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The benefits of strontium for healthy bones

(NewsTarget) Research spanning a century has shown that strontium, a naturally occurring trace mineral, is an important component of healthy bone tissue. Researchers from around the world have found that, in pharmaceutical doses, it dramatically increases bone density and reduces risk for fractures in women with osteoporosis.

National Osteoporosis Foundation statistics indicate that “osteoporosis causes more than 1.5 million fractures annually: 700,000 vertebral, 300,000 hip, 250,000 wrist and 300,000 fractures at other sites”. [1] Sadly, “an average of 24% of hip fracture patients aged 50 and over dies in the year following their fracture.” [2]

As our population ages in huge numbers, finding a safe and effective treatment for osteoporosis is more important than ever before. Dr. Susan Brown, director of the Osteoporosis Education Project (OEP) in East Syracuse, N.Y., says “Our bone crisis worsens each year, despite intensive public health and disease treatment efforts”. [3]

So, exactly what is strontium? It is element number 38 on the periodic table of elements. It is in the same group of elements as calcium and magnesium. That means it has similar chemical properties as these better known elements.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services, notes that safe, non- toxic forms of strontium most often occur in mineral form. Another form of strontium known as strontium 90 is found in nuclear fall out and is a known radioactive toxin.

Strontium is found in the minerals celestite and strontianite. It’s in the air, water, soil and in plant and animal tissue. It’s found in human bone tissue. In nature strontium exists in different forms, some are safe and stable while others are extremely toxic. This may lead to confusion about which forms are safe and beneficial to bone health. [4]

The bulk of dietary strontium is found in whole grains, spices, leafy and root vegetables, seafood and legumes. Soil content of strontium affects the amount found in plant and animal tissue. In the article Strontium for Osteoporosis: To Dose or Megadose, Alan Gaby, MD says that the “typical diet contains 1 to 3 milligrams of strontium a day.” [5]

Researchers believe that strontium stimulates bone cells that build new bone tissue (osteoblasts) and inhibit cells that break down or resorb bone tissue (osteoclasts).

Osteoblast activity is predominant in children as they are growing and building bone tissue, while osteoclast activity becomes more predominant as we age. In healthy people this process of building up and breaking down of bone tissue stays in relative balance throughout life however, bone loss accelerates for most in their late twenties and early thirties.

According to Dr. Susan Brown, the healthy human skeletal system is rebuilt about every ten years in a process called “remodeling”. [6] This remodeling process is tightly regulated by multiple physiological mechanisms and depends on healthy nutritional status, exposure to sunlight, internal acid/alkaline balance, hormone balance and the ability to regularly engage in weight bearing physical activity. It is an intricate and amazing balancing act!
But can we lose bone mass while maintaining healthy bone strength? And is bone mass less important to health than bone strength? These are questions that researchers are currently attempting to answer.

In Europe strontium is available in a patented prescription product that contains strontium ranelate. Ranelate is a synthetic salt of ranelic acid. This product is not available in the US or Canada.

In the US, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) classifies strontium as a dietary supplement. It is manufactured in several unpatentable forms including strontium citrate, gluconate and carbonate. It can be derived from mined ore, processed with citric acid from corn dextrose and fermented with palm oil to produce strontium citrate. [7] Without carrier compounds like citrate, carbonate, gluconate, lactate, or malate, to name just a few, minerals would pass through our digestive tracts unabsorbed.

It is the carrier compound for strontium that has fueled international strontium research and it is the carrier compound that has raised scientific debate about how strontium is best delivered to bone tissue.

In 1959 researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN conducted case study research designed to assess the effects of strontium lactate on a group of 32 people with osteoporosis.

Although dual energy X-ray assessment for bone density (DEXA) did not exist in 1959 researchers did however conclude that 84% of patients with painful osteoporosis showed “marked subjective improvement” and that “the therapeutic value of the drug appears to be established”. [8]

More recent international studies, including the large, placebo controlled double blind multi-center STRATOS study (Meunier et al ) and the TROPOS study (Reginster et al), used strontium ranelate, a synthetic, patented form of strontium.

Results of the STRATOS study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2004. Researchers concluded that “Treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis with strontium ranelate leads to early and sustained reductions in the risk of vertebral fractures and that strontium ranelate may be as effective as current drug therapy without the side effects”. [9]

The TROPOS study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2005. Researchers found a 39% risk reduction in vertebral fractures and a 36% risk reduction in hip fracture in post menopausal women over a 3 year time period. Bone mineral density increased 8.2% at the femoral neck and 9.8% at the hip.

Researchers concluded that “over a 3 year period (strontium ranelate) is well tolerated. It confirms that strontium ranelate reduces vertebral fractures (and) offers a safe and effective means of reducing the risk of fracture associated with osteoporosis”.[10]

Ranelate. Citrate. Carbonate. Gluconate. Lactate. Does the carrier molecule really matter in these positive outcomes? Several high profile physicians in the CAM community believe that it is the strontium that has the effect on bone health rather than the carrier compound used to deliver it to tissue.

Ronald Hoffman, MD, founder of the Hoffman Center in New York City says that “strontium has been safely used as a medicinal substance for more than a hundred years. In clinical research strontium gluconate was absorbed better than strontium carbonate. It is my clinical opinion that strontium citrate is absorbed better than the other forms of this mineral”. [11]

Jonathan V. Wright, MD, founder of the Tahoma Clinic in Kent, WA says that both natural and semi-synthetic forms of strontium are effective (in treating osteoporosis). [12]

Calcium inhibits the absorption of strontium. If you choose to use supplemental strontium it is very important not to take it at the same time that you take calcium containing supplements or even eat calcium rich foods. Therefore, avoid bone support supplement formulas that contain both calcium and magnesium in the same dose.

Choose your supplement carefully, look for one manufactured by a company that participates in GMP, Good Manufacturing Practices. These companies tend to rigorously test raw materials and post production products for purity and potency although this designation is currently not a guarantee of quality.

Also look for a supplement that lists the “elemental” content of strontium. For example one manufacturer of strontium citrate states that 1 serving (one capsule) contains 720mg of strontium citrate (providing 227mg of elemental calcium). That way you know the precise dosage of strontium that you are taking.

Alan Gaby, MD says that “The evidence is clear that strontium supplementation can help prevent osteoporotic fractures. Additional research is needed, however, to determine what dose provides the optimal balance of safety and efficacy.” [13] With this in mind, if you are at risk for low bone density, if you already have osteoporosis or have experienced an osteoporosis related fracture, talk with your physician about strontium, about what form and dosage of strontium might help you improve your bone health and reduce your risks for fracture.

References and additional reading:

[1] http://www.nof.org/osteoporosis/diseasefacts.htm
[2] http://www.nof.org/osteoporosis/diseasefacts.htm
[3]Acid-Alkaline Balance and Its Effect on Bone Health
Susan E. Brown, Ph.D., CCN, and Russell Jaffe, MD, Ph.D., CCN
International Journal of Integrative Medicine
Vol. 2, No. 6 – Nov/Dec 2000
[4] http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/phs159.html
[5] Alan Gaby MD, Strontium for Osteoporosis: To Dose or Megadose, The Townsend Newsletter for Doctors and Patients, May 2006
[6] Acid-Alkaline Balance and Its Effect on Bone Health
Susan E. Brown, Ph.D., CCN, and Russell Jaffe, MD, Ph.D., CCN
International Journal of Integrative Medicine
Vol. 2, No. 6 – Nov/Dec 2000
[7] Source: Pure Encapsulates http://www.purecaps.com/PDF/pi/Strontium_Citrate.pdf
[8] McCaslin, F.E., Jr., and Janes, J.M. The effect of strontium lactate in the treatment of osteoporosis. Proc Staff Meetings Mayo Clin, 1959, 34:329-33
[9] The effects of strontium ranelate on the risk of vertebral fracture in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis, N Engl J Med, 2004, Jan 29;350(5):459-68). Meunier, et al
[10] J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2005 May;90(5):2816-22. Epub 2005 Feb 22.
Strontium ranelate reduces the risk of nonvertebral fractures in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis: Treatment of Peripheral Osteoporosis (TROPOS) study, Reginster, et al
[11] Dr. Ronald Hoffman, Strontium for bone health
[12] Fight-even prevent-osteoporosis with the hidden secrets of this bone-building miracle mineral By Jonathan V. Wright, M.D. From Nutrition and Healing
[13] Alan Gaby MD, Strontium for Osteoporosis:To Dose or Megadose, The Townsend Newsletter for Doctors, May 2006


Steps to be healthy

A Quick List of Restorative Health Remedies

by Dieter Braun (Indian in the machine)
Nov. 26, 2007

If you would like to be in optimum health, please consider educating yourself regarding these restorative health remedies.

1. Hydrogen peroxide (Oxygen absorbed through hydrogen peroxide footbaths is a safe effective way to increase immunity and to increase the body's ability to detoxify itself using it's existing processes.)

2. Fresh air walks every day. (Oxygen is what our body's need more of in order to defend itself and self-repair.)

3. Plenty of sleep. (Rest is essential to your body's transformation to crystalline structures, self repair and information processing.)

4. Apple cider vinegar (removes metallic acids build up in body).

5. Seasalt or mineral salt (Conditions crystalline body and DNA).

6. Coconut oil (Lubricates joints, muscles, tendons).

7. Fasting (Fasting will trigger anti-aging genes. This is probably the quickest and more powerful method to restore health).

8. Drink and cook with living water (All water absorbs thoughts and emotions and pure water does it best. Put your thoughts and intentions into the water your consume. Let your water source absorb the sun and moon energy outdoors).

9. Meditation (Memorize this simple formula to comprehend the power of meditation and prayer: sound + divine connection + intent = cleansing + releasing + clearing + transmutation)

10. Be mindful. Be mindful of your intentions at all times. Be mindful of the energies you are creating and emitting.

11. Raw food. 80% of your diet could ideally be raw fresh food to absorb maximum nutrition and enzymes from the food you eat. Consider the benefits of sprouting sunflower seeds, lentils, mung beans, chickpeas, spelt, kamut and more!

