Chichirika plant, or pink periwinkle bearing flowers
Duhat is anti-cancer and anti-Alzheimer's
Medicinal plants in the Philippines that remedy diabetes and cancer
Rural folks in the Philippines have been using medicinal plants to remedy diabetes. More and more Filipinos are using herbs to prevent and remedy various diseases.
The University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) in Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines, ran a scientific test on some of them, like garlic, mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla King), and banaba (Lagerstroemia speciosa L.) to verify claims of their efficacy. ((Alban et al. Cytogenetic effects of selected plants known to treat diabetes on human leukocytes. The Philippine Agricultural Scientist. March 2002, vol. 85, no. 1:19-24).
Mahogany and banaba were able to prevent cell division in blood cells. That means they can prevent the growth of the cell. They induced aberrations or mutations in the chromosomes.
Banaba has glukinins which are insulin-like substances. Glukinins are less potent than that of pancreatic insulin (Lust, J. N.D. and M. Tierra, C.A., O.M.D. The Natural Remedy Bible.1990:157). I tried to take banaba tea. My taking it is ill advised because I have hypoglycemia. I just wanted to experience its effect. True enough, it made may hypoglycemia worse because it draws out glucose from my blood stream leaving too little for energy. I stopped taking banaba tea, satisfied of its efficacy.
Garlic extract, on the other hand, did not prevent cell division or cause chromosome aberrations. Such an effect may not be good for the remedy of diabetes but good for the control of cancer. The researchers reported, to wit:
"Either the concentrations (of garlic) used were not potent enough to induce changes in the chromosome structure or the sulfur compounds in garlic, in addition to selenium-containing compounds, are potent antioxidants that protect the membranes and DNA from damage (Holladay 1999)."
Garlic has a reputation of preventing or reducing cancer. (I have a Hub on how garlic reduces cancer). In natural situations, the damage in cell membranes and DNA is inflicted by free radicals. (More of this below).
The seed of mahogany is ingested. Banaba leaves may be prepared as decoction (tea) or powdered.
Efficacy is shown in their ability to prevent cell division and cause changes (mutations) in the chromosomes of a human being.
Other herbs tested by UPLB were duhat (Sysygium cumini L.) chichirica, damong maria (Artemisia vulgaris L.) and charantia or bitter gourd (Momordica charantia L.). These caused aberrations in chromosomes and prevented cell division or growth of cell. (Mendioro, M.S. et al. Cytogenetic effects of medicinal plants for diabetes mellitus on human leukocytes culture in vitro. The Philippine Agricultural Scientist. vol. 64. no.1:58-64).
Chichirica (pink periwinkle) has an active ingredient called vinealeukoblastine known to prevent leukemia (cancer of the blood). Chichirica leaf extract is anticancer; duhat fruit pulp is eaten raw or sun-dried; bitter gourd is a vegetable. There is another variety of chichirica that bears white flowers.The ability to prevent cell division and cause mutation in chromosome may be good in cancer prevention.
Duhat has been used by rural folks to prevent cancer. The pulp of the fruit contains antioxidants, specifically anthocyanin.(See picture of duhat above). Anthocyanin is also anti-Alzheimer's disease. It chelates aluminum fibers that also contribute to Alzheimer's.
It has been found that those with Alzheimer's have tangles of aluminum fibers in their brain cells and blood. Treatment with chelation therapy consisting of EDTA (ethylene-diamine-tetra-acetate) as main ingredient has been found to remedy Alzheimer's (Cranton, E. Bypassing Bypass. Updated second edition. 1995). EDTA is a chelator that binds with and removes minerals like calcium, copper, iron, mercury, lead, and aluminum. it is used to treat lead poisoning.
Noni (Morinda citrifolia L) is another plant that has a reputation of being anti-diabetic. There are several brand names of juice and capsules of this plant.
The test was done in test tubes (in vitro). The method, karyotyping, is called human peripheral blood culture technique using drops of human blood. This test is used in screening herbs for use on other diseases like cancer, diarrhea, and cholera. The test shows mutations in the chromosomes of cells like gaps, shortening, thickening, and breakage. and failure of the cell to grow by cell division.
These tests attest to the wisdom of our folks who have mostly relied on the arbularyo or folk herbalist. The use of herbal remedies is like that of vaccination. Pasteur and Koch applied vaccination against rabies and tuberculosis without knowledge of its mechanism which was discovered only later on. It is also like the administration of nitroglycerin (Isordil, Imdur) to alleviate angina and prevent heart attack. For a long time, the mechanism of nitroglycerin had not been explained until pioneering researches came along.
