Advocates for naturopathic remedies say their treatments may help combat menopausal symptoms, depression and also cancer. For instance, “bio-identical hormone therapy” looks promising for relieving the symptoms of menopause, one study found, while an age-old herbal treatment for malignancy is proving effective — at least in the laboratory and in animals. That’s according to naturopathic doctors presenting their research in 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 approach is founded on the belief that it is the nature of all what to return to balance. Treatments include dietary changes, guidance for lifestyle modification, herbal medicine, nutritional supplements and homeopathy.”Bio-identical hormones,” a natural option to synthetic hormone replacement therapy, were effective in reducing the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause, said business lead researcher Dr. Jan M. Seibert, a naturopathic doctor in Pleasant Prairie, Wis. She offered the hormone regimen, including 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 then followed the women’s progress for one 12 months.”Eighty-two percent of the women showed improvement in estrogen-related symptoms, such as for example warm flashes,” she said. “Seventy-four percent showed improvement in progesterone-related symptoms such as irritability and fluid retention.”Seibert also looked at symptoms linked to low thyroid functioning, that may affect women in menopause. “When the thyroid begins to have problems, it can cause a state of depression and weight gain,” she explained. In the study, “44 percent demonstrated improvement with thyroid-related symptoms and 8 percent got worse. The additional 48 percent got no change.”What is needed following, Seibert said, is certainly a large, randomized trial of organic hormone therapy to find if it works as well as synthetic hormone therapy without the medial side effects. Long-term hormone replacement 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 results caused many older women to abandon HRT. “This is a great start when it comes to providing preliminary proof benefits for menopausal issues,” said Dr. Wendy Weber, a study associate professor of naturopathic medication at Bastyr University, Seattle, who was simply not involved with Seibert’s study but is familiar with its findings.”Predicated on this study, it seems there may very well be benefits, but we are still lacking [data on] the efficacy and basic safety.” And, she mentioned, the study did not possess a control group, which could have allowed a primary head-to-head comparison of bio-identical and synthetic hormones. The analysis is “interesting” however, not unexpected, added Dr. Rick Frieder, a gynecologist at Santa Monica–UCLA INFIRMARY and a medical 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 substitute is usually synthetic or the more organic “bio-identical” compounds, he stated, they are regarded as effective in improving the symptoms of menopause, such as for example sizzling flashes. One drawback to the analysis, he said, is that they studied several items and doses, instead of take a more scientific strategy, such as comparing one dose of bio-identical hormones to the same dosage of synthetic medications. In another study presented at the meeting, 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 ability 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 studies had been funded by the maker of Essiac. Kennedy found that the formula, when applied to ovarian and prostate malignancy cellular lines, did kill the cellular material. “We could actually slow down and trigger the ovarian and prostate cancer cell 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 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 meeting. She called the outcomes “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’s tough to translate animal results to humans. In the pet study, the method did demonstrate gastric protection and protection to the liver, she said. Not everyone is convinced Essiac fights malignancy.
The American Cancer Culture declined comment, noting that the analysis had not undergone peer review and was merely submitted for presentation at a gathering. On its Internet site, nevertheless, the ACS cautions that, “There have been no published scientific trials showing the potency of Essiac in the treatment of 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 proof exists to aid its use in human beings with cancer. Research after study, conducted in pets by researchers at the U. S. National Cancer Institute and other prestigious institutions, possess concluded there is absolutely no evidence the formula works, based on the American Cancer Society. In additional presentations at the meeting:A researcher
at the University of Toronto warned that St. John’s wort, a popular herb used to treat depression symptoms, should be used in combination with caution by pregnant and breast-feeding ladies, as it can connect to some medications prescribed during pregnancy and may trigger colic or drowsiness in infants. The study received no outside funding. Another Canadian study found that naturopathic treatment — acupuncture, relaxation exercises and lifestyle changes — relieved low back discomfort better than standard care in a report of 80 Canadian postal workers. Low back pain declined by 20 percent in the naturopathic group after the 12-week research but increased 8.8 percent in a group receiving standard care. The study was sponsored by the Canadian federal government and the postal employees union. A group at the National University 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 analysis, 16 healthy individuals 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 herbs boosted the immune system. The analysis was funded by a grant from the American Medical Association.