12. Balance pH. There are many ways to balance one's pH.....Ionic footbaths utilize the fact that human feet are designed to absorb negative ions from mother earth. Acid diets common in modern diets result in ion deficient body's.

13. Knowledge is power. Reconsider your relationship with your body's detox organs: skin, intestine, kidneys, liver and lungs.

Be even more powerful than you already are, and share this list with my blessings and thanks.

In spirit, Dieter (Indian in the machine) www.indianinthemachine.com


Treatment of thyroid disorders through Chinese remedies


by Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon

The thyroid gland produces hormones that have two primary functions: they enhance protein synthesis and oxygen utilization. These physiologic activities, in turn, influence the basal metabolic rate (BMR). The level of thyroid hormone production is determined by levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) released from the pituitary gland, by availability of iodine a tyrosine (converted by the gland to the thyroid hormones), and by the condition of the thyroid tissues themselves. TSH levels are further regulated by the hypothalamus, and no doubt by other regulatory mechanisms, producing a feedback loop so that TSH increases as thyroid hormones decrease and TSH decreases when thyroid hormones increase. Measures of the amount of the thyroid hormones T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine) in the blood plasma are considered a substantive evaluation of thyroid function. Additional diagnostic factors can reveal the presence and nature of thyroid disease. The thyroid gland also produces calcitonin, which acts in conjunction with parathyroid hormone to regulate calcium levels; thyroid disease may affect this function.

Thyroid disease affects about 2.5% of the American population, but because the disease predominantly strikes middle-aged women, the incidence within this group is rather high. Women are about four times more likely than men to suffer hyperthyroid disorders, eight times more likely to suffer hypothyroidism, and about twice as likely as men to suffer thyroid tumors. Approximately half the cases of thyroid disease involve hyperthyroidism and the other half involve hypothyroidism. Despite the differing outcomes, the main cause of the disease as it occurs today is an autoimmune process. Grave's disease is the most common hyperthyroid condition; in severe cases it is treated by removal of thyroid tissue either through surgery in young individuals and in pregnant women, or via irradiation from an iodine isotope-this rapidly binds to the thyroid, and thus causes maximum destruction of tissues at this site. Thyroid-inhibiting drugs, such as methimazole, may be used in less severe cases. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is the most common autoimmune disorder that causes hypothyroidism. In its normal course, it begins with an episode of hyperthyroidism which spontaneously converts to hypothyroidism. It is treated mainly by giving oral thyroid hormone (thyroxine) as a replacement therapy, the same therapy given after thyroidectomy or irradiation of the thyroid gland for hyperthyroid patients.

Hyperthyroidism follows a course similar to many inflammatory autoimmune disorders, that is, with periods of flare-up and remission. Hypothyroidism, however, appears to follow a more steady course, and might thus be comparable to early-onset diabetes; the thyroid gland becomes enlarged or shrunken and has little or no function, just as the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas of the diabetic patients have little or no function.

It is important to note, however, that a different form of thyroid disease was the dominant one in earlier times: iodine-deficiency goiter. This disorder often produces a very large mass in the neck area. It has become less common in the United States as a result of the practice of adding iodine to the national salt supply and by the recommendations to consume more seafood. It is also relatively easy to diagnose and treat.

The current medical therapies for thyroid disorders other than iodine-deficiency goiter are often deemed inadequate because of difficulties in regulating the level of thyroid hormones through use of drugs or an exogenous source of thyroid hormone. As a result, patients often experience only partial relief of the symptoms and those who suffer from hyperthyroidism often have to deal with hypothyroid conditions following medical destruction of the thyroid gland.

Therefore, it is of interest to investigate the methods used by Chinese doctors. Thyroid disease is common in China, and it is frequently treated by herbal medicine or a combination of herbs and drugs. Positive response is a common outcome: the aggregate "cure" rate for hyperthyroidism reported in more than a dozen studies involving more than 700 patients is 42%, with most other patients well-managed even after cessation of the therapy. By "cure," it is meant that the primary hyperthyroid symptoms are removed and that the laboratory measures (such as T3 and T4 levels and iodine uptake) are in the normal range. Clearly, it is not meant that there is any change in the underlying genetic propensity for autoimmunity, nor is it suggested that the immunologic memory of the T-cells is altered. Rather, the initiating factors for autoimmune attack appear to be diminished and, as shown in two studies, circulating antibodies against thyroid tissue are reduced. Follow-up studies of patients claimed to be cured during these treatment programs indicates persistence of the favorable outcome.

Until the past fifty years, thyroid disease could not be definitively diagnosed in China; rather, Chinese doctors could only detect a certain set of symptoms to be treated and could palpate any moderate or large nodules in the area of the thyroid gland. Now, objective measures, such as altered levels of thyroid hormone, can give a clue as to the site of the disease and can further elucidate the influence of various therapeutic measures that might be applied.

While treatments for both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism have been reported in the literature, the main thrust of clinical trials has been with hyperthyroidism. The treatments vary somewhat from one study to the next, but there are certain consistent features which will be described here on the basis of reports for hyperthyroid treatments only.

First, there is a strong reliance on materials from the sea, mainly oyster shell (included in 12 of 18 clinical trials using a basic formula), seaweeds (laminaria, and sargassum, used in nearly half the clinical trials), and somewhat less frequent use of clam shells, arca shells, or pumice. While these materials, especially the seaweeds, would obviously be helpful for iodine-deficiency goiter, they are now often used for Grave's disease and thyroid adenoma. Iodine is not known to have an impact on chronic (autoimmune-based) thyroid disease, though it is employed as a temporary remedy in cases of thyroid storm (physiologic crisis resulting from thyroid hormone excess). The continued use of the sea materials may be unnecessary for modern thyroid diseases, and, indeed, two studies [2,21] producing satisfactory results in treatment of hyperthyroidism contain none of these materials. However, the sea materials may contain components other than iodine that benefit patients with hyperthyroidism. Their initial use was no doubt associated both with the experiential knowledge that consumption of sea materials resolved many cases of goiter and also by the theoretical concept that salty materials would soften and remove masses. Thyroid nodules often occur even in cases of non-iodine-deficiency hyperthyroidism.

The two trials reported in the Chinese literature that failed to include sea materials in the herb combination had unusually long treatment times (six months to one year for most patients of one study, and one and a half years for the patients in the other study) compared to trials that included sea materials. In the recent book Practical Traditional Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology Clinical Experiences, formulas are presented for treatment of hyperthyroidism according to differential diagnosis: all five of the listed formulas contained seaweeds or seashells or both. Thus, current thinking about hyperthyroidism emphasizes these materials. Oyster shell and other shells not only resolve masses, but also help to calm liver wind, thought to be responsible for some hyperthyroid symptoms, such as trembling, and they astringe excessive perspiration, another common symptom.

Several other phlegm-resolving agents are used to remove the thyroid mass, such as pinellia, fritillaria (zhebeimu), sinapis, huangyaozi (Dioscorea bulbifera), and various types of citrus (e.g., chenpi, juhong, and zhiqiao). Masses and nodules are often described by Chinese doctors in terms of entangled qi, accumulated phlegm, and static blood. Because of the site of the nodules (just over the lungs), the fact that the nodules are usually not painful, and the soft quality of the swellings (except in cases of thyroid tumor), they are traditionally described as being primarily phlegm masses. Both the sea materials and the items mentioned here from land plants are thought to effectively treat such masses. Fritillaria, used also in the treatment of a wide variety of tumors, is the most commonly selected phlegm-resolving item for hyperthyroidism aside from oyster shell. In addition, many of the therapies for hyperthyroidism contain prunella, an herb used to resolve entangled qi. The citruses likewise help resolve qi stagnation and phlegm accumulation, and bupleurum and/or cyperus are sometimes included in the treatments for regulating the qi.

A few doctors include therapeutic substances for static blood in formulas aimed at removing thyroid nodules. The main herbs used are zedoaria and sparganium; these would also be relied upon for treatment of abdominal masses, such as uterine myoma. Salvia, cnidium, and/or peony (white peony)-less powerful blood-vitalizing agents-are sometimes used instead of, or in addition to these two principal herbs. Blood-vitalizing herbs are especially indicated when the thyroid mass is quite firm; this is a characteristic of thyroid tumors which can also cause hyperthyroidism (toxic adenoma).

Hyperthyroidism is thought by some doctors to start with an excess fire syndrome which later becomes yin-deficiency fire. Therefore, fire-purging herbs are used, especially in the early stages of the disease process. Prunella is the most frequently selected one, used in more than half the clinical trials that rely on a basic formula. Peony, raw rehmannia, and scrophularia are also commonly used. Other fire purging herbs recommended include moutan, gentiana, gypsum, scute, anemarrhena, and gardenia.

Several hyperthyroid symptoms, such as heart palpitation, general hyperactivity (psychological and physical), excessive perspiration, heightened appetite, aversion to heat, and, in more severe cases, wasting of the muscles, are characteristic of a yin deficiency syndrome. Therefore, Chinese doctors prescribe raw rehmannia and scrophularia (herbs that purge fire and nourish yin) plus ophiopogon and/or adenophora. In some cases, lycium fruit and/or tang-kuei may be used in conjunction with one or more of these other agents to nourish liver blood and thereby control liver fire. To calm the agitation, sedative herbs such as zizyphus, succinum, dragon bone (or dragon teeth), and polygonum stem are used. Magnetite or hematite may be added as sedatives and to treat exophthalmos. Tribulus is used as an antispasmodic that is beneficial to the eyes; it may be combined with lycium fruit to nourish the liver. Cinnabar is employed by some Chinese doctors as a sedative but is not recommended for use by Western practitioners.

Many doctors prescribe some spleen qi tonics to normalize overall body functions and to avoid generation of phlegm from spleen dampness. Astragalus, codonopsis, atractylodes, hoelen, and licorice are the materials most often used. Astragalus is the preferred item, though it is often selected, as are the other qi tonics, as an optional ingredient rather than a standard item, to be used for those patients showing obvious signs of qi deficiency. Typically, hyperthyroid formulas contain only one or two qi tonic herbs which do not constitute the bulk of the formula.

