When it comes to researching treatments for cancer and other illnesses, the medical community tends to focus on treatments that they can synthesize. Most of the time, natural treatments and remedies are not given much attention. Profits come from patents and researchers cannot patent nature. Therefore, instead of focusing on natural medicine which they can’t profit from, they use a plant extract to create a patentable product. Because of the lack of money involved in natural medicine, research lags behind the claims. However, in recent years, more work has been done to confirm the veracity of alternative and complementary anti-cancer medicines.
Prior to Dr. Mirko Beljanski’s research into Rauwolfia vomitoria, there was controversy surrounding the plant extract. As talked about in Winning the War on Cancer, Jacques Servier patented an extract from Rauwolfia serpentina to treat hypertension. Using the alkaloid reserpine as the main active agent, it was marketed as “Sarpagan”. However, extracting specific alkaloids from plants can have disastrous effects. While standardizing herbs may create a more consistent product, doing so can eliminate its effectiveness due to the change in the overall composition of the extract. Rauwolfia Serpentina was being used in India for many years without issue, but Sarpagan turned out to be carcinogenic due to the very alkaloid which was being used as the active agent.
Bejanski’s research found a secondary alkaloid in the Rauwolfia extract called alstonine. Alstonine did not treat hypertension, but it was found to work as an anti-cancer agent with specific selectivity toward cancer cells. Unfortunately, the research was ignored by Jacques Servier and the medical community in France. Despite all the evidence pointing to the toxicity of Sarpagan, Servier remained set on its usefulness. This kind of attitude toward natural medicine seems to be the norm rather than the exception.
A controversial therapy was created in Tijuana, Mexico by Harry Hoxsey’s great grandfather after his horse was cured of a leg tumor by eating wild herbs. According to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Hoxsey Herbal Treatment has not been scientifically tested or proven to work. Attempts at studying the effects of this combination of herbal supplements has been met with failure due to lack of good record keeping. While the treatment itself has met much skepticism, with good reason, further research into the individual herbs have shown there might be some possibility of truth. Due to the singular mindset against natural medicine, however, such research has not been taken seriously.
Of the herbs used in the Hoxsey Herbal Therapy, it was found that Burdock root, scientific name Arctium lappa, has anti-tumor properties. The root can be found in Europe and Asia. It has been used in breast cancer treatments to relieve pain, lessen tumor size and enhance the survival phase. Another root used in the Therapy is bloodroot or Sanguinaria canadensis. Despite contrary claims, the root has been used to treat skin cancers, particularly in Moh’s Micrographic Surgery. The treatment consisted of applying a paste of bloodroot, zinc chloride and stibnite to affected areas. The Skin Cancer Foundation states that this particular treatment remains the most “precise, tissue-sparing” method available for certain skin cancers.
To provide accurate natural treatments, the medical community must focus on taking steps to research all possible options toward a cancer cure. Dr. Beljanski was a very well-respected researcher and his studies were regarded as a hoax despite evidence to the contrary. The Beljanski Foundation continues this research to confirm the truth of Rauwolfia vomitoria and Pao Pereira extracts as viable anti-cancer treatments. Perhaps if more research went into studying the Hoxsey Herbal Therapy, it would be possible to better understand the claims. Instead of automatically rejecting a natural treatment, the medical community should first focus on clinical trials. Considering that certain herbs in the Hoxsey Therapy were found to have anti-cancer properties, it is possible that the treatment may have an effect. However, we cannot be certain of that if studies are not conducted.