Are Naturopathic Remedies Effective Against Menopause and Cancer?

Advocates for naturopathic remedies state their treatments can help battle menopausal symptoms, depression and even cancer. For instance, “bio-identical hormone therapy” looks promising for relieving the symptoms of menopause, one study found, while an age-old herbal remedy for malignancy is proving effective — at least in the laboratory and in animals. That’s according to naturopathic physicians presenting their research in the American Association of Naturopathic Doctors annual meeting, held previously this month in Portland. Ore. Naturopathic physicians are been trained in “natural” healthcare at certified medical colleges, according to 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, guidance for lifestyle modification, natural medicine, nutritional supplements and homeopathy.”Bio-identical hormones,” an all natural alternative to synthetic hormone replacement therapy, had been 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, which includes estradiol/estriol via a face care 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 then followed the women’s improvement for one calendar year.”Eighty-two percent of the ladies 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 for example irritability and water retention.”Seibert also looked at symptoms related to low thyroid working, which can affect women in menopause. “When the thyroid starts to have complications, it can cause 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 other 48 percent experienced no change.”What’s needed following, Seibert said, is definitely a big, randomized trial of natural hormone therapy to discover if it works as well as synthetic hormone therapy without the side effects. Long-term hormone substitute 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 research was stopped early in 2002, and its own troubling results caused many older women to abandon HRT. “This is a great start with regards to providing preliminary proof benefits for menopausal concerns,” said Dr. Wendy Weber, a study assistant professor of naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University, Seattle, who was not associated with Seibert’s study but is familiar with its findings.”Based on this study, it seems there may very well be benefits, but we are still lacking [data upon] the efficacy and security.” And, she mentioned, the study did not have got a control group, which would have allowed a direct head-to-head evaluation of bio-identical and synthetic hormones. The study is “interesting” but not amazing, added Dr. Rick Frieder, a gynecologist at Santa Monica–UCLA Medical Center and a scientific instructor of obstetrics and gynecology at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.”It doesn’t convey anything new,” this individual said. Whether hormone replacement is synthetic or the more organic “bio-identical” compounds, he stated, they are known to be effective in enhancing the symptoms of menopause, such as for example hot flashes. One drawback to the analysis, he said, is usually that they studied several products and doses, rather than take a more scientific strategy, such as for example comparing one dose of bio-similar hormones to the same dosage of synthetic drugs. In another study presented at the meeting, the herbal formula Essiac — utilized by cancer patients for many years — was found to have some antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity and also the ability to kill cancer cells in the laboratory, said Deborah Kennedy, the lead author of the laboratory study and a co-author of another study looking at the result of the remedy in animals. The studies had been funded by the maker of Essiac. Kennedy found that the formula, when used on ovarian and prostate cancer cell lines, did kill the cells. “We were able to slow down and trigger the ovarian and prostate cancer cellular lines to die,” she stated. When the formula was found in animals, they discovered it protected the stomach but didn’t boost the disease fighting capability significantly.”The in vivo [lab] study found antioxidant activity,” noted Dr. Christine Girard, chief medical officer at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medication in Tempe, Ariz., who chaired the study committee for the meeting. She called the outcomes “encouraging,” and noted that the formula also appeared to have an anti-inflammatory effect.”It’s a good first step,” she said, but added that it’s tough to translate pet leads to humans. In the animal study, the formulation did demonstrate gastric safety and protection to the liver, she stated. Not many people are convinced Essiac fights malignancy.
The American Cancer Culture declined comment, noting that the study had not undergone peer review and was merely submitted for presentation at a gathering. On its Internet site, however, the ACS cautions that, “There have been no published clinical trials showing the potency of Essiac in the treating cancer.” Although it notes that a few of the herbal products in the combination have shown anti-cancer impact in lab research, it notes that no scientific evidence exists to support its use in human beings with cancer. Study after study, conducted in animals by researchers at the U. S. National Cancer Institute and other prestigious institutions, possess concluded there is absolutely no evidence the formula functions, according to the American Cancer Society. In additional presentations at the meeting:A researcher
at the University of Toronto warned that St. John’s wort, a favorite herb used to treat depression symptoms, ought to be used with caution by pregnant and breast-feeding females, as it can interact with some medications prescribed during pregnancy and may cause colic or drowsiness in infants. The study received no outside funding. Another Canadian study found that naturopathic care — 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 pain declined by 20 percent in the naturopathic group following the 12-week study but increased 8.8 percent in an organization receiving standard care. The analysis was sponsored by the Canadian government and the postal employees union. A team at the National University of Naturopathic Medicine discovered that three common herbs — Echinacea purpurea, Astragalus membranaceus and Glycyrrhiza glabra — helped enhance essential lymphocytes in the bloodstream, which are the basic blocks of the immune system. In the analysis, 16 healthy people were assigned to get an herb just, all three, or a placebo. Each got a 7.5 milliliter dose twice daily for a week. Blood checks showed all three natural herbs boosted the immune system. The study was funded by a grant from the American Medical Association.