A typical treatment, with a formula somewhat larger than others, but comprised of the commonly used components is Jia Kang Wan [7]. It contains oyster shell, sargassum, laminaria, prunella, citrus (juhong), pinellia, fritillaria, and huangyaozi-ingredients for resolving nodules; it also contains succinum and cinnabar as sedatives, and hoelen and licorice to benefit the spleen. The herbs are powdered, formed into large honey pills weighing 15 grams, and taken in the dosage of one pill twice daily for 45 to 90 days. It was reported that 65 of 125 patients so treated were cured, a rather high rate (52%).

Another typical example is Pingyin Fufang [16], which contains oyster shell, arca shell, prunella, fritillaria, blue citrus, sparganium, and zedoaria to resolve the thyroid nodules; scrophularia, raw rehmannia, peony, and moutan to clear heat and nourish yin; plus tang-kuei, dragon bone, hoelen, and cornus. The herbs were decocted "in typical amounts" (the total dosage is 150 grams or more of crude herb per day) and given for a cycle of 30 days, which might be repeated once or twice if necessary to obtain adequate response. The cure rate was 38 of 110 patients (35%), somewhat low compared to the overall outcome of the various clinical trials, but because of the short treatment time (usually just 30 days), the results are impressive.

A Japanese doctor, relying on approved herb formulas (those sanctioned by the Health Ministry of Japan) reported good response of hyperthyroidism in several patients from Bupleurum and Dragon Bone Combination and from Baked Licorice Combination [25]. The former contains herbs found in many of the modern hyperthyroid treatments, such as oyster shell, dragon bone, pinellia, bupleurum, and hoelen, while the latter also contains some ingredients in common with the modern therapies, including raw rehmannia, ophiopogon, and licorice. Other treatments mentioned by Japanese doctors are described later in the section on Kanpo medicine.

In sum, Chinese doctors obtain clinically useful results from the application of formulas that have the primary function of resolving masses, with additional herbs to clear heat and nourish yin.

While Western doctors seek a cause of autoimmune-induced thyroid disease in a combination of genetic determinants and viral initiators, Chinese doctors have attributed the cause of the disorder primarily to emotional disturbance. In the case of hyperthyroidism, the following have been mentioned in the Chinese literature [24]:

Disturbance of qi by sorrow and anger. Liver and spleen qi become disharmonious, and, as a result, moist sputum coagulates to form a goiter. The swelling in the neck should be one of the first noted symptoms when this is the primary cause.
Heart fire. The disorder is often marked by highly agitated emotional condition. Fright, dreaminess, mania, panic, and other distress that may cause insomnia, excessive talking, or heart palpitations belong to this category. Heart fire is often associated with heart yin deficiency. The skin in the area of the thyroid may become discolored (purple).
Extreme anger may produce liver fire, which dries yin and blood. The vessels surrounding the thyroid may bulge.
External factors: geography plays a part (iodine deficiency, goiterogenic foods dominant in local crops, or some toxin in the environment induces thyroid disease). Drinking "sandy water" or being exposed to "mountain vapor" have been said to cause the disease, but such explanations are no longer relied on.
The first cause, qi disturbance, is most frequently cited. A weakening of the stomach and spleen qi (which may be the result of emotional factors or dietary influences) produces turbid and moist substances; these are raised to the thyroid area by the stimulus of excessive liver qi (most often the result of emotional stimulus). There will thus be swelling in the neck and protrusion of the eyes. Or, to put events in a different order, as described in Comprehensive Guide to Chinese Herbal Medicine:

When [hyperthyroidism is] due to long-term depression or sudden psychic trauma, the liver no longer properly regulates the flow of vital energy and blood, liver qi stagnates, and fails to transport fluids. The fluids accumulate and transform into phlegm which then obstructs the neck with qi and gradually induces goiter. Lingering [pathologic] liver qi transforms into fire, which is manifested in fidgeting and irritability. If the fire consumes body fluids and stomach yin, the resulting yin deficiency produces heat. Even though this heat overstimulates the appetite, the patient still loses weight. If the spleen is impaired, it will be unable to transport or transform nutrients, thereby giving rise to diarrhea, gauntness, and lassitude. If heart yin is deficient [a result of lack of transported nutrients], palpitation or severe palpitation with fear, fidgeting, insomnia, and profuse sweating can be observed....

In the discussion of a clinical trial involving 98 patients [21], the authors present the following explanation:

The etiology of hyperthyroidism involves chiefly the deficiency of genuine qi and insufficiency of kidney fluid. Insufficiency of water leads to excessive heat, which in turn harms the vital energy. Excessive heat also hurts yin, and impairment of yin again affects yang. The excessive heat of the hyperthyroid patient often involves the three internal organs of heart, liver, and stomach. Excessive heat in the heart is manifested by palpitations and forgetfulness. Excessive heat in the liver gives rise to irritability and tremor. Excessive heat in the stomach leads to polyphagia. The impairment of yin that affects yang in the hyperthyroid patient is represented by the damage of spleen yang. Deficiency of spleen yang causes indigestion and loose stool, and produces wet phlegm, which goes up to the neck to cause the enlarged thyroid or nodules, or goes to the eyes to induce exophthalmos. In treatment of this disease, main emphasis should be on replenishment of vital energy. Once the yang of vital energy is replenished, yin will grow to calm down the excessive heat.

An initial problem of deficiency is also described by another experienced doctor [31]. According to his observation of patients with hyperthyroidism, yin deficiency of the liver and kidney is a dominant cause of the disease, though it is sometimes caused by yin deficiency of the heart and kidney or deficiency of qi and yin. The yin deficiency can lead to a coexisting yang deficiency. He therefore recommends nourishing the kidney, removing heat from the liver, softening the thyroid mass, and (if necessary) restoring the qi and yang.

From these explanations (see also the explanation given under the section on acupuncture therapy), it should be evident that there is not complete agreement on the initiation of the disease. There is general agreement, however, that ultimately the yin is damaged and must be replenished and that the thyroid swelling, due to a phlegm excess, must be resolved.

In one clinical report on hyperthyroidism [16], investigators determined that the likely causative factors for the 110 patients were: fright, depression, and mental irritability in 84 cases (76.3%), infections in 12 cases, extreme fatigue in 9 cases, and congenital problems in 6 cases. The 26 remaining cases were of undetermined causality. The main cause-emotional distress-has an effect of disturbing the qi.

Single-herb remedies for hyperthyroidism do not follow the rules of traditional Chinese herb prescribing in addressing the underlying or symptomatic problems. There are three examples mentioned in clinical trials or individual case reports.

The immunosuppresive herb tripterygium (shanhaiteng), which has effects comparable to corticosteroids, was used in at least one study of hyperthyroidism [1]. When used alone or with the Western drug tapazole (methimazole), virtually all patients were said to have their symptoms remitted. Interestingly, corticosteroid therapy is not a common method of treatment in the U.S. Tripterygium is considered, by Chinese doctors, to be somewhat safer and more effective than corticosteroids, but because of its potential toxicity even in small doses, the herb is not imported into the U.S. and is not available for use by Western practitioners. Chinese doctors use it for a wide range of autoimmune diseases, especially rheumatoid arthritis (the variety leigongteng is used).

Fagopyrum (suanqiaomai), was used in another study [3]. The whole plant (rather than the fruits typically used in Chinese medicine) was combined only with a small amount of poultry trachea (0.5%), decocted and made into tablets. With two grams of herb extract in each tablet, they were taken in the amount of 15-16 tablets daily (thus about 30 grams of crude herb equivalent) for 45 to 60 days. This method was claimed to cure 41 of 90 patients (45%)-a rate comparable to that obtained with the complex formulas; another 44 patients had some degree of improvement. Fagopyrum is in the same plant family (Polygonaceae) as polygonum stem, used to treat agitation caused by hyperthyroidism. The plant contains glycosides and flavonoids, but the mechanism of action for hyperthyroidism has not been determined. According to the clinical report, in using this remedy during a three year period, the doctors found it safe and reliable. No toxicity was revealed upon examination of liver function, potassium and sodium levels, and blood sugar.

The herb huangyaozi is a common ingredient in formulas for hyperthyroidism and it has been used in individual cases as a sole ingredient. In Practical Traditional Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology Clinical Experiences, a method of using the herb is described: the rhizome is crushed into small pieces and soaked in wine (300 grams rhizome per 1500 ml wine), put into a sealed jar, and heated over a very low fire for four hours, then stored in ice water for one week. The patient is then instructed to drink 10 ml of the liquor six times daily, but not before bed (total daily dose equal to about 12 grams huangyaozi). This is indicated in the book as applicable to thyroid adenoma. This herb, like other Dioscorea species, is rich in steroidal compounds. However, it also contains diosbulbins (diterpene lactones) which may have an influence on the thyroid adenoma. An herb with similar lactones, brucea, is used in cancer therapy. Huangyaozi must be used with some caution, however, as it has been reported to cause toxic hepatitis when used in large amounts. Ingestion of decoctions containing 15-21 grams for 30 days or 12-15 grams for 45 days were reported to be sufficient to cause toxic hepatitis, with some symptoms appearing in as little as two weeks [39]. At 30 grams daily, 7 days of administration could cause toxic hepatitis. Therefore, the dose of this herb should not exceed 12 grams per day and liver enzymes should be checked monthly if prolonged therapy that includes this herb is undertaken.

For purposes of analysis, nine studies which each involved a minimum of 50 patients were analyzed to determine the influence of method of administration, dosage, and duration of treatment.

Four studies used decoctions only. In a 1986 study using Yiqiyangyin decoction [21], treatment time was six months to one year for most of the patients (treatment is terminated when the patients are obviously cured or when it is obviously not helping); however, 12 of the 98 patients were treated for up to three years. A high dosage decoction, with about 150 grams/day, was used. The claimed cure rate was 62%. In another study [4], with a dosage of about 120 grams per day in decoction, treatment time was one of five months and the claimed cure rate was 42%. Another report [16] described a decoction with a dosage of about 180 grams per day used for one to four months; it yielded a claimed effective rate of 34.5%. A heavily modified Bupleurum and Dragon Bone Combination, taken once daily in decoction form with 215 grams/day, produced marked improvement in 50% of the patients with one to three months of therapy, but no claim of cures.