Robert Furchgott discovered a messenger that induces the dilation of endothelium, the inner wall of the artery, and called it endothelium-derived relaxation factor (EDRF); Ferid Murad discovered that nitroglycerin produces nitric oxide; Louis Ignarro found that EDRF and nitric oxide are the same. They shared the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1998.
The endothelium releases nitric oxide that induces the artery to dilate making the passage of blood easier. Now, nitric oxide is a gas, and a free radical with two forms, NO- and NO+. NO is made by nitric oxide synthase, an enzyme, from arginine, an amino acid. Unfortunately an artery with an injury, like occlusion or plaque, can hardly make NO.
"When the lining of the coronary arteries is damaged by atherosclerosis, much less EDRF is produced, so the arteries tend to constrict and reduce coronary blood flow" (Ornish, D., MD Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease.1996:74). That's why the need to supplement nitric oxide, which nitroglycerin supplies.
Scientific basis of medicinal plants
I believe that the use of medicinal plants has a scientific basis, and that is the free radical theories of disease. I have identified and elaborated 28 theories so far which will be incorporated in a book I am co-authoring with Dr. Arturo V. Estuita, a cardiologist and chelationist.
These theories start with oxygen that has 8 electrons. Electrons follow a path called orbital in their spin around the nucleus. The first orbital closest to the nucleus is designated K occupied by two electrons that pair up. The second orbital is designated L occupied by 4 electrons that pair up. The L orbital can accommodate 6 electrons but the last two electrons do not pair up. They repel each other, a property that is unique to oxygen. Each spins separately around the nucleus; their spin is parallel. The third orbital is designated M which is empty. (We will not explain here when this orbital is occupied). The last two unpaired electrons are free that make the oxygen atom a free radical, indicated as O2-. These free unpaired electrons are unstable and to stabilize themselves they grab another electron that belong to a molecule of a tissue. That grabbing results in injury to the molecule; if that of DNA, that injury will result in tumor or cancer.
Two atoms of oxygen are joined together by six electrons. But the formerly free unpaired electron of each oxygen atom are retained. Only this time, they spin in parallel directions around the whole molecule which is now called molecular oxygen or oxygen molecule indicated as O22-. The above discussion actually elaborates a theory of the molecular oxygen.
These two unpaired electrons make the molecular oxygen a free radical. Molecular oxygen, which our body normally uses, can grab two other electrons one at a time owing to their parallel direction. The tissue whose molecule had been robbed of electron is injured resulting in tumor or cancer or emphysema. These last three sentences are statements of facts that converge into an interpretation of disease.
So now, you can see that the theory of molecular oxygen explains how a disease comes about. That is why it is called a theory of free radical disease. There are several theories related to oxygen that are labeled as free radical theories of disease.
Medicinal plants are mostly used as antioxidants that satisfy the hunger for electrons of free radicals. The interpretation that free radicals cause disease was inaugurated by Dr. Denham Harman, MD in 1962 yet (Cranton, E., MD and A. Brecher. Bypassing Bypass. 1984). Conventional medicine knows free radicals as by-products of metabolism, of glucose to produce energy, for example. That is superoxide; that has one free unpaired electron. This free electron, to stabilize itself, will grab another electron of another molecule belonging to a tissue that results in injury that graduates into cancer or heart disease or emphysema or diabetes.
When a free electron of a free radical is looking for a partner and an antioxidant is around, it will get that electron of the antioxidant. One reason is the antioxidant is free floating, not attached or a part of a tissue which is hard to get. It is the electron of the hydrogen that is the easiest for the free radicals to grab because its binding strength to its partner (proton) is only 5% that of other bonds like ionic and covalent bonds. Vitamin C has 8 hydrogen atoms, therefore, 8 electrons to donate; vitamin E (alpha tocopherol) has 37 hydrogen atoms, therefore, 37 electrons to donate. Antioxidants are a sacrificial offering in that they die once they had donated electrons, except the built-in enzyme antioxidants like superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, and catalase. Vitamin E is recycled by vitamin C; vitamin C is recycled by NADH; however, they are not recycled 100%.
When conventional medicine fails
Conventional medicine has tried in vain to explain cancer, for example, in terms of the germ theory of disease that is why it calls cancer "non-communicable". Colds, is communicable because it is caused by a germ, a virus. But cancer is not caused by a germ but by free radicals that is why it is not communicable.
