Advocates for naturopathic remedies say their treatments can help battle 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 animals. That’s according to naturopathic doctors presenting their research at the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians annual meeting, held previously this month in Portland. Ore. Naturopathic physicians are trained in “natural” health care at certified medical colleges, based on the AANP. Their strategy is founded on the belief that it’s the nature of all what to return to balance. Treatments include dietary changes, counseling for lifestyle modification, herbal medicine, nutritional supplements and homeopathy.”Bio-identical hormones,” a natural alternative to synthetic hormone replacement therapy, were effective in reducing the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause, said lead researcher Dr. Jan M. Seibert, a naturopathic physician in Pleasant Prairie, Wis. She offered 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 were either menopausal or perimenopausal. Seibert’s group after that followed the women’s progress for one yr.”Eighty-two percent of the women showed improvement in estrogen-related symptoms, such as for example scorching 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 linked to low thyroid working, that may affect women in menopause. “When the thyroid starts to have problems, it can result in a condition of depression and weight gain,” she described. In the study, “44 percent demonstrated improvement with thyroid-related symptoms and 8 percent got worse. The additional 48 percent experienced no change.”What’s needed next, Seibert said, is usually a large, randomized trial of natural hormone therapy to discover if it works aswell as synthetic hormone therapy without the medial side effects. Long-term hormone alternative therapy (HRT) with synthetic estrogen and progesterone boosts risks for breast cancer and stroke, as the large-scale Women’s Wellness Initiative study found.
That research was stopped early in 2002, and its troubling outcomes caused many older women to abandon HRT. “That is a great start when it comes to providing preliminary proof benefits for menopausal problems,” said Dr. Wendy Weber, a research associate professor of naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University, Seattle, who was simply not involved 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 observed, the study didn’t possess a control group, which could have allowed a direct head-to-head evaluation of bio-similar and synthetic hormones. The study is “interesting” however, not unexpected, 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 College of Medicine.”It generally does not convey anything new,” he said. Whether hormone substitute can be synthetic or the more natural “bio-identical” compounds, he said, they are regarded as effective in enhancing the symptoms of menopause, such as popular flashes. One drawback to the study, he said, is that they studied several items and doses, rather than take a more scientific strategy, such as comparing one dosage of bio-identical hormones to the same dose of synthetic medications. In another study presented at the conference, the herbal formula Essiac — used by cancer patients for many years — was found to have some antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity as well as the capability 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 result of the remedy in animals. The research were funded by the maker of Essiac. Kennedy found that the formula, when applied to ovarian and prostate cancer cell lines, did kill the cells. “We were able to slow down and trigger the ovarian and prostate malignancy cellular lines to die,” she stated. When the formula was found in animals, they discovered it protected the stomach but did not boost the immune system significantly.”The in vivo [lab] study discovered antioxidant activity,” noted Dr. Christine Girard, chief medical officer at the Southwest University 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 step,” she said, but added that it is tough to translate animal results to humans. In the animal study, the method did demonstrate gastric protection and security to the liver, she stated. Not everyone is convinced Essiac fights malignancy.
The American Cancer Culture declined comment, noting that the study hadn’t undergone peer review and was merely submitted for presentation at a meeting. On its Web site, however, the ACS cautions that, “There were no published clinical trials showing the effectiveness of Essiac in the treating cancer.” While it notes that some of the natural herbs in the mix have shown anti-cancer impact in lab studies, it notes that no scientific evidence exists to support its use in humans with cancer. Research after study, conducted in pets by researchers in the U. S. National Cancer Institute and additional prestigious institutions, have concluded there is no evidence the formula functions, according to the American Cancer Culture. In various other 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 in combination with caution by pregnant and breast-feeding ladies, as it can interact with some medications prescribed during pregnancy and may cause colic or drowsiness in infants. The analysis received no outside funding. Another Canadian study found that naturopathic treatment — acupuncture, relaxation exercises and diet and lifestyle adjustments — relieved low back discomfort 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 research but increased 8.8 percent in an organization receiving standard care. The study was sponsored by the Canadian authorities and the postal workers union. A group at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine discovered that three common herbs — Echinacea purpurea, Astragalus membranaceus and Glycyrrhiza glabra — helped increase essential lymphocytes in the bloodstream, which are the basic building blocks of the immune system. In the study, 16 healthy people were assigned to get an herb only, all three, or a placebo. Each got a 7.5 milliliter dosage twice daily for a week. Blood tests showed all three herbal products boosted the disease fighting capability. The study was funded by a grant from the American Medical Association.