One study used either decoctions or dried decoction in tablet form [5]. The decoction had a dose of 90 grams per day, taken one time per day and the tablets had a similar dose (after concentration), but were taken in a divided dose three times per day. The cure rate was rather low (12.1%) with three months treatment time, though the rate of "marked improvement" was substantial at 38%.

Two studies used a mix of decoctions and powdered herbs. In one [6], the decoction was always given first, with a dosage of about 110 grams/day, administered until the disease improved somewhat, but then followed-up by powdering the herbs and taking them as pills (18 grams per day). The treatment time was not clearly stated, but appeared to be three months or more, with a cure rate of 47%. In the other [13], herbs were either given as a decoction (about 100 grams/day) or made into a powder and consumed with warm water. The treatment time was three to six months and the claimed cure rate was 20%. No distinction was made in the reported outcome between the two methods of herb preparation.

Two studies used powdered herbs only, in pill form. In a study cited earlier [7], two large pills were taken daily for 45-90 days, and the cure rate was 52%. Given the short duration of therapy, the cure rate is remarkably high. Also, the amount of herb materials used, about 30 grams per day (includes binder of 30-50% by weight) was far lower that the amounts used for decoctions. In the other [10], patients received 10 grams of herbs per pill (probably includes binder weight), two to three pills per day. The duration of therapy was not stated; a cure was indicated for only 16% of the patients, though the rates for marked improvement were substantial (36%).

In these nine studies, the treatment times varied from one month to more than one year, but the typical treatment time was about three months (a review of the Chinese literature reveals that this duration is common for treatment of chronic ailments involving autoimmunity). The treatments were administered mainly as decoctions or large pills or both (not at the same time, however). The decoctions had a range of 90-210 grams/day of dosage, with a highly variable cure rate, from zero to over 60%. The pills had a dosage range of 18-30 grams/day. Two of the studies that utilized pills (made from powdered herbs, combined with honey, and then chewed and swallowed)-one initiated with decoctions and using pills for the remainder-had relatively high success rates (around 50% cure) with moderate duration of treatment (about three months). In the third study using pills with a cure rate of only 16%, the criteria for participation by most of the patients was a long duration of the disease with failure of Western drugs to control it.

On the basis of this small sampling, it would seem reasonable to use powdered herbs prepared in a convenient form in a dosage of about 20 grams per day for a period of three months. This would conserve resources (using about 15% as much herb material as in a decoction), maximize convenience (no cooking of the herbs or drinking a strong tasting tea on a daily basis), and provide a reasonable trial time. As an example, using easy-to-swallow tableted herbs (700 mg herb/tablet), the dosage recommended in the studies would correspond to the use of 9-10 tablets each time, three times daily. Using instead bulk powdered herbs swallowed by the spoonful with water, this would correspond to about a tablespoon of powder twice daily.

However, in order to be able to vary the formulation according to individual needs, the use of decoctions or dried single herb extracts may be indicated for part or all of the treatment. In such cases, about 6 to 15 grams of each ingredient (crude herb) with 10-15 ingredients per formula is made in decoction form, often divided into two doses per day, and administered as needed. About 18 to 27 grams of dried extracts, taken in two or three divided doses, would be expected to provide comparable effects.

It should be noted that when consuming herb powders or pills, astragalus or ho-shou-wu may cause digestive problems for some individuals at the higher dosage levels. This is because astragalus contains large amounts of polysaccharides and ho-shou-wu contains emodin glycosides. If problems were to occur, they would likely be gas and abdominal bloating and mushy or loose stool. When consuming herbs in decoction form, the sea materials and the bitter fire-purging herbs may cause nausea or vomiting in some sensitive individuals. Also, hyperthyroid patients should allow the herb tea to cool somewhat before consuming it. An experienced physician, reporting in the book Treatment of Knotty Diseases, has cautioned that herbs should be administered in small portions at frequent intervals rather than single large doses. In most of the studies, two dosages per day were suggested, but a three-times-per-day schedule would not be inconvenient with tablets or dried extracts.

Relatively rapid relief of symptoms, within the first 30 to 90 days of treatment, is observed in most patients consuming Chinese herb formulas. While essentially complete remission is indicated in just under half of the patients, alleviation of the majority of symptoms occurs in most of the remaining patients. In order to obtain such high rates of symptom relief, basic herb formulas may be modified by adding one or more ingredients to address specific symptoms or symptom complexes. Below are some examples obtained from examination of the literature. If an ingredient to be added is already present in the base formula, then the dosage may be increased. Not all items in any list of additions need be included. When two symptoms occur together, one or more of the ingredients indicated for each of the symptoms may be added to the base formula.

Exophthalmos: celosia seed, chrysanthemum, and plantago; or vitex, leonurus fruit, and cassia; or prunella, dandelion, chrysanthemum, lycium fruit, celosia, and tribulus; or magnetite, lycium fruit, lycium bark, and tribulus

Heart Palpitations and Insomnia: polygonum stem, hematite, zizyphus, mother of pearl

Palpitations Alone: dragon teeth, succinum, and polygala

Tachycardia: zizyphus and dragon bone or dragon teeth; may also add sophora

Insomnia Only: dragon teeth and oyster shell or zizyphus, albizzia flower, and campsis

Goiter: cremastra and oyster shell or add fritillaria, prunella, and huangyaozi

Persistent Goiter: smilax, pleione, oyster shell, fritillaria, turtle shell, sparganium, and anteater scale

Sore Throat, Fever: lily, lonicera, polygonum (yuzhu), rehmannia, raw, and scrophularia

Thirst: gypsum, anemarrhena, and trichosanthes root (remove pinellia if present)

Liver Swelling, Jaundice: curcuma, salvia, turtle shell, capillaris, alisma, gardenia, polyporus

Depression: bupleurum, peony, and uncaria; or bupleurum, curcuma, and fushou

Excessive Appetite: gypsum and anemarrhena

Hand Tremor: antelope horn, tang-kuei, chaenomeles, and scorpion.

Liver Fire: gentiana, prunella, and uncaria or gentiana and rehmannia, raw, or gentiana and gardenia

Qi Deficiency: codonopsis, astragalus, atractylodes

Qi/Yin Deficiency: astragalus and pseudostellaria

Qi/Blood Deficiency: codonopsis, atractylodes, polygonatum, dioscorea, astragalus, millettia, and lycium

Qi Stagnation: cyperus, chih-ko, and curcuma

Qi Stagnation With Excess Phlegm: clam shell and prunella

Spleen Deficiency: codonopsis, dioscorea, and alisma, remove yin tonics

Phlegm Excess: arisaema and perilla stem, or fritillaria and citrus

Liver/Kidney Yin Deficiency: anemarrhena and phellodendron

Yin Deficiency, With Fire: rehmannia, raw, adenophora, ophiopogon, and turtle shell

Blood Stasis: zedoaria and sparganium, or peony, salvia, and persica

Heart Fire: coptis

Accompanying Diseases
Diabetes: trichosanthes root, anemarrhena, gypsum, pueraria, raw rehmannia, and dioscorea

Sjogren's Syndrome: ophiopogon, adenophora, trichosanthes root, linum, gelatin

Dr. Zelin Chen points out that for exophthalmos, a treatment superior to using the eye-benefiting herbs mentioned above would be to remove dampness and phlegm that congests the eyes, using Hoelen Five Herb Formula minus cinnamon twig or Hoelen and Areca Combination [40]. In a clinical report [2], the physicians commented that immunosuppresive agents were always necessary in the treatment of cases involving exophthalmos.

The treatment of hypothyroidism is infrequently mentioned in Chinese literature and is not a common subject of clinical studies. This may result from a less frequent diagnosis of the disorder, since the fatigue, water retention, and chills characteristic of hypothyroidism are standard symptoms belonging to traditional categories such as qi and yang deficiency. These conditions usually do not present immediate need for Western medical attention as might occur with the irregular heart rate of hyperthyroidism. The relatively infrequent reporting may also result from a lower incidence of the disease in China.

Patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis have reduced responsiveness to TSH. The disease can spontaneously remit, and this change can be detected, even while thyroxine replacement therapy continues, by testing for TSH responsiveness. In one evaluation [29], about 24% of patients were seen to experience spontaneous remission, though no remissions were found among patients with diffuse goiter.

The basic herbal treatment for hypothyroidism is to administer qi and yang tonics. For example [32], 19 cases of hypothyroidism of various causes (10 due to thyroid operation or irradiation in the treatment of hyperthyroidism, 3 were chronic lymphatic thyroiditis, 6 due to unknown causes) were treated for two to four months with a thyroid tablet containing codonopsis and astragalus to tonify qi, and epimedium, curculigo, and cuscuta to tonify yang (with cooked rehmannia to balance the yin and yang). The patients received either herbs alone or herbs with thyroxine. A control group received thyroxine alone. The Chinese herbs improved clinical symptoms, reduced cholesterol and thyroid-stimulating hormone levels, and increased T3 and T4. The addition of thyroxine (at 60 mg/day) gave even better results. A similar prescription, adding psoralea in the standard formula, and aconite and cinnamon twig for more severe cases, was given to seven patients with hypothyroidism, and it was claimed that all patients showed improvement with two to three months treatment [14]. Five of the patients took a small dosage of thyroxine.

In a study [22] of 22 patients with hypothyroidism, 19 of the cases were caused by thyroid treatments (radioactive iodine, surgery, antithyroid drugs). A decoction of aconite, cinnamon bark, ginseng, astragalus, lycium fruit, epimedium, deer antler, psoralea, morinda, salvia, atractylodes, and hoelen was given. Thyroxine tablets were also provided as needed during the treatment period. After two months of therapy, of the 22 patients, 17 had their clinical symptoms eliminated, and the T3, T4, and TSH returned to normal levels, while the other 5 patients showed partial improvement in both symptoms and laboratory values. In one patient cured by this treatment, a follow-up visit after five years showed that she remained healthy.

Five patients with lymphatic thyroiditis were treated [50] with a combination of astragalus and codonopsis (30 grams each) to tonify qi, aconite, cinnamon bark, curculigo, and epimedium (9 to 12 grams each) to tonify yang, and lycium fruit plus coix. The decoction of herbs, modified as necessary to treat symptoms such as indigestion with diarrhea or constipation, was taken in two divided doses daily for two to three months. The mean body weight of the patients declined from 63 kg to 60 kg, the heart rate increased from 66 to 75 per minute, and cholesterol dropped from 260 to 202. T3 and T4 values increased markedly, while TSH declined.

