remedy. The pseudostem may be cut into convenient, say 1 in. bits, and kept in a cool shady place. Whenever required the outer layers are peeled off to expose the whitish solid central core. This may be cooked and eaten as a vegetable. Juice may be obtained by crushing this core. Lemon juice and honey may be added to the juice to make it pleasant. Once extracted the juice must be consumed immediately since a relatively short exposure to air would destroy its beneficial properties. The pseudostem of the banana tree is another good example of natural resources not, utilised fully because of ignorance.
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De Freites, C., Liria de Cifre & Frank Brancho. (1987). Guia del Buen Comer Editorial Texto, Caracas, Venezuela, 282 pp.