Brew Your Own Medicine
Medicine > Brew Your Own Medicine
You probably think of the pharmacy and your doctor’s prescription when you think about medicine. Western society is generally trained to think in such narrow terms.
Medicine, the thinking goes, has to be made in a factory somewhere. It has to come in special pills, packets, or injections. And only your doctor can prescribe the appropriate kind for you.
For thousands of years, other peoples around the world, in such places as India and China, have thought differently about medicine. They see it in the plants and animals all around them, in herbs and in meditation.
You may think this kind of medicine is all hocus pocus, that it has the same credence as the snake oil salesmen that used to bark their wares at countryside carnivals in the old days. They had bottles of magic elixirs and potions that could cure anything and everything, from rheumatism to gout, from sore throat to alcoholism.
Of course, these carnival medicine men were usually scam artists. But not so with some of the herbal and natural remedies from the Far East. Science is discovering more and more that there is actually some, if not a lot, of medical merit to many of these “medicines.”
Steeped in Cancer Prevention
A recent study out of Spain, for instance, demonstrated that green tea has strong anti-cancer powers. For certain types of tumors and malignancies, chemicals in the tea seem to help prevent their growth.
Scientists at the UMU (the University of Murcia) in Spain, in conjunction with doctors at the John Innes Center (JIC) in Norwich, England, studied the effects of a green tea compound called epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG.
EGCG, according to their findings, appears to be the magic bullet in green tea when it comes to fighting cancer. The substance may stop cancer cells from growing by interfering with a certain enzyme.
This enzyme is called (get ready for another big name!) dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR). By slowing down DHFR, green tea’s good compounds attack the same cancer growing mechanism that many traditional anti-cancer drugs attack.
To be exact, EGCG works similar to the cancer drug called methotrexate. Like this heavy duty chemical, EGCG kills cancer cells by binding to DHFR. But because EGCG doesn’t attach itself to DHFR as strongly as the chemotherapy does, EGCG may not have as strong and as painful the side effects.
That makes EGCG as efficient as many chemotherapies out there, if not more so. Since EGCG is found in green tea in high quantities, that makes this popular beverage a cancer fighter that you don’t need a prescription for. You only need boiling water and a mug.
Compared to regular black tea, green tea have up to five times as much EGCG in it. However, scientists are not ready to suggest that people drink x amount of green teas per day. They cannot determine to the effects of EGCG to that exact amount.
Green tea has about five times as much EGCG as regular tea, studies have shown. Green tea, the study researchers believe, probably has other anti-cancer substances in its repertoire as well.
It seems to decrease rates of certain cancers. Still, scientists were not sure what compounds were involved or how they worked. Nor had they determined how much green tea a person would have to drink to have a beneficial effect, he said.
In fact, for some people, they even strongly discouraged drinking green tea. Specifically, women who are pregnant should avoid drinking it. It seems that, for the same reason that it fights cancer, the EGCG may also inhibit how a baby takes in folate. This important B vitamin helps prevent such problems as spina bifida, so mothers should not mess with it.
Green Tea is Just One Remedy in the Garden
The success of green tea, though, opens the door for testing of other natural and herbal compounds. As many natural healers will tell you, plants such as ginger, curcumin, garlic, and others may have just as strong disease fighting ability as many of the prescription medications
The main difference is, though, that many prescription medicines, such as pain killers, have serious side effects and risks. The natural pain killers in cherries, on the other hand, have no side effects.
Or take blood thinner medication. It can be deadly if taken incorrectly. The blood thinning power of garlic, however, does not come with any such fatal stings attached.
Of course, care must be taken with any medicine that you ingest, whether you got it at the pharmacy or in your garden. Alert your doctor to any herbal or homeopathic medicines that you take, or want to take. He or she can tell you if they’re right for you. In the very least, make sure these natural remedies will not interfere with the prescription medicines that you are already on.