The free radical theories of disease explain the efficacy of medicinal plants to prevent, treat and cure diseases. That explanation is long overdue, if only for the sake of the arbularyo who has been derided by some quarters as quack. What we need is modern research to definitely identify the active agents of medicinal plants, their effects and how they work. A research done in University of the Philippines, Manila found that noni juice, tea and capsule (as low as 2.5% concentration) killed colon cancer cells (De Guzman, T.L., R. Embuscado, B. Monte, Maria T. Valdez. A Preliminary study on the in vitro anti-cancer potential of the commercial preparation and decoction of Morinda citrifolia." UP Manila Journal , 2004.vol.9:42-53). And, more importantly, for the sake of people who have relied on herbal medicine.
Ultimate cause of diabetes
The ultimate causes of diabetes, type 1 or type 2, are free radicals. The beta cells of the pancreas that secrete insulin have very low amount of antioxidants (American Diabetes Association Complete Guide to Diabetes.1996:21).
"Researchers believe that some people have weak free radical defenses in these beta cells, and that free radical damage to DNA in beta cells, resulting in dysfunction or cell death, cause maturity-onset diabetes" (Sharma, H., MD. Freedom from Disease. 1993:93).
A child whose pancreas had been attacked so early in his life develops diabetes type 1 or insulin-dependent diabetes. Persons whose pancreas had been attacked late in their life develop diabetes type 2 (adult-onset). When the pancreas is attacked by virus, the immune system comes to its rescue that also results in an unintended, bad effect. The macrophage, a component of the immune system, shoots infections with free radicals used like bullets (Cranton, E., MD and A. Brecher. Bypassing Bypass. 1984). Macrophages shoot the virus and infected beta cells with nitric oxide (a gas free radical), kill the virus but also inflict damage on healthy beta cells.
When about 90% of the beta cells had been destroyed the symptoms of Type I show up. Victims need insulin therapy for the rest of their life (Wright, K. A Guide to Diabetes. 2003:26). The long gestation without symptoms of Type I (11 to 13 years) and autoimmunity present an opportunity for prevention or halting it by environment, exercise, and holistic medicine (antioxidants).
In some instances nitric oxide (NO) delivers on intended purposes, on others not. It is produced by three enzymes: (1) endothelium nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), (2) neuron nitric oxide synthase, (3) inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) (Spieker, L.S. et al. “The Vascular Endothelium in Hypertension.” The Vascular Endothelium II.2006:249-269).. The nitric oxide mediated by macrophages iNOS is the one used to shoot the virus eNOS gives nitric oxide that dilates arteries to allow better blood flow.
That is why diabetes can be prevented and treated by antioxidants. Infusion or oral chelation therapy can treat diabetes type 2. Dr. Arturo V. Estuita in the Philippines includes diabetes type 2 treatment in the menu of his chelation clinic.
The cheapest approach to diabetes is prevention which means taking antioxidants like fruits, vegetables and herbs.
Stem cell therapy
Oral stem cell therapy can now treat diabetes type 1 and 2. The clinic of Dr. Estuita also administers oral stem cell therapy. Stem cell therapy regrows organs like the pancreas. (I have Hubs on stem cell therapy).
New entries as of February 27,2012
Lust and Tierra recommend leaves of huckleberry or of whortleberry, cedar berries, bean pods, trillium roots, jambul root and onions. Any of these can be prepared as tea. Steep in one pint of boiling water one ounce of huckleberry leaves.
The following herbs can be powdered and two 00-size capsules taken thrice a day.:equal parts of cedar berries, licorice root golden seal root, mullein, cayenne and uva ursi
Tina Siuagan from Rizal, Philippines on February 22, 2012:
I will watch out for that kabayan! :) Please... :D You're hubs are always informative and am pretty sure more Filipinos and people from all over the world would surely learn more. :D
conradofontanilla (author) from Philippines on February 22, 2012:
Thanks Kabayan. In my book "Benefits Derived from PhilNONI" I enumerated some effects of noni. Dr. Solomon, an American, has mentioned over a hundred effects. It was the Americans who popularized noni in the world. We call it apatot (maantot kung sobrang hinog)in Ilocano which smells bad when overripe. The reason is its strong enzymes. It has several properties like, it contains soluble fiber that slows the absorption of carbohydrates so blood sugar levels remain more constant. It has B-sitosterol, a compound that lowers blood sugar, according to Elkins (Noni Revolution, 2000). I might as well write another Hub on the medicinal properties of apatot (I have listed down 10 for diabetes alone). Just you wait!
Tina Siuagan from Rizal, Philippines on February 22, 2012:
I heard about Noni and Noni Juice. And since I consider you as one of the reputable Filipino health writers of today, I now have strong confidence in noni juice.
Thank you for sharing this hub. My mom has diabetes and I would definitely check out these herbs you mentioned. Voted up and sharing! :D