Scientists Reveal Kenyan Plants Which Offer Positive Therapies for Cancers
Scientists have confirmed more than 20 local plant species are effective therapies against many of the top killer cancers today. During a three-day annual scientific conference of Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri), more than 30 researchers left no doubt the country has immense capacity of therapies from its plant resources.
The scientists from various local universities collaborating with Kemri described how they hunted down, studied and confirmed in laboratories that plant extracts may hold effective therapies for even some cancers.
Between the researchers, 16 projects were presented involving about 20 plants, some including pearl millet and the sijambok pod.
Most of the plants the scientists reported are widely used locally for medicinal purposes and many specifically as a therapy for cancer.
“Over 60 per cent of currently used anti-cancer agents are derived from natural sources,” explained Sabina Wangui Wachira of Centre for Traditional Medicine and Drug Research at Kemri.
“Our work was to provide scientific evidence to support claims some of Kenya’s medicinal plants are therapies against cancer.”
Wachira, in the work also involving Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, investigated the effectiveness of three specific local plants.
These included the well-known red stinkwood (Prunus africana), which has been exploited internationally as a possible theraphy for prostate cancer.
However, this time around they were testing the possible effectiveness of the tree’s bark against breast cancer, a major killer of women in Kenya.
“We found extracts from the bark highly effective against breast cancer cell lines, explaining why many communities use it as a medicine,” she told the conference.
She told of their drawback in trials with the local confetti and the pepper-wood trees, the latter known as Mkaa in Kiswahili.
The two trees, the researchers reported had shown little activity against breast cancer but were very effective against the cell lines of colon cancer.
Crispus M Ngule of the same department at Kemri told of their experiments with tamarind fruit (Mkwanju) and pearl millet. They tested extracts from these plants as a possible therapy against prostate, cervical and breast cancers.
“Our findings are a scientific justification on the probable use of pearl millet and tamarind fruits in the management of cancer.”
For the three days, such heart-warming stories were told more than a dozen times, explaining how different plant species and parts had passed crucial laboratory tests on their effectiveness in possibly stopping the proliferation of cancerous cells.
A combination of the highly popular and already domesticated Moringa oleifera or drumstick with leaf extracts of the African Indigo called Sargellat by the Marakwet of the Rift Valley had also been investigated
Researcher Jecinta Wanjiru Ndungu of Rongo University said the two trees appeared to impact the proliferation of cervical, breast and prostate cancer cell lines in the laboratory.
Even when tested against the drug Tamoxifen, for breast cancer, the local herbs were found to stand their ground well.
This was not the first time Kenyan researchers were presenting evidence that local plants have provable ability as a therapy for cancer.
But it was definitely the first time Kenya’s premier research institute had brought under one roof such an impressive arsenal.
“We are happy scientists now confirming what we have always known and practised. It is then time to convert the knowledge into products and service,” said Dr Shadrack Moimett of Koibatek Herbal Clinic in Eldoret.
Such an assurance though, was conspicuously lacking from the Kemri conference. With no exception, all presenters recommended further research in their work before any drugs can be developed.
“Further studies are recommended to isolate the bioactive compounds from the crude extracts and determine their mechanisms of action against cancerous cells,” said Regina Mwangangi of Kenyatta University.
Mwangangi had presented victories against breast cancer from the extracts of the much known black wattle tree and the bitter leaf vegetable plant called Lisabakhwa by the Luhya.
But this prescribed route to product development, Dr Moimett and other experts say, could be painfully long and prohibitively expensive, a cost that would be reflected in the final product.
Julius Wanjohi Mwangi, lecturer and director of Intellectual Property Rights at University of Nairobi, estimates it takes ten to 17 years and between $200 million (Sh20 billion) to over $2 billion (Sh200 billion) to develop a new conventional drug.
Mwangi, a professor of Pharmacognosy (the study of medicine derived from natural sources), broke new ground two years ago when he presented the first public defence of herbal medicine at the University of Nairobi.
Mwangi and a team from the university had collected data at a herbal medicine clinic in Nakuru for five years.
During the period, about 55,000 people had been treated at the clinic. Some 6,000 of the patients had gone to the clinic with heart conditions while another 2,000 had cancer.
In his presentation, Mwangi demonstrated that herbal medicines actually work against many diseases.
Mwangi, Moimett and other like-minded experts are suggesting that Kenya goes the Chinese way to quickly develop safe and affordable natural health products.
“We could learn from the Chinese, who are doing a lot of clinical and other scientific work on their herbal medicines while concurrently using them in their hospitals,” said Mwangi.
The Health Bill 2016, now in its final stages in Parliament, suggests the formation of a legal body to oversee the management of alternative medicine in Kenya.
