Traditional medicine uses medicinal plants in a considerable way to fight several types of cancer with greater or lesser effectiveness Sign & Symptoms. While many of these archaic remedies have become obsolete with the emergence of modern medicine, some of these plants, on the other hand, have been incorporated into the modern pharmacopoeia.
The study of plants that can be used to treat diseases in a clinical setting is called herbal medicine . Technically, the word refers to all the medicinal uses of plants and plant extracts for the treatment of diseases, whether modern or traditional – although traditional herbal medicine is more simply known as herbology or herbalism, and generally health professional’s conventional people consider it as alternative medicine.
Modern herbal medicine involves the performance of empirical tests of plant extracts that have been extracted according to standardized procedures. Much of the difficulty in evaluating the effectiveness of traditional herbal remedies is the enormous divergences that exist between the production methods and the resulting purity and concentration.
Although many traditional herbal remedies have been considered inferior to modern medical techniques, there are hundreds of important plants whose active ingredients have been isolated and turned into very useful medicines. Aspirin, quinine, camphor and the family of opiates are just some important examples. Today, the various cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis plant take their place among the extracts of beneficial medicinal plants.
Herbology and Cancer Treatment
In each culture that has developed a system of traditional medicine. various techniques have been applied to the treatment of cancer, with greater or lesser success. It is important to distinguish between cancers and other visually similar conditions, especially those found on the skin, such as warts and skin tags. Unfortunately, most traditional medicine does not clearly distinguish between such diseases, often grouping them under the same category. For this reason, many of the plants that are supposed to be effective against cancer may have little or no effect on the cancer cells themselves.
However, although many herbal treatments have been ruled out, there are several plants that still seem to be good candidates for future research. However, many of these plants, in general, produce side effects, some of which can be so serious that their use in medicine is considered counterproductive and even dangerous.
Turmeric and Curcumin
Turmeric is a herbaceous plant that belongs to the family of Zingiberáceas and is native to the tropical zones of South Asia. The rhizome of turmeric (the section of the underground stem from which both true stems and roots, such as ginger, grow) has been widely used in traditional Indian medicine for hundreds of years, in addition to being an important food coloring and an omnipresent aroma in Indian cuisine. In folk medicine, turmeric rhizome is often mixed with warm milk to reduce fever, milled to make a paste that is used as a topical antiseptic, or mixed with calcium hydroxide (hydrated or dead lime) to stop the hemorrhages.
One of the active ingredients of turmeric is curcumin, which has proven to be a convenient treatment for several diseases. In addition to inhibiting the growth of colorectal cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer (and multiple myeloma, an aggressive cancer in the blood plasma), curcumin may be useful against Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and arthritis. It is known that curcumin stops mitosis (cell division) in cancer cell lines, which can slow or even stop the growth of the tumor. However, it is also believed that the compound may have carcinogenic side effects. Therefore, it is very important that the risk-effectiveness ratio be adequately determined before its use in conventional medicine can be established.
The Colchicum Autumnale and the Colchicine
Colchicum is a small plant native to the United Kingdom and Europe, which closely resembles true crocuses, although it actually belongs to a family and a different order. It is in danger of extinction due to overharvesting and loss of habitat. The harvesting of this wild plant is usually done for medicinal purposes, although it is sometimes confused with allium ursinum (bear garlic). This misidentification can have serious consequences: due to the toxic level of colchicine, consumption of autumn narcissus can cause seizures, cardiovascular collapse and multiple organ failure, which often leads to death. There is no specific antidote, although if an individual survives multiorgan failure,
Several uses for colchicine have already been implemented: in plant genetics, it is used to induce polyploidy (the multiplication of chromosomes, either by natural or artificial means, which has provided many of our modern crops, such as durum wheat and soft wheat). In medicine, it is approved by the FDA for the treatment of gout and brucellosis, also called Mediterranean fever; In cell genetics, it is used to stop mitosis at a key stage of the cell cycle, during which the chromosomal concentration is denser and its presence can be detected more easily under a microscope.
The toxicity of colchicine derives from its ability to hyperinhibit cellular mitosis, as occurs with curcumin. In controlled doses, it is effective against the proliferation of cancer cells, but its side effects make it counterproductive. Once again, further research is necessary to determine its overall effectiveness.
The tree of Nim and the Gedunin
The Nim tree is another Indian species that has been used in traditional medicine, although as a treatment for malaria. Recent research has shown that one of the active compounds of neem, gedunin, can delay or even stop the spread of certain types of cancer. A study published in 2009 observed an 80% reduction in the proliferation of cell lines in ovarian cancer in humans during treatment with gedunin in vitro, as well as an increased antiproliferative effect of cisplatin, a drug that is already widely used for the treatment of ovarian cancer.
While research continues on cannabis and other medicinal plants, its importance in the modern pharmacopoeia gradually increases. Organizations such as Sensi Seed Bank, Cannabis College and Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum in Amsterdam are an important part of the efforts made to offer up-to-date and valid information on the current state of research regarding cannabis and other medicinal plants. This increases the awareness of the subject, as well as the number of people who can discover the benefits they would personally obtain.