Six patients treated with a high dose decoction of licorice (10 grams) and ginseng (8 grams, reduced to 6 grams after the first month) for three months, using thyroxine in reducing amounts from the beginning to the end of the treatment program, showed good results [28]. Four patients had basal metabolic rate, T3, and T4 return to normal or near normal values and improved symptoms which persisted after the treatment ended; two others improved while on the herbs but within one year of stopping the therapy the symptoms returned and could be controlled by using the decoction again.

As reported in Recent Advances in Chinese Herbal Drugs, an evaluation of patients with kidney yang deficiency syndrome who were not classified as suffering from hypothyroidism but were rather suffering from chronic bronchitis revealed a decreased level of T3 and T4 (average values of 102 and 8.2 respectively). Both chronic bronchitis patients not having kidney yang deficiency and normal adults had comparable levels of these hormones (147 and 9.3 respectively). When the kidney yang deficiency patients were treated for five months using a kidney tonic prescription (ingredients not specified), T3 levels increased (average 164; slightly higher than normal). Thus, kidney yang deficiency may be directly associated with hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid function which is affected by corrective herbal therapies.

In contrast to the hyperthyroid treatments, herbs for dispersing phlegm and resolving masses are generally not included for hypothyroid cases, and instead the focus is on tonification therapy. A somewhat different approach has been used in two studies, in which tonics are still an important aspect of the treatment but qi and blood regulating herbs are also used. This method was applied in the treatment of 133 patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis [34]. A combination of cyperus, saussurea, cnidium, curcuma, and bupleurum was modified by adding one of two tonic prescriptions: polygonatum, dioscorea, moutan, hoelen, and lycium for qi and blood deficiency patients and Rehmannia Eight Formula for yang deficiency patients. By taking the powdered herbs in pill form for one to five months, 29% were cured. In another study [51], 38 patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis were treated with codonopsis (or ginseng), plus pinellia, hoelen, and licorice to tonify qi and normalize the digestion, and citrus, blue citrus, salvia, and red peony to regulate qi and blood. Patients still showing hyperthyroid symptoms were additionally given the yin nourishing combination of asparagus, ophiopogon, rehmannia, and schizandra, while those showing hypothyroid symptoms were given the yang tonifying combination of cinnamon twig, deer antler, and epimedium. In the event that a thyroid nodules existed (4 cases), sparganium and zedoaria would be given. A control group with 20 patients were treated with standard thyroid drugs. Treatment time was six months. Among the group treated with Chinese herbs, 55% of those with hyperthyroid conditions and 93% of those with hypothyroid conditions had normal thyroid levels following treatment. There was no significant difference between this outcome and the results of using Western medicine in the control group.

It is not evident from these two studies that the addition of qi and blood regulating herbs enhanced the outcome of treatment compared to relying primarily on qi and yang tonic herbs alone. Among the several studies of hypothyroid treatment, it does appear that longer treatment times produce better effects.

A one year follow-up to a study of Jiakangling administered for three months, either alone or with Western medication (thiamazole or propranolol) revealed that 85.2% of those treated with herbs only and 90% of those treated with herbs and drugs maintained the improvements that had been attained during the treatment period [5]. In a study of senile hyperthyroidism, a typical case was presented in which 30 days of decoction was consumed and a follow-up visit one year later showed no recurrence [19]. In 45 cases of hyperthyroidism said to be cured by an astragalus-based formula (Yiqiyangyin Tang) that were followed up, recurrence was noted in only two cases [21]. Follow-up duration was from less than six months to four years (12 cases under six months and 33 cases from six months to four years).

In the study of herb treatments for hyperthyroidism in which exophthalmos was a symptom, a follow-up four years later showed no recurrence of the initial condition [12]. Forty cases of hyperthyroidism treated with herbs for an average of 67 days yielded 24 cures and the remaining 16 either markedly improved or somewhat improved. One year later, the therapeutic benefits remained stable [35].

Individual cases mentioned in the reports describing various treatments for hyperthyroid or hypothyroid conditions suggested that one to five year follow-up demonstrated continued relief, but that a few individuals might experience a relapse which could be treated effectively by applying again the original treatment. From those studies involving longer-term treatment at the outset, it was evident that symptom improvement might be attained early, but continued administration of herbs was essential to further improve or maintain that effect.

The most common thyroid tumor is thyroid adenoma. It occurs somewhat more frequently in women than men, manifests as a "rock hard" lump or group of lumps on the thyroid, and either leaves thyroid function unaffected or generates a hyperthyroid condition because of the excess growth of thyroid tissue (called toxic adenoma).

Thyroid tumors, like other types of tumors treated by Chinese doctors, are addressed with a wide range of herb formulas. Some examples cited in the Chinese literature published during 1981 to 1986 (formulas cited in An Illustrated Guide to Antineoplastic Chinese Herbal Medicine) are given below.

Luffa Decoction: luffa (30 grams), prunella (30 grams), licorice (10 grams). [An abstract of the research article was also published in Abstracts of Chinese Medicine]. This formula was given to 30 patients with thyroid adenoma, in the form of decoction, in two divided doses daily for two to three months. It was claimed that 70% were cured, 20% improved, and 10% failed to respond.

Xiao Ying Tang: prunella (12 g), laminaria and sargassum (12 grams each), sparganium (12 grams), pumice (20 grams), tang-kuei (10 g), peony (10 g), fritillaria (10 g), and bupleurum (10 grams).

Huangyaozi Decoction: huangyaozi (15 g), sargassum (12 g), laminaria (20 g), fritillaria (10 g), prunella (10 g), oyster shell (30 g), pumice (30 g), citrus (6 g), and blue citrus (6 g).

Thyroid Tumor Formula: oyster shell (30 g), prunella (20 g), polygonum stem (20 g), adenophora (20 g), acorus (15 g), curcuma (15 g), bupleurum (10 g), sparganium (10 g), and zedoaria (10 g)

Jia Liu Wan: prunella (30 g), tang-kuei (30 g), mother of pearl (30 g), oyster shell (30 g), laminaria (15 g), and salvia (15 g). Mixed as powder, made into pills and consumed 9 grams twice daily. For benign nodular goiter.

With the exception of Luffa Decoction, the above formulas do not differ in any significant way from the formulas used to treat hyperthyroidism, though herbs for treating the secondary effects of hyperthyroidism (e.g., insomnia, heart palpitations) are generally not present when treating the adenomas. Herbs for resolving a "phlegm mass" dominate. Sea materials are present in nearly every one, and prunella is a major ingredient in every prescription. Information about the effectiveness of the above formulas was not immediately available except for that of the Luffa Decoction, for which a high level of cure was claimed. It should be noted that both decoctions (70-150 grams/day) and powders made into pills (18 grams per day) were used for the purpose of treating thyroid tumors.

A large number of additional formulas of similar nature, prepared in decoction and powder form, are presented in Treating Cancer with Chinese Herbs. Some examples are:

Bao Jin San: pig or sheep thyroid glands (10 pairs), sargassum (60 g), laminaria (60g ), clove (6 g), succinum (6 g), saussurea (6 g), musk (3 g), pearl powder (15 g). The ingredients are dried, powdered, and taken in the dose of 1.5 g each time, twice daily.

Wu Ying Fang: laminaria (30 g), sargassum (60 g), venus shells (60 g), pinellia (9 g), usnea (9g), rice paper (9g), ampelopsis (9 g), asarum (3 g), cucumeroides (3 g), gentiana (3 g), made into decoction.

Unnamed Formula: prunella (30 g), huangyaozi (12 g), sargassum (12 g), laminaria (12 g), scrophularia (12 g), earthworm (12 g), and fritillaria (9g). Taken as a decoction.

Unnamed Formula 2: equal amounts of sargassum, sea univalve, venus shells, cuttlebone, laminaria, gentiana, and aristolochia root. Grind into powder, make pills. Daily dosage is 9 g.

Ying Jie San: fried wheat (1.2 g), usnea (3 g), pinellia (3 g), fritillaria (3 g), sargassum (3 g), gentiana (3 g), venus shells (3 g), rice paper (3 g), laminaria (3 g), and alum (3 g). Grind to powder, take 3 grams each time, 3 times daily with wine.

Like the previously listed prescriptions, these all contain sea materials, and the formulas are made either as high dosage decoctions or pills (in this case, the dosage of the pills is smaller). However, prunella is an ingredient in only one of the five prescriptions, and it is also absent from many other formulas mentioned in this source.

In the book Anticancer Medicinal Herbs, formulas for thyroid tumors include:

Thyroid Adenoma Formula: prunella (20 g), polygonum stem (20 g), oyster shell (30 g), huangyaozi (9 g), curcuma (15g), acorus (15g), adenophora (15 g), bupleurum (10 g), sparganium (10 g), zedoaria (10g).

Thyroid Cyst Formula: prunella (60 g), salvia (24 g), trichosanthes fruit rind (24 g), laminaria (24 g), sargassum (24 g), cyperus (24 g), iphigenia (24 g), bupleurum (15 g), red peony (18 g), peony (18 g). As follow-up, two ounces each of lean pork and prunella are simmered together and taken every day for some time to reinforce the curative effect.

Thyroid Tumor Formula: solidago (15 g), scutellaria (12 g), kalimera (12 g), lysimachia (24 g). This formula was tried for 53 cases of thyroid tumor and 28 of them were said to be cured after taking the formula for one year.

The above formulas are given by decoction. A formula made into pills for thyroid adenoma is produced by combining 50 grams each of sparganium, chih-ko, curcuma, tang-kuei, salvia, peony, blue citrus, sinapis, and anteater scales, plus 100 grams each of sargassum, laminaria, and prunella, and 150 grams each of zedoaria, dandelion, and oyster shell, plus 25 grams of carthamus. This is taken in pills, about 18 grams per day.

Differential diagnosis and treatment of thyroid tumors is described in the book Cancer Treatment with Fu Zheng Pei Ben Principle. The diagnostic categories are stagnation of phlegm and ying type (cold) mass, yin deficiency and blood stasis type, and qi and blood deficiency type. In each case, a formula is prescribed which contains herbs characteristic of those for treating any thyroid mass (not necessarily a tumor; there are no added anticancer agents). According to the author, "except for undifferentiated carcinoma, the prognosis for thyroid cancer is good." Using a combination of Western therapies (including surgery as necessary) and Chinese herbs, the five year survival rate is 78% to 95%, depending on the cancer type (but only 12.5% to 20% for the undifferentiated type).

The characteristic of modern Kanpo is prescription of herb formulas that are included in the national registry and therefore covered by health insurance. There are about 200 such prescriptions. For hyperthyroidism, the following have been suggested:

Baked Licorice Combination

Bupleurum and Dragon Bone Combination

Bupleurum and Peony Formula

Bupleurum, Cinnamon, and Ginger Combination

Pinellia and Magnolia Combination plus Cinnamon, Licorice, Oyster Shell, and Dragon Bone Combination

Pinellia and Licorice Combination

Baked Licorice Combination is often given along with a second formula, such as Cinnamon and Hoelen Formula, Bupleurum and Cinnamon Combination, Minor Bupleurum Combination, or Bupleurum and Schizonepeta Combination. Of the formulas cited above, Baked Licorice Combination serves as the main yin-nourishing formula, the bupleurum formulas clear liver fire and disperse stagnant qi, and the pinellia formulas resolve phlegm. Cinnamon twig, an ingredient in several of the formulas (including Baked Licorice Combination) is said to settle rising heat and is therefore useful in some heat syndromes (especially for deficient patients), despite its warming and stimulating quality. Baked Licorice Combination was also reported [36] to be successful in treating a case of goiter complicated by Sjogren's syndrome, another autoimmune disease; treatment time until all symptoms were resolved was 17 months. Dr. Keisetsu Otsuka described a case of hyperthyroidism in his book 30 Years of Kanpo. He treated a 38 year old man with Grave's disease, using Pinellia and Magnolia Combination with Cinnamon, Licorice, Oyster Shell, and Dragon Bone Combination. The patient, who had obviously swollen thyroid, slightly protruding eyes, and a pulse rate of 120 at the beginning of treatment, felt better after only one week and had almost completely recovered in six months use of the formulas.

For hypothyroidism, the following have been suggested:

Ginseng and Astragalus Combination

Ginseng and Ginger Combination

Tang-kuei and Peony Formula

Tang-kuei, Evodia, and Ginger Combination

Vitality Combination

These are all tonic prescriptions that enhance function of the stomach and spleen, nourish the blood, and stimulate circulation. Ginseng, aconite, and/or atractylodes are included in these formulations.

Professor Shigeru Ariji at the Institute of Oriental Medicine of Kinki University reported [37] on a case of myxedema. Treatment consisted of Vitality Combination extracts (10 grams/day), and Ginseng and Astragalus Combination extracts (10 grams/day), corresponding roughly to a decoction of the two formulas with a dosage of 90 grams/day. Within two weeks there was alleviation of subjective symptoms, and substantial improvement in objective symptoms within three months. She was able to resume normal lifestyle within six months.

The level of effectiveness of these formulas has not been reported on the basis of large clinical trials as has been done in China. However, unlike the treatments described by Chinese doctors, none of the formulas listed here were designed specifically for the treatment of thyroid diseases; rather, existing formulas for treatment of other ailments were matched up to symptom complexes characteristic of the patients with thyroid diseases. Thyroid cancers were not mentioned in the general Kanpo literature.

Chinese physicians sometimes rely on the use of traditional formulas in a manner similar to Kanpo practitioners. The formulas are most often provided in the form of decoctions or pills made from powdered herbs rather than dried extracts, and slight modifications are made in many cases. The practice of selecting traditional formulas in China has no limitations related to government approval. In Formulas and Strategies, formulas mentioned to be useful for hyperthyroidism include three kidney nourishing formulas, Rehmannia Six Formula, Tortoise Shell Formula (Da Bu Yin Wan), and Curculigo and Epimedium Combination (Two Immortals); a yin nourishing formula for stomach deficiency (Zeng Ye Tang, comprised of scrophularia, ophiopogon, and raw rehmannia), Jade Screen Powder, an anti-scrophula pill (Xiao Luo Wan, made of scrophularia, oyster shell, and fritillaria), and a fire-purging formula Dang Gui Liu Huang Tang. Two formulas used in Kanpo, Baked Licorice Combination and Bupleurum and Dragon Bone Combination, are also suggested for hyperthyroidism in this source. The Sargassum Jade Pot Decoction (Hai Zao Yu Hu Tang), rich in seaweeds, is suggested for simple goiter, hyperthyroidism, and benign thyroid tumors. A small clinical study of a modified version of this formula with six patients was said to result in five patients cured and one markedly improved. In the treatment of hypothyroidism, Vitality Combination and Aconite and G.L. Combination (Si Ni Tang) were suggested. Both of these formulas contain aconite and dried ginger.

If, in fact, most of the patients participating in the clinical trials suffer from an autoimmune disease, the question may be raised-how are they cured? Western medical researchers currently regard such ailments as manageable by appropriate immunosuppressive techniques, but incurable.

Virtually all formulas used for treating hyperthyroidism contain either seashells or seaweeds or both. Their role in treating autoimmunity has not established-for example, they are not used for diabetes, lupus, scleroderma, multiple sclerosis, or myastenia gravis. In those disorders, a few prescriptions contain tortoise shell as a yin tonic, but it would seem that sea materials are not essential to treating autoimmunity. In one study of hyperthyroidism [21], with no sea materials used, it was claimed that over 62% of those treated were cured, with a low incidence of relapse even years after the therapy was ceased. The sea materials might play some role in regulating the thyroid hormones beyond their provision of iodine, and may reduce the duration of treatment necessary to gain satisfactory results. The mechanism of action would have to involve some inhibition of nodules or swellings. The same sea materials are used for tumors, cysts, fatty accumulations, and lymphatic nodules. By removing the thyroid nodules, they would reduce hyperthyroidism.

In addition, virtually all formulas used for hyperthyroidism contain some saponin components. Examples are fritillaria, pinellia, huangyaozi, and ophiopogon. Also, some of the symptom-alleviating herbs contain such components-notably bupleurum and zizyphus. However, in some studies with relatively high cure rates, the proportion of saponin-containing ingredients in the formulations is rather small and may be insufficient to provide an explanation of the clinical effects obtained. Essential oils in prunella, the citruses, and cyperus might contribute some curative effects for which the pharmacology is not yet established.

Ingredients found in treatments for hyperthyroidism that are common to other autoimmune disorders are astragalus, codonopsis, ophiopogon, rehmannia, scrophularia, bupleurum, citrus, salvia, peony, moutan, lycium fruit, and licorice. It should be noted that the majority of these herbs are attributed with some tonic actions, and many of them clear heat. Chinese studies of immune responses [38], using hemolytic plaque formation as a criteria, have shown that yin-nourishing, qi-regulating, and blood-vitalizing formulas can reduce immunologic attacks, such as those characteristic of autoimmunity and transplant rejection. A yang-nourishing formula enhanced immune responses. In terms of treatment of hyper- and hypo-thyroidism, the former is usually treated with yin-nourishing formulas and the latter with yang-nourishing formulas even though autoimmunity may be involved with both. The pharmacologic impact of the different types of herb formula might explain, in part, why apparently less satisfactory results have been obtained in treating hypothyroidism. In animal models with induced hyper- or hypothyroid conditions, it was shown that a mixture of rehmannia and polygonatum (yuzhu) reduced T3 and T4 levels in the hyperthyroid animals, while a mixture of either cinnamon bark and aconite or cistanche and epimedium increased T3 and T4 in hypothyroid animals [49].

Recent Japanese investigations have shown that phenolic glycosides, such as acetoside in rehmannia can inhibit the immune attack of cells [48]. A decoction of rehmannia was reported to produce remarkable therapeutic effects in most patients with rheumatic and rheumatoid arthritis that were treated in one Chinese study mentioned in Modern Study and Application of Materia Medica. Since arthritis inflammation is due to excessive antibody production and attack of joint tissue, this response may be due to selective immune suppression. A decoction of raw rehmannia proved effective in the treatment of eczema and neurodermatitis when used intermittently in very high doses (90 grams/day). Gentiana has been shown to inhibit antibody formation. Both rehmannia and gentiana inhibit formaldehyde-induced inflammation in rat paws. Scrophularia, a close relative of rehmannia used in several hyperthyroid prescriptions, has glycosides similar to those found in rehmannia.

Feng Guoping and his colleagues at the Department of Pharmacology, Shanghai Second Medical College, studied the effects of two ingredients used for treating deficiency patients, rehmannia and tortoise shell, on renal adrenoreceptors [41]. In laboratory rats, they showed that these herbs prevented the increase in renal beta-adrenoreceptors that occurs with hyperthyroidism. Their experimental results were deemed solid basis for the use of yin tonics for correcting hypersensitivity of the sympathetic nervous system. Anemarrhena had a receptor-lowering action similar to that of rehmannia. Since adrenoreceptors influence nervous system functioning, it is possible that the use of these herbs in formulas can help regulate the system that has been adversely influenced by autoimmune attack.

Obesity secret ignored

What chance have we got when we're being bombarded by Aspartame, MSG, Soy and Vegetable Oils. It's no wonder people are fat.

Obesity Secret Ignored

By Dr. Russell Blaylock

I am convinced that one of the leading causes of obesity is being totally ignored by both by public officials and the media, despite the fact that there is tremendous scientific evidence confirming its role.

In 1969, neuroscientist Dr. John Olney discovered that feeding newborn rats MSG (monosodium glutamate) caused them to become grossly obese.

Each time he repeated the experiment, he saw the same thing. Subsequent studies have shown that this phenomenon occurred in most animal species, indicating that it wasn't something peculiar to the rat.

The effects of MSG are now so well established that the substance is routinely used in experimental obesity studies on animals.

In fact, scientists have also discovered how it was producing the obesity.

For over fifty years, researchers knew that a pinpoint injury to certain parts of the hypothalamus portion of the brain would cause an animal to become grossly obese. What they would later discover was that MSG itself actually destroys the same area in the hypothalamus.

An intensive 1995 review of MSG toxicity by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) concluded that infant formula contained a dose of glutamate (the toxic ingredient in MSG) in the form of caseinate (cow's milk protein) that would sufficiently produce the very same brain injury seen in experimental animals.

Disturbingly humans are five times more susceptible to MSG toxicity than even the most sensitive lab animal. And babies are four times more sensitive than adults. It is this early exposure to MSG and other excitotoxins that leads to gross obesity.

Actually, the problem is much worse than that.

Recent studies have shown that obese animals actually have the metabolic syndrome, which is now seen in 50 million adults in the United States. You will remember from my previous newsletter "The Diabetes Solution" that the metabolic syndrome is the cause of type-2 diabetes as well as hypertension and atherosclerosis.

Essentially, science proves that excitotoxins can trigger the metabolic syndrome and obesity.

And we know that the level of excitotoxins added to our food is at least equal to (and sometimes exceeds) the amount needed to produce the metabolic syndrome in animals. Yet only a handful of scientists are addressing this alarming association.

Recent studies have shown that glutamate (MSG and other excitotoxins) can powerfully stimulate the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas.

Excess insulin can cause atherosclerosis, hypertension and the type-2 diabetes - by stimulating chronic inflammation. And remember that insulin resistance can also lead to high insulin levels. Of course, the obese MSG animals experience all this as well.

It all fits in with what we are seeing in human beings. And one other part of the obesity puzzle has recently been pieced together.

In discussions about obesity, you may have heard about something called leptin. This enigmatic chemical is produced in the fat cells and controls many things, including fat accumulation.

Normally, when leptin surges into the blood, it enters the brain and acts within a specific group of neurons inside the hypothalamus to powerfully suppress the appetite and increase fat burning, thereby making us thinner.

But MSG and other excitotoxins damage the very nucleus of brain cells needed to do this. Those cells are known as the arcuate nucleus.

In fact, this vital collection of neurons is the area of the brain most sensitive to excitotoxins. In experiments, MSG rendered leptin ineffective, causing the animals to become grossly obese. Scientists call this leptin resistance, an occurrence linked to obesity in both children and adults.

Also, excitotoxins like MSG cause more glucose to enter fat cells, preventing it from being burned in muscle cells as it should. As a result, more fat accumulates - especially around organs and within the abdomen (visceral fat).

You may recall from the diabetes newsletter that this visceral fat is the root of all the of the metabolic syndrome's bad effects. The bottom line:

We see that the excitotoxins added to our food can induce gross obesity through a number of mechanisms.

And we must remember that while it is soon after birth that a child is first exposed to foods containing MSG and other excitotoxins, the effects persist for a lifetime.

Unbelievably, dietitians, medical doctors and many public institutions are promoting the use of "diet" soft drinks and other foods sweetened with aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal, etc) as the answer to the problem of obesity.

Aspartame is made up of three components: phenylalanine, methanol and aspartic acid. Aspartic acid (aspartate), like glutamate, is an excitotoxin.

It is just as capable as glutamate of doing damage to cells and brain nuclei.

In fact, one of the acknowledged effects of aspartame is weight gain.

The FDA even lists increased weight as one result of using the sweetener. Like glutamate, aspartame stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin, making you hungry - especially for sweets. And the more you drink, the hungrier you get. Just like glutamate, aspartame destroys the arcuate nucleus, which in turn produces leptin resistance. As a result, you get fat.

Dr. Blaylock is author of Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, and other books and tapes: www.russellblaylockmd.com He also has a newsletter - www.blaylockreport.com

Betty Martini, D.Hum, Founder
Mission Possible International
9270 River club Parkway
Duluth, Georgia 30097
770 242-2599
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Aspartame Toxicity Center, www.holisticmed.com/aspartame
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The battle for Ayurveda

The battle for ayurveda: India is racing to record the details of its traditional medicine

By Andrew Buncombe
Published: 23 November 2007

They range from the everyday to the decidedly obscure, from items with a specific, specialised use to those with a host of applications. Their common heritage is one of the world's oldest cultures, and their details are being gathered together to guard against theft by the West.

For several years the Indian authorities have been collating information about hundreds of thousands of plants, cures, foods and even yoga poses to create a vast digital database of traditional knowledge dating back to up to 5,000 years ago, available in five international languages. Now, the first part of that database – relating to ayurveda or traditional Indian medicine – has been completed and it is set to launch the fight back against what some have termed "bio-colonialism".

"The ayurveda part has been completed," said Dr Vinod Gupta, the chairman of India's National Institute for Science Communication and Information Resources (Niscair), which is overseeing the project. "Now we are negotiating an agreement with international patent offices [for access to this database]."

The database, totalling more than 30 million pages and known as the Traditional Knowledge Data Library, has come about for one very simple reason: to prevent Western pharmaceutical giants and others using this traditional Indian information to create a product for which they then obtain a patent.

The danger of such "misappropriation" is all too real. In 1994 an American company was granted a patent for a product based on the seeds of the need tree, an item that had for centuries been used in India as an insecticide. It took the Indian authorities more than 10 years to have the patent overturned. Similar battles were fought over a product based on the spice turmeric – traditionally used to heal wounds – as well as a Texan company's attempt to trademark its strain of rice as "Texmati".

"In 2000 we did a study of the US patent database. We found there were 4,986 patents for products based on medicinal plants," said Dr Gupta. "Of those around 80 per cent were based on plants from India ... 50 percent of those patents should never have been given – there was no change to the traditional knowledge."

Under international guidelines, patents should not be given if it is shown there is "prior knowledge" or existing information about the product or item. In the United States – where many of the patent applications have been made – this prior existing knowledge is only recognised if the information has been written down. It does not consider information passed down for centuries by means of oral tradition to be valid.

Unlike many cultures from which traditional information has been misappropriated, India has an extensive written tradition. But most of the writing was in languages not widely read in the West. For example ayurvedic texts were written in Sanskrit or Hindi, writings about unani medicine – based on Ancient Greek practices now only practiced in the sub-continent – were in Arabic and Persian, while writings about another form of traditional medicine known as siddha was in the Tamil language.

To get around this challenge, Dr Gupta called in more than 100 practitioners of Ayurveda, siddha and unani to help compile the information using computer software. The database is being made available in Japanese, English, German, French and Spanish and the contents will be made available to patent officials once agreements on protecting the information and preventing it from being passed to corporations, are reached.

Also included within the database are more than 1,500 positions or asanas of yoga. This is because in recent years several yoga teachers in the West have tried to copyright methods of teaching yoga that they are argue are unique but which have existed for centuries in India.

One high-profile case involved Los Angeles-based Bikram Choudhury, the self-styled "yoga teacher to the stars". Mr Choudhury, who moved to America in the 1970s, first obtained a copyright for a book he wrote. But when other teachers began copying the way he taught yoga – with 26 specific poses performed in a room heated to 41C (105F) – he sought legal advice and was told to obtain a copyright for the moves themselves. It has been recognised by the US courts despite India's objections.

Dr Dinesh Katoch, an adviser on ayurveda within India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said more than 50,000 different ayurvedic formulations for treating everything from heart disease to memory loss had been entered into the database. Some of the information is mentioned in the Vedas, the ancient Hindu texts that date back several thousand years.

"We want to use this information for the global benefit but it should be done in a judicious way, not by stealing," he said, sitting in his office in central Delhi. "We want to prevent misappropriation. Prevention is the most important thing because it is not easy to repeal a patent."

In addition to the considerable cost incurred by the Indian authorities fighting patents they do not believe are genuine or fair, there is a widespread feeling that Western corporations should not be making vast profits from traditional knowledge while the people who discovered the information receive no benefit.

But campaigners say the misappropriation also has cultural and political implications. "I have termed it bio-colonialism," said Vandana Shiva, an Indian environmental activist and author.

"The international intellectual property laws as promoted by the World Trade Organisation [WTO] promote bio-colonialism because while they say there should be a global system to patent everything, the reality is that patent inspection is done at a national level. If you want to have a global system you have to have global inspection," she said. "This would involve setting up a global database. This will take a decade and cost billions of dollars."

Vital ingredients

* Arjuna Tree

The bark is a traditional Ayurvedic herbal cure for a variety of ills and is now widely used throughout the world as a high-blood pressure treatment. It is thought to improve the function of the cardiac muscle and to stabilise cholesterol levels, and it contains anti-oxidant properties.

* Basmati Rice

Authentic basmati rice is grown in the foothills of the Himalayas and the Indian government has tried hard to protect the grain. A patent granted by the US Patent Office to a local company for new strains of rice similar to basmati was revoked after a legal battle with the Indian government.

* Turmeric

It is grown mostly in Bengal and other areas of south-east Asia but, in addition to a curry spice, it can be used to heal wounds. In 1995, the US Patent Office granted a patent on its healing properties but Indian scientists protested and it was revoked.

* Brahmi

This creeping herb is used in many Indian preparations and has gained global recognition for its ability to improve mental acuity and fight cognitive decay. It is thought that brahmi boosts the memory and has calming properties. In India, the plant is often used in salads and soups.

Jeremy Laurance: Little evidence, but much tradition

It is an ancient form of therapy with 5,000-year history and a string of modern celebrity followers but there is "no convincing evidence" that ayurvedic medicine works.

Enthusiastically promoted by users including Cherie Blair, Madonna, Sting and Gwyneth Paltrow, ayurveda has become more of a brand than a treatment in the West. There are ayurvedic recipes and it embraces meditation, diet, yoga and herbal medicine, as well as featuring a lexicon that defines consciousness as the "dream state of the cosmic being".

Offered in hotels, spas and retreats, as well as in the charitable Ayurvedic hospital in west London, its underlying principle is that the body and mind must be maintained in balance. Ayurvedic medicines are combinations of different herbs, tailor-made for each individual, which are given to correct imbalances that would otherwise lead to physical or psychological ill health.

In Britain, practitioners must undertake a three-year BSc degree course, followed by a 1,000-hour internship with an ayurvedic doctor, in order to be registered with the British Association of Ayurvedic Practitioners. They charge £50-60 on the first occasion and around £30 for follow-up appointments.