Such a body will set standards for all herbal products and, importantly, formulate policies to facilitate the referral of patients between herbalists and conventional hospitals.
Further, the Government’s proposed Traditional Herbal Medicine and Medicinal Plants Bill 2014, if and when it becomes law. could be a game changer because it allows for Kenya to go the Chinese way with herbal medicines.
But while experts, bureaucrats and politicians argue on which way to go, Kenyans suffering from serious illness are hardly waiting.
A recent study revealed that among 115 cancer children at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Eldoret, 95 per cent had been given by their parents complementary medicines such as herbs.
A 2011 World Bank survey estimated there are 40,000 herbalists in Kenya compared to about 4,500 doctors.
After a long battle with lung cancer, former Tv personality and presenter Janet Kanini Ikua has passed on. Her health challenges began in 2015 when she was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and later lung cancer. She was flown to India for treatment as Kenyans back home organized the one nation for a Janet concert that saw millions raised for her medical bills. Her death comes as a shock to many, as doctors in February of this year declared her cancer free.
Natural Cancer Cures… These Herbs Are Super Powerful!
Ginger: A new study has just found a chemical in ginger may be 10,000 times more effective at killing cancer cells than chemotherapy! The study, published in the PLoS journal, found the chemical 6-shogaol strongly impacts cancer stem cells but leaves healthy cells alone. Ginger is also instrumental in boosting the immune system and for healthy gut bacteria. Both of these are absolutely crucial for recovery therapy. So be sure to grate up some fresh ginger (one full teaspoon) and make yourself a nice warm ginger tea to drink morning, noon and night, along with using it in your foods as much as you can!
Aloe Vera: This herb has been used successfully for decades as a natural therapy for cancer. It contains substances called polysaccharides, which boost the immune system. You can easily grow aloe vera in your garden and add it to a delicious tropical smoothly every day. It also works very well rubbed on as a topical ointment, especially as a therapy for skin cancers.
Rosemary: Rosemary contains two amazing chemicals known as camosic acid and carnosol. These substances are extremely potent, and protect against the deadly effects of radiation exposure. (And as an added benefit, rosemary is extremely good for brain health too!). Use it in your cooking as much as possible or make yourself a delicious rosemary and lemon tea every day.
One of the strongest natural cures available
Garlic: Garlic is one of nature’s excellent “cure all” remedies. Studies have shown it is potentially one of the strongest natural foods to use as a cancer therapy. The sulphur compounds in garlic are known to neutralize carcinogens and may contribute toward tumor shrinkage.
Turmeric: Turmeric is another very effective natural therapy. It contains a compound called curcumin, which boosts the immune system tremendously,. Folks, this is one herb you simply cannot go without. You need to take at least 2-4 heaped teaspoons a day in divided doses. To get this, mix it in a smoothy or with whatever you need to get the required dosage. And also use it in your cooking as much as you can.
In addition, always take 10-12 small black peppercorns with your turmeric as black pepper increases the absorbability of turmeric by a massive 2000%!
Red Clover: The flowers from this herb actually contain four compounds. The antioxidant in red clover, tocopherol, is one of the strongest there is.
Astragalus: The astragalus herb is also one of the most powerful natural theraphies available. Studies by the University of Texas showed cancer patients given astragalus appeared to have twice the survival rate as those given a placebo. In fact, astragalus is so good the FDA in America is currently in the process of granting its approval as an official anti-cancer therapy!
Cat’s Claw: This herb is a vine from the Peruvian jungle and has been used for thousands of years as a therapy. It contains substances called pentcyclic oxindole alkaloids (POA’s) which have been shown to boost the immune system. Cat’s claw works well for patients. It has been shown to possibly make the body produce more T-cells). When you are looking to buy this herb, keep in mind the most potent part of the plant is the root.
Oleander: The oleander plant (not actually a herb) is a tremendous natural therapy, but it does need to be used with caution. This plant is poisonous in high doses, but at the right dose, and in the right formula, it really is an all-time best natural therapy. The best and safest way to take the oleander plant is in supplement form. We recommend extensive research before deciding on using the oleander protocol.
Cannabis Oil (Hemp Oil): Yes, cannabis oil is not actually a herb either, but this is the best place to discuss this miracle. It’s probably unlikely you have not already heard of hemp oil being used as a therapy. It’s a very heated and controversial subject at the moment, only because cannabis is considered “illegal” in most countries (but this is beginning to change very quickly). However, the therapeutic benefits of cannabis oil is not controversial. Even the National Cancer Institute now recognizes as a therapy cannabis oil!
The benefits of using Cannabis oil (hemp oil) as a natural therapy are now considered to be “overwhelming”. This really is the “real deal” as far as natural therapies go.
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