Does Naturopathy Treat Cancer and Menopausal Symptoms?


Advocates for naturopathic remedies state their treatments can help fight menopausal symptoms, depression and also cancer. For instance, “bio-identical hormone therapy” looks promising for relieving the symptoms of menopause, one research found, while an age-old herbal treatment for cancer is proving effective — at least in the laboratory and in pets. That’s according to naturopathic physicians presenting their research at the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians annual meeting, held earlier this month in Portland. Ore. Naturopathic physicians are trained in “natural” healthcare at certified medical colleges, based on the AANP. Their approach is founded on the belief that it’s the character of all things to return to balance. Treatments include dietary changes, counseling for lifestyle modification, herbal medicine, nutritional supplements and homeopathy.”Bio-identical hormones,” a natural option to synthetic hormone replacement therapy, were effective in reducing the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause, said lead researcher Dr. Jan M. Seibert, a naturopathic doctor in Pleasant Prairie, Wis. She gave the hormone regimen, including estradiol/estriol via a skin cream or in drops, and also a progesterone cream and a multivitamin, to 50 women who had been either menopausal or perimenopausal. Seibert’s group after that followed the women’s improvement for one 12 months.”Eighty-two percent of the women showed improvement in estrogen-related symptoms, such as for example warm flashes,” she said. “Seventy-four percent demonstrated improvement in progesterone-related symptoms such as irritability and fluid retention.”Seibert also viewed symptoms linked to low thyroid working, which can affect women at menopause. “When the thyroid begins to have problems, it can result in a state of depression and weight gain,” she explained. In the analysis, “44 percent demonstrated improvement with thyroid-related symptoms and 8 percent got worse. The additional 48 percent got no change.”What is needed next, Seibert said, is usually a large, randomized trial of organic hormone therapy to observe if it works as well as synthetic hormone therapy without the side effects. Long-term hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with synthetic estrogen and progesterone boosts dangers for breast malignancy and stroke, as the large-scale Women’s Wellness Initiative study found.
That study was stopped early in 2002, and its own troubling results caused many older women to abandon HRT. “This is a great start when it comes to providing preliminary proof benefits for menopausal worries,” stated Dr. Wendy Weber, a study assistant professor of naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University, Seattle, who was not associated with Seibert’s study but knows its findings.”Based on this study, it seems there may very well be benefits, but we remain lacking [data upon] the efficacy and security.” And, she noted, the study didn’t have a control group, which could have allowed a direct head-to-head comparison of bio-similar and synthetic hormones. The analysis is “interesting” but not unexpected, added Dr. Rick Frieder, a gynecologist at Santa Monica–UCLA Medical Center and a clinical instructor of obstetrics and gynecology at UCLA’s David Geffen College of Medicine.”It doesn’t convey anything new,” this individual said. Whether hormone replacement is definitely synthetic or the more natural “bio-identical” compounds, he said, they are known to be effective in enhancing the symptoms of menopause, such as for example popular flashes. One drawback to the analysis, he said, is certainly that they studied several products and doses, rather than have a more scientific strategy, such as comparing one dosage of bio-similar hormones to the same dose of synthetic drugs. In another study presented at the meeting, the herbal formula Essiac — utilized by cancer patients for decades — was found to involve some antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity and also the ability to kill cancer cells in the laboratory, said Deborah Kennedy, the lead writer of the laboratory study and a co-author of another study looking at the effect of the remedy in animals. The studies were funded by the maker of Essiac. Kennedy found that the formula, when used on ovarian and prostate malignancy cell lines, did kill the cells. “We were able to slow down and cause the ovarian and prostate cancer cellular lines to die,” she said. When the formula was used in animals, they found it protected the stomach but did not boost the disease fighting capability considerably.”The in vivo [lab] study discovered antioxidant activity,” noted Dr. Christine Girard, chief medical officer at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medication in Tempe, Ariz., who chaired the research committee for the conference. She called the results “encouraging,” and noted that the formula also seemed to have an anti-inflammatory effect.”It’s a good first rung on the ladder,” she said, but added that it’s tough to translate pet results to humans. In the pet study, the formula did demonstrate gastric security and safety to the liver, she stated. Not everyone is convinced Essiac fights malignancy.
The American Cancer Culture declined comment, noting that the analysis had not undergone peer review and was merely submitted for presentation at a meeting. On its Site, however, the ACS cautions that, “There have been no published medical trials showing the potency of Essiac in the treatment of cancer.” While it notes that a few of the herbal products in the mixture have shown anti-cancer effect in lab research, it notes that no scientific evidence exists to support its use in humans with cancer. Study after study, conducted in animals by researchers in the U. S. National Cancer Institute and other prestigious institutions, possess concluded there is no evidence the formula functions, based on the American Cancer Culture. In additional presentations at the meeting:A researcher
at the University of Toronto warned that St. John’s wort, a favorite herb used to take care of depression symptoms, should be used with caution by pregnant and breast-feeding ladies, as it can connect to some medications prescribed during pregnancy and could trigger colic or drowsiness in infants. The study received no outside funding. Another Canadian study discovered that naturopathic treatment — acupuncture, relaxation exercises and diet and lifestyle adjustments — relieved low back pain better than standard care in a study of 80 Canadian postal workers. Low back discomfort declined by 20 percent in the naturopathic group following the 12-week study but increased 8.8 percent in a group receiving standard care. The study was sponsored by the Canadian government and the postal workers union. A team at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine discovered that three common herbs — Echinacea purpurea, Astragalus membranaceus and Glycyrrhiza glabra — helped improve essential lymphocytes in the blood, which will be the basic building blocks of the immune system. In the analysis, 16 healthy individuals were assigned to get an herb just, all three, or a placebo. Each got a 7.5 milliliter dosage twice daily for seven days. Blood exams showed all three natural herbs boosted the immune system. The analysis was funded by a grant from the American Medical Association.