Despite the long training, scientific peer-reviewed evidence for the effectiveness of what ayurvedic practitioners do is scant. The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee investigation into alternative medicine concluded in 2005 that the case for ayurvedic medicine was "not proven".

Some studies have suggested that certain herbal combinations may be effective for heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Triphala, the most popular ayurvedic remedy in India, made from the powdered and dried fruit of threeplants and taken as an aid to digestion, has been shown to slow cancer growth in mice.

Max Pittler, deputy head of the department of complementary medicine at Exeter University said: "There may be individual trials that suggest certain herbal combinations may be effective but there is no really convincing body of evidence that specific ayurvedic mixtures have specific effects. There is no good evidence that it is beneficial. "


Take care of your liver=take care of your health!

(NewsTarget) If you experience major, persisting health problems, either physical or emotional, your liver may be congested with toxic compounds that are trapped within clumps of hardened bile (intrahepatic stones. Almost all health conditions, beauty problems and premature aging are closely linked with declined liver performance which most often is elusive to blood tests. Congestion in the bile ducts of the liver undermines the body’s effort to make proper use of the food you eat. This, in turn, may lead to numerous physical ailments and accentuated expressions of discomfort, including fear, anger, impatience, greed, depression, dis-ease and cynicism. Cleansing the liver of existing obstructions and impurities can help restore balance, vitality and happiness in every facet of your life.

When the Body Complains…

Unlike the stomach, for example, the liver never tells you directly when it is upset or needs special attention. It tells you indirectly, though, when it starts to perform poorly. The following conditions are related to poor liver functions: skin irritation, weak eyesight, unhealthy bowel movements, irregular menstrual cycles, recurring headaches, unexplainable weight gain, loss of energy, sudden aging, elevated cholesterol levels, most allergies, constricted blood vessels, bloated abdomen, fluid retention, gastrointestinal trouble, breathing difficulties, poor memory and concentration, pain in the joints or elsewhere in the body, brittle bones and any other major illness such as heart disease, cancer, MS, diabetes or Alzheimer's disease.

The liver is responsible for processing, converting, distributing and maintaining the body's fuel supply which consists of nutrients and energy. Impeding these vital functions not only affects the body’s performance as a whole, but also the health of every single cell. The liver cannot perform any of these functions properly if its bile ducts are clogged with deposits of hardened bile or “gallstones” (made of gall or bile).

Gallstones are caused by a number of factors, including the modern fast pace of living, stress, imbalanced diets, disruptive lifestyle, use of medical drugs, stimulants and alcohol, and ingestion of chemical poisons, such as food additives and artificial sweeteners. Bile duct congestion results in major impairment of digestive functions, thereby restricting the nutrient supply to the trillions of cells in the body. This makes gallstones in the liver to be a major cause of physical and emotional illness.

The Amazing Liver and Gallbladder Flush

The liver flush mentioned in this context is a straightforward, safe and painless do-it-yourself procedure using apple juice (or malic acid), olive oil, citrus juice and Epsom salts to dispel gallstones from both the liver and the gallbladder. The actual liver flush takes place within a period of less than fourteen hours and can be taken conveniently over a weekend at home.. Although the liver flush is very easy to do, it is important to understand the process and follow all of the directions precisely.

Since introducing the liver and gallbladder flush to thousands of patients in the 1990s, I have received countless testimonies expressing total amazement about the fast and profound healing effects it produces. They encouraged me to write a book on the subject. The 200-page book, The Amazing Liver and Gallbladder Flush, includes the exact procedure and necessary background information for conducting this simple, yet most profound cleanse. Today, the liver and gallbladder flush has helped restore the health of hundreds of thousands of people in all parts of the world.

Gallstones in the Liver—The Most Common Cause of Illness

An estimated 20 percent of the world’s population will develop gallstones in their gallbladder at some stage in their lives; many of them will opt for surgical removal of this important organ. This statistical figure does not account, though, for the many more people who will develop gallstones (or already have them) in their liver. During some thirty years of practicing natural medicine and dealing with thousands of people suffering from all types of chronic diseases, I can attest to the fact that each one of them, without exception, has had considerable quantities of gallstones in his or her liver. Surprisingly, only relatively few of them reported to have had a history of gallstones in their gallbladder.

Gallstones in the liver may be the main impediment to acquiring and maintaining good health, youthfulness, and vitality. Gallstones in the liver may, indeed, be one of the major reasons people become ill and have difficulty recuperating from illness.

Medicine’s Most Unfortunate Oversight

Many people believe that gallstones can be found only in the gallbladder. This is a commonly made yet false assumption. Most gallstones are actually formed in the liver, and comparatively few occur in the gallbladder. You can easily verify this assessment by giving yourself a liver flush. It matters little whether you are a layperson, a medical doctor, a scientist, or someone whose gallbladder was removed and, therefore, is believed to be stone free. The results of the liver flush speak for themselves. No amount of scientific proof or medical explanation can make such a cleanse any more valuable than it already is. Once you see hundreds of green, beige-colored, brown, or black gallstones floating in the toilet bowl during your first liver flush, you will intuitively know that you are on to something extremely important in your life.

I am repeatedly asked the intriguing question—why is there only little or no reference in mainstream medicine to the occurrence of gallstones in the liver? Standard clinical tests almost never reveal the occurrence of gallstones in the liver. In fact, most doctors don’t even know they grow there. Only some of the most advanced research universities, such as the prestigious Johns Hopkins University, describe and illustrate these liver stones in their literature or on their web sites. They refer to them as “intrahepatic gallstones.” The failure to recognize and accept the incidence of gallstone formation in the liver as an extremely common phenomenon may very well be the most unfortunate oversight that has ever been made in the field of medicine, both orthodox and holistic.

Relying so heavily on blood tests for diagnostic purposes, as conventional medicine does, may actually be a great disadvantage with regard to assessing liver health. Most people who have a physical complaint of one kind or another may show to have perfectly normal liver enzyme levels in the blood, despite suffering from liver congestion. Liver congestion is among the leading health problems, yet conventional medicine rarely refers to it, nor do doctors have a reliable way to detect and diagnose such a condition. Liver enzyme levels in the blood become elevated only when there is advanced liver cell destruction, as is the case, for example, in hepatitis or liver inflammation. Liver cells contain large amounts of enzymes. Once a certain number of liver cells are ruptured, their enzymes will start showing up in the blood. When detected through a blood test, this increased count of liver enzymes indicates abnormal liver functions. In such an event, however, the damage has already occurred. It takes many years of chronic liver congestion before liver damage becomes apparent.

Unfortunately, unless there is a specific liver disease, this vital organ is rarely considered a “culprit” for other diseases. The majority of gallstones in the liver consist of the same “harmless” constituents as are found in liquid bile, with cholesterol being the main ingredient. A number of stones consist of fatty acids and other organic material that has ended up in the bile ducts. The fact that the majority of these stones are just congealed clumps of bile or organic matter makes them practically “invisible” to x-rays, ultrasonic technologies, and Computer Tomography (CT).

The situation is different with regard to the gallbladder, where up to about 20 percent of all stones can be made-up entirely of minerals, predominantly, calcium salts and bile pigments. Whereas diagnostic tests can easily detect these hardened, relatively large stones in the gallbladder, they tend to miss the softer, non-calcified stones in the liver. Only when excessive amounts of cholesterol-based stones (85-95% cholesterol) or other clumps of fat block the bile ducts of the liver, may an ultrasound test reveal what is generally referred to as “fatty liver.” In such a case, the ultrasound pictures reveal a liver that is almost completely white (instead of black). A fatty liver can gather up to 20,000 stones before it succumbs to suffocation and ceases to function.

If you had a fatty liver and went to the doctor, he would tell you that you had excessive fatty tissue in your liver. It is less likely, though, that he would tell you that you had intrahepatic gallstones (stones obstructing the liver’s bile ducts). As mentioned before, most of the smaller stones in the liver are not detectable through ultrasound or Computer axial Tomography (CT). Nevertheless, careful analysis of diagnostic images by specialists would show whether some of the smaller bile ducts in the liver were dilated because of obstruction. A dilation of bile ducts caused by larger and denser stones or by clusters of stones may be detected more readily through Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). However, unless there is an indication of major liver trouble, doctors rarely check for such intrahepatic stones. Unfortunately, although the liver is one of the most important organs in the body, its disorders are also under-diagnosed all too often.

Even if the early stages of a fatty liver or gallstone formation in the bile ducts were easily recognized and diagnosed, today’s medical facilities offer no treatments to relieve this vital organ of the heavy burden it has to carry.

On the other hand, a qualified iridologist, an Ayurvedic physician or a natural health practitioner who knows the signs and indications of gallstones in the liver and gallbladder, can easily determine the extent of gallstone formation in these organs. [Such indicators are listed in the book The Amazing Liver and Gallbladder Flush, www.ener-chi.com.] Most people in the civilized world have gallstones. But even in alternative or holistic medicine, there is rarely mention of an effective therapy that can actually remove gallstones safely and without pain. Gallstones are a direct product of an unhealthy diet and lifestyle. If gallstones are still present in the liver even after all other disease-causing factors are eliminated, they pose a considerable health risk and may lead to illness and premature aging. By removing these stones, the body as a whole is able to resume its normal, healthy activities.

Reaping the Benefits

People with chronic illnesses often have several thousand gallstones congesting the bile ducts of the liver. Some stones may have also grown in the gallbladder. By removing these stones from these organs through a series of liver flushes and maintaining a balanced diet and lifestyle, the liver and gallbladder can restore their original efficiency, and most symptoms of discomfort or disease in the body can start subsiding. You may find that any persistent allergies will lessen or disappear. Back pain will dissipate, while energy and well-being will improve.

Sweeping the liver clean eliminates thousands of bits of poisonous substances that have helped form the stones and block thousands of liver bile ducts. Ridding the liver bile ducts from gallstones is one of the most important and powerful procedures you can apply to improve and regain your physical and emotional health. By reopening the bile ducts, the body’s energy circuits become restored and healing can take place on all levels of body, mind and spirit.