Advocates for naturopathic remedies say 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 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 accredited medical colleges, according to the AANP. Their strategy is founded on the belief that it is the nature of all what to return to balance. Remedies include dietary changes, counseling for lifestyle modification, herbal medicine, natural supplements and homeopathy.”Bio-identical hormones,” an all natural alternative to synthetic hormone alternative 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 gave the hormone regimen, which includes estradiol/estriol via a skin cream or in drops, plus a progesterone cream and a multivitamin, to 50 women who were either menopausal or perimenopausal. Seibert’s group then followed the women’s improvement for one 12 months.”Eighty-two percent of the ladies showed improvement in estrogen-related symptoms, such as warm flashes,” she said. “Seventy-four percent showed improvement in progesterone-related symptoms such as for example irritability and water retention.”Seibert also viewed symptoms linked to low thyroid functioning, which can affect women at menopause. “When the thyroid starts to have complications, it can cause a condition of depression and weight gain,” she described. In the study, “44 percent showed improvement with thyroid-related symptoms and 8 percent got worse. The various other 48 percent experienced no change.”What’s needed following, Seibert said, is a big, randomized trial of natural 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 Health Initiative study found.
That study was stopped early in 2002, and its own troubling outcomes caused many older women to abandon HRT. “That is a great begin in terms of providing preliminary proof benefits for menopausal concerns,” stated Dr. Wendy Weber, a research associate professor of naturopathic medication 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 protection.” And, she mentioned, the study did not have a control group, which could have allowed a primary head-to-head evaluation of bio-identical and synthetic hormones. The study is “interesting” however, not amazing, added Dr. Rick Frieder, a gynecologist at Santa Monica–UCLA INFIRMARY and a clinical instructor of obstetrics and gynecology at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.”It generally does not convey anything new,” this individual said. Whether hormone replacement is usually synthetic or the more natural “bio-identical” compounds, he stated, they are known to be effective in improving the symptoms of menopause, such as warm flashes. One drawback to the study, he said, is definitely that they studied several products and doses, instead of have a more scientific strategy, such as for example comparing one dosage of bio-identical hormones to the same dosage of synthetic medicines. In another study presented at the meeting, the herbal formula Essiac — used by cancer patients for decades — was found to involve some antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity as well as 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 treatment in animals. The studies were funded by the maker of Essiac. Kennedy discovered that the formula, when applied to ovarian and prostate cancer cellular lines, did kill the cells. “We were able to slow down and trigger the ovarian and prostate cancer cell lines to die,” she said. 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 College of Naturopathic Medication in Tempe, Ariz., who chaired the study committee for the conference. She called the results “encouraging,” and noted that the formula also seemed to have an anti-inflammatory impact.”It’s a good first rung on the ladder,” she said, but added that it is tough to translate animal leads to humans. In the animal study, the formulation did demonstrate gastric security and protection to the liver, she said. Not everyone is convinced Essiac fights malignancy.
The American Cancer Culture declined comment, noting that the analysis hadn’t 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 clinical trials showing the effectiveness of Essiac in the treating cancer.” Although it notes that some of the herbal products in the mixture have shown anti-cancer impact in lab studies, it notes that no scientific proof exists to aid its use in human beings with cancer. Research after research, conducted in pets by researchers in the U. S. Nationwide Cancer Institute and additional prestigious institutions, possess concluded there is absolutely no evidence the formula functions, according to 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 treat depression symptoms, should be used with caution by pregnant and breast-feeding women, as it can interact with some medications prescribed during pregnancy and may cause colic or drowsiness in babies. The study received no outside funding. Another Canadian study found that naturopathic care — acupuncture, relaxation exercises and lifestyle adjustments — relieved low back discomfort better than standard treatment in a report of 80 Canadian postal workers. Low back discomfort declined by 20 percent in the naturopathic group after the 12-week research but increased 8.8 percent in an organization receiving standard care. The analysis was sponsored by the Canadian government and the postal workers union. A group at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine found that three common herbs — Echinacea purpurea, Astragalus membranaceus and Glycyrrhiza glabra — helped boost essential lymphocytes in the bloodstream, which are 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 a week. Blood tests showed all three natural herbs boosted the immune system. The analysis was funded by a grant from the American